The months after I came home from the hospital with my second son were spent in survival mode. My days were filled with learning how to balance two very different children. Exhaustion overwhelmed my soul and I felt like a failure as a mom.
Throughout my entire pregnancy with my second child, I had envisioned the days ahead spent playing Thomas the Train together and running around outside. What I did not envision was a baby who did not sleep well, potty training being such a struggle, and so many other things. I did not expect to stare at the clock every day, eagerly waiting for evening when my husband would return from work.
I tend to have a love/hate relationship with meal planning. Naturally, I love to be intentional about a good plan, but sitting down and putting one together, following through, and then making the dinners every evening can create some overwhelm in my life. Generally, as the dinner hour approaches, my kids always seem to go intofull on crazy mode. Some days it can seem like the greatest struggle ever to get a healthy dinner on the table while managing the little ones.
When I talk to friends who work outside the home, I hear the same struggle with them concerning meal planning. As they race home from work, pick up the kids, the last thing on their minds is trying to fix dinner.
The broom moved swiftly over the laminate floor, as I carefully swept up the remaining crumbs from the day. It was an everyday task and so routine that I could move through the motions in my sleep. As I bent over to sweep the piles of crumbs Into the dustpan, the thoughts started to fill my mind.
“How many times do I sweep crumbs? No one even cares. I am constantly cleaning up something.”
There were thirty minutes before our friends were coming over for dinner. Naturally, I was running around frantically cleaning every little spot possible. Toys were thrown back into containers, the vacuum was ran, unfolded laundry was shoved into our bedroom as I attempted to create an illusion of perfection. When our friends arrived, we greeted them with plastered on smiles with a spotless house.
Throughout the entire evening, I struggled to be fully present. My mind was constantly spinning with thoughts of whether the kids were behaving, when should I bring dessert out, and that I needed to clean up the dishes.
This school year has been full of new transitions for our family. With both of the boys at school now, it is just my daughter and I at home. We are learning new rhythms and I am starting to see what a sweet season this is.
There is something so special and beautiful about the quality time that we spend with our little ones. I have realized how quickly time does fly by and it has caused me to slow down. My goal is always to be intentional with my children, so that has urged on my love for quality time with my kids.
Sitting down, I looked at the week ahead and started to feel the overwhelm enter my soul. There were so many activities, commitments, and obligations. Every evening seemed to be filled with something. This is life as a mom of three, I thought to myself. Yet, deep down I wondered if it had to be that way. Do we have to accept the busy life? Or is there something else?
Our days are so busy. We fill every moment to the brim. We run wearily from one activity to another convinced that each is necessary and of greatest importance. By the end of the week, we crash and take a deep breath before entering into a hectic weekend. Our souls crave something quieter, smaller, but we convince ourselves that is unrealistic.
It was a Tuesday morning and the rain was drizzling down outside. I was weary and worn down from parenting demands, and settled down with my cup of reheated coffee. Instantly, my fingers went to my Facebook app and I opened it up unknowingly seeking community. To my tired eyes, all I saw was a world of amazing friendships which left me reflecting on my current state of loneliness.
Nothing was going right. From the moment my youngest woke our entire house at the early hour of 5am, it had been one thing after another. The boys were arguing over toys, the puppy having accidents on the floor, and I spilled my coffee all over myself. Grumbling, I made extra coffee and attempted to wake my weary self. In moments like these, and in moments much harder than these, joy can seem like an unrealistic emotion. However, I have learned that having joy is different than being happy.