I recently ran across an e-mail that I wrote one morning back in 2006. I had sent it to my husband, my parents, my sister, and a friend. I had three children under four years old at the time, and it had been a particularly difficult morning. Instead of “losing it” (as I did more times than I want to admit), I took a moment to type out my frustrating experiences so that I could look back on them later and (hopefully) laugh and thank the Lord that I survived days like that.
Take a look….
Subject: A Day in the Life…..
Date: March 14, 2006 at 9:21:34 AM EST
A Day (well, actually an hour) in the Life of a Mother with Small Children
Let me set the stage a little bit. I have a five-week-old baby girl, a rambunctious barely two-year-old son, and a boisterous almost four-year-old son. So after a wonderfully restful night of breastfeeding the baby and taking my oldest child to the potty a couple of times, I arose from my bed and took my two-year-old downstairs to join my husband and oldest child before time for my husband to leave for work.
What did I find when I entered our playroom downstairs? My oldest son was sitting peacefully in his little rocking chair while my sweet husband was mopping potty water off of the bathroom floor. He had already dirtied several towels for me to wash, and would soon wet more of them as he flushed the potty again, only to watch the water overflow onto the floor once more. So, I happily [not] loaded the towels into the washing machine to clean the poopy mess and went upstairs to get my precious baby so she could see Daddy off to work. [If you’ve read my book, you know that stopped-up potties are a frequent occurrence around here.]
After feeding the little one, I went into the kitchen to prepare breakfast for my two boys and me. We were having a peaceful breakfast, while the baby lay in my lap and adored my face. As I watched her there, she suddenly projectile vomited all over her body and mine [also a frequent occurrence]. So, I headed upstairs to bathe her and change our clothes. I left my two boys in their high chairs and told them that I would “be right back.”
When I arrived back downstairs, I heard my boys running around the house and found the youngest’s high chair tray on the floor (along with the crumbs from his cereal bar).
For some reason, the boys had decided that they wanted to play with one pear and one roma tomato each this morning. So, as I walked toward the playroom from the kitchen, the two-year-old managed to squash his tomato and squirt the juicy insides halfway across the kitchen floor. As I happily [I was totally being sarcastic.] cleaned the red mess and the cereal bar crumbs off of the kitchen floor, I decided that I must write down the events of this great hour of my life so that I would not forget what it is to be a mom. One day (I think) I will miss these times and wonder how my little ones grew up so fast.
Thank you, Lord, even for days like this, and thank you for cleaning up our messes, too!
I hope you all are having a wonderful day!
I could add lots of amazingly frustrating situations to the list above.
Imagine your two- and four-year-old sons filling up the toilet with Hotwheels cars. Yep. Mine did.
Imagine those same boys stopping up the bathroom sink and forgetting that they left the water running, flooding the garage underneath. Yep. Mine did.
Imagine taking a huge basket full of folded clothes upstairs, placing it on your bed, and coming back later to find those clothes thrown all over the room. Yep. That happened here.
Of course, we want our kids to use good judgment and to learn from their childish mistakes, but do you know what? I miss those days when they were little and carefree and innocent. I miss them badly. I wish often that my kids were tiny again. I wish that I could go back and live those days over, taking time to enjoy them and savor them and hide them in my heart. I wish I could snuggle my babies and smell their skin and nurse them again.
The days with very young children are so stinking hard. I know that. The nights don’t provide much rest, and the days certainly add to the exhaustion. When my kids were very young, I did a lot of contract work from home to bring in extra income, so I seemed always to be rushing to get my work done. I didn’t relish those days that turned so quickly into years.
My advice to young mothers is to slow down; enjoy your babies while they are babies; soak up the time with them like a sponge. There will always be laundry to be folded, dishes to be washed, and money to be made, but there won’t always be babies to love on and read to and rock.
In what seems like the blink of an eye, my oldest “baby” is turning 12 next month. In a few short years, I will have FOUR TEENAGERS.
ALL AT THE SAME TIME.
I’m sorry for screaming at you, but I wonder if anyone has ever had four teenagers at the same time and lived to tell about it….I guess I will find out.
Life truly is a vapor. I want to make the most of each day and enjoy my kids while they are still kids. Help me, Lord, to focus on what’s truly important each day, starting with You and my family.
Do you need encouragement today to slow down and enjoy the children the Lord has entrusted to you? I certainly need that reminder often. As we “seek first [God’s] kingdom and his righteousness,” He will provide what we need. I believe that part of seeking His Kingdom is recognizing the treasure that we have in our children and making it a priority to pour into their impressionable little lives while they are still impressionable. Jesus told His disciples to let the little children come to Him, because “the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” If children are that important to Jesus, we certainly should take our jobs as parents very seriously.
I will leave you with a few verses that I pray will encourage your heart today:
“He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge.” (Proverbs 14:26)
“My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” (Exodus 33:14)
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:26)
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7)