A few months after I wrote a blog post about how having three children is easier than it looks, after declaring that it really isn’t hard, guess what happened?
Life got ridiculously, absurdly hard.
Last fall, when we started homeschooling, my 2 1/2 year old decided to potty train. And any time I wanted to work with my oldest child on school, I had to peel the baby off my hip like Velcro. It was a rough season and I lost my patience more times than I had ever dreamed possible. I also learned how to control my temper…some days.
Somewhere in that time frame, leadership of my local MOPS group essentially fell into my lap, and it’s been a joy as well as a constant juggling act. But as I entered that rough season, I knew one thing that helped me keep my perspective through those tough days.
It’s that same one thing that I wish I would’ve known three children and 5 years ago, when I first became a mom.
If I would’ve known this one little thing three children ago, I wouldn’t have cried during pregnancy because the house was in chaos (yes, I did that–ask my husband and my mom). Messy floors and disorganized closets would not have felt so devastating to me.
But now that I’m aware of this one little thing, tough seasons are still tough, but they don’t always cause complete melt downs for me.
So what’s my secret to keeping my perspective?
Listen closely now. Here’s that one little thing.
It gets easier.
Maybe that’s not revolutionary for you, but if I remind myself of this on those super hard days, it can change my attitude about everything.
When I’m in the middle of a tough season, I tend to think with my emotions, which really isn’t thinking at all. I fall prey to lie-based thinking and I think that this super duper hard thing is going to last For. Ev. Er. I hope you’re picturing that scene in Sandlot right now. For. Ev. Er.
But it doesn’t last For. Ev. Er. Or even forever. It always gets easier. Always. (And then it might get harder again, because that’s the nature of motherhood).
Why does it get easier?
Constantly. Toddlers change. Preschoolers change. Someone learns to wipe their bottom or put their shoes on and suddenly, I have two minutes of my day back that I didn’t have before. It’s amazing how much easier life gets when your preschooler can actually get water from the fridge for her little brothers during lunch. Y’all, two out of my three kids learned to peel their oranges this winter and I just wanted to celebrate because these kids can eat ’em faster than I can peel ’em! That’s the amazing thing. Children are not static–they are dynamic, ever changing and growing.
You get better at juggling. You learn how to deal with sleepless nights. Your husband sees your exhaustion and lets you sleep in every single Saturday (mine did!) because it’s been a year since you’ve had more than 3 hours of consecutive sleep at a time. You get better at meal planning. You learn some slow cooker meals that save your sanity. You realize that you can actually scrub the shower while you’re taking a shower or clean the toilet while the kids bathe and then your day gets that much easier.
God gives us the strength and energy to handle the things He wants us to and then there are other things that will have to go. He gives us the wisdom to make those decisions. And He gives us stamina to keep rocking that baby when there’s not an ounce of energy left. There is grace. I can’t tell you how many times I thought I could not go on in my exhaustion and I could not be patient, but then I listened to the lyrics of the hymns that were playing for my cranky, colicky baby. And as I rocked and sang “Savior, like a shepherd lead us,” I knew He was leading me.
You lower your expectations.
Because perfection shouldn’t happen. Perfection is rooted in pride, and it’s an ugly sin that this mama struggles with. But I lower my expectations because this is a season and it won’t last forever. I’ve ditched my beloved cloth diapers and homemade bread for short seasons at times. I’ve reduced my standards for closets and floors and all sorts of things.
There is a time for spotless floors and empty laundry baskets. And this isn’t it.
So take a deep breathe and say it with me now, mama.
This will get easier.
Do you ever feel like the tough season in your life will never end? How do you maintain perspective?