Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Embracing The Season

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?


  1. I am so with you in this season. I do have older ones who help with dishes and other things, but I also have 3 that are 3 and under (one is a newborn). Can't forget the homeschooling! I know I need to cherish these days. Thanks for the reminder to change me and not wish this season away!

  2. Hi Stephenie! I think if we lived in the same town, we would be kindred spirits :) A homeschooling friend of 8 told me recently that we are so affected by the institution of school that we feel like we have to get x and y done before we can do what we really want to do with our kids--the "joy" things. She said the "joy" is what we should be doing, that it is what life at home and learning at home is all about. To give ourselves permission to do the "joy" things. That encouraged me. Hope it boosts your spirits too! :) Cheryl

  3. Thank you for that encouragement! I know I've been lacking in the joy department lately. Would you believe me if I told you that just last night I decided to deviate from our normal schooling for the month of November so we could do more of the things that we enjoy? :-)
    There have been so many of your posts that could have been written by me (if I were a great writer!) because they have expressed nearly exactly how I think and feel.
    Your blog is a blessing to me! Thank you!

  4. I am in this season too! I was talking to Ben about it tonight and saying how when I look back at this short season of life I want to feel that I did everythign I possibly could to embrace it...because then I can embrace the next season w/out having feelings of regret...

  5. I have just one child and am now in the season of his being a first-grader who is learning so much and seems so capable, yet still "forgets" that he should not whine or talk sarcastically and roll his eyes at his parents! Honestly, I have not yet fully recovered from the loss of breastfeeding hormones more than 4 years ago and the resulting tendency to find him more annoying than when he was a baby. I think his bad attitude often is triggered by my seeming indifferent or rude toward him. And while we certainly must not tolerate whining or disrespect from him, we do need to be careful about expecting perfect behavior and making no allowances for his young age. It's been an awkward season for me--like those times in fall or spring when the temperature changes drastically from one day to the next.

  6. I happened upon this blog post somehow and am so thankful. I am in a season of a newborn (18 days new!), recovering from a c-section and have 2 older boys who are 5 and 3. Right now, things are easy and good because my husband is home on leave from the military. I have 1 more week with him here and I'm thankful but getting anxious.

    Thank you for this post. I needed this reminder that this is just a season. I need to embrace it and enjoy it as best as possible because more productive days will come but the baby days will be over for us as this is our last little one for our family.