Like all of life, motherhood is made up of countless seasons that follow each other with change, just as in nature. There's the adjusting-to-life-with-your-first-baby season. Remember that one? What an adjustment it was! Then, after the seasons of smiling and crawling, walking, and talking, there was perhaps the season of adjusting to life with two. And more seasons followed.
The season I'm in right now, with four kids six and under and homeschooling one, is not terribly productive in terms of accomplishing lots of noticeable work. Dishes are always piled in the sink. I can get them done, but then a new batch comes in, and you'd never notice--unless you had an inventory list--that I really had washed, dried, and put away a previous batch. The laundry is getting washed, but being put away? Full laundry baskets all over my house testify that the clothes aren't making into the drawers and closets. Many days, my nearly three-year old is still in his jammies at 10 o'clock in the morning (and sometimes his older brother, too). Much to my chagrin, PBS cartoons educate the kids first thing in the morning, while I nurse my newborn upstairs. (At least they're educational!)
I can either feel like a failure for all the things that aren't getting done each day, or I can embrace the season I'm in right now. With joy. See, I realized--after too many days of feeling depressed and beating myself up for how miserably I was falling behind--that this is just a season. This is what the season of being a stay-at-home mom, with four under six (including a newborn), and homeschooling looks like. Do I want to look back on it down the road, when I'm in a different season, and regret how I felt defeated and discouraged each day? How I just wanted to hurry up and get to a more productive season? Or, do I want to look back with no regrets--remembering instead, that even though it may have looked unproductive according to measurable standards, we had joy. We lived each day to its fullest. I didn't try to change the way it was. I changed me instead.
That's what I want. A transformed heart that recognizes I can't do it all. So the dishes and laundry can stack up during this season, just as long as I am cheerfully loving my husband and children and making memories that I can look back on and cherish--not regret.
How about you? What season do you find yourself in now? How can you find more joy in it? What tips have you found to help you embrace it fully?