I hate daylight savings time. With a fiery passion I usually only reserve for Twilight, olives, and the weeds in my backyard. Why, you ask? Well, if you are asking, you probably don’t have kids. All three of my kids have been infants during the summer, during DST. All three of them are for some reason, very sensitive to the sunlight, leaving me with two infants who aren’t asleep for the night until about 10 p.m. (or later). Someday I’ll get to have a conversation with my husband, right? Someday we’ll get more than 15 minutes of down time at the end of the day, right? Right?
I was thinking about this the other day while scribbling in my gratitude journal and I almost wrote, “the longer days” as something I am grateful for. I am, because longer days means we can sometimes take a walk as a family after Atticus gets home from work and before bath and bedtime. I am, because some nights, like last night, Maggie played with a group of neighbor kids of all ages for most of an hour, entertaining themselves with chalk, sticks, and singing “let it go” much to everyone’s delight. I’m grateful for the extra light, but it also makes my life (and my job) a lot harder, keeping those babies up much later than they should be.
I think that parenting is like that, and to some extent, even our children. We love them, they bring us so much joy and help us grow in virtue, but yet, in a lot of ways they make life (and our job of raising them!) so very difficult sometimes, challenging us in ways we never imagined before they were given to us by God.
It’s one of the universal truths of parenthood that the hardest part of parenting comes, paradoxically, right at the beginning when you know the least.
Every mom (or dad) I’ve talked with in recent memory, no matter if they have 10 children or 1, has said that the hardest most draining aspect of parenting has been when you have little children at home (ages 4 and under) and ONLY little children at home. Even Michelle Duggar, mom of 19 living children, said that the hardest time in her parenting journey was when they had 5 kids 5 and under (including a set of twins!). Yet, so often we don’t realize that it won’t be like this forever. My babies are so literally helpless that I have to put the food in their mouth. My three year old is getting very independent, but she still needs me to wipe her you-know-what and help her pick out her clothes, bathe, brush her teeth, and fix her every meal. Children at this age have relentless, exhausting needs. Between birth and age 4, there is strikingly little they can do for themselves. That’s just the truth. Anyone who tells you otherwise either has enough children now that they have older ones to help and they’ve forgotten, or they don’t yet have children.
So this post, today, is for the moms with only little ones. You might know them by the circles under their eyes, the extra large coffee mugs, the wild-eyed look of an Amish teen on Rumspringa when they finally have an evening to themselves. You also know them by the joy in their eyes as they rock a precious sleeping baby, the surprised smile when their little one wraps tiny arms around a softened waist, looking up at their mommy with adoration in her eyes.
This is the hardest part my sisters, my warrior mothers, my friends. We are in the hardest part. I see you. God sees you. Your children see you. Someday, they will wipe their own ass. I promise.
To that end, I’m doing a little giveaway. I picked up this super cute gratitude journal a few weeks ago on clearance and I am so excited to give it away to one of you lovely readers.
The front cover says “In everything, give thanks”
On the inside it has lined pages and beautiful quotes about gratitude and joy. I love it! One lucky reader can love it too. All you need to do to enter is to like the Fumbling Toward Grace facebook page. For an additional entry, you can follow me on Twitter and/or Pinterest. Those beautiful blue buttons on the top right of the page will take you to those pages. The giveaway opens this morning (6/10) and will close at midnight on Friday. To enter, click the link above for the FTG facebook page, and there you will see a tab for giveaways. Easy peasy.
May the odds be ever in your favor!