For Tired Mothers of Small Children
When my first baby was new and small and I was deep in sleep deprivation there was a piece of advice that made me cringe every time I heard it. I could almost feel it coming based on the sweet facial expression of the person and my recoil was strong before all the words were even out. This feeling strongly carried through toddlerhood and the babyhood of my next baby.
Can you guess what the words were?
It was a variation of the, “You’ll miss these days! They go too fast!”
It was not helpful or encouraging when I was exhausted and dealing with a child tantrumming over something neither of us can remember anymore. I was sure in those moments that I would not, indeed, miss those moments. Who could miss tears, the millionth night waking, spit up in your hair, diapers exploding at the worst moment, car trips where everyone ends up crying, and just the general sense that no one knows how to make things work- neither baby or mom?
I’ve since doubled the number of children I have and sometimes get a full night of sleep. In retrospect I think that those words were said in an attempt to encourage.
Do people enjoy public tantrums, tears, and exhaustion? No, I would guess most parents are not gifted with the ability to enjoy that. I certainly still don’t. But what those moments mean is more than the tantrum, more than the potty accident. Those moments mean that you have a baby, a toddler, a tiny human needing you for all of their earthly needs.
Those are the days that go, all too fast. One day you will wake up and the baby who never slept and screamed through every grocery run will be big enough to be moving out. Mom- please don’t be angry at me for saying this- but these days will pass. They pass in the blink of an eye. Every day may feel like a lifetime sometimes, especially when things go wrong from the moment someone crying drags you from bed. The days melt together and the months pass quickly.
Now this doesn’t make tantrums or disobedience more of a treasured story for the baby book (assuming you are still trying to keep one). I don’t blame you for not blissfully smiling as your tot yells at you because you won’t buy them candy at the checkout. If you need to cry when as soon as your head hits the pillow baby is crying again- we can cry with you. The truth that these days will someday be but memory because your children are grown does not minimize the truth that sometimes things are just hard and unpleasant.
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Remember, too, that we are blessed by a God who cares for all of our needs, and all of the needs of our children. We are forgiven for when we fail. Our children are forgiven for their failings. Our sins are not the defining part of our lives, our redemption in Jesus is.
Mothers- these days are long. They’re also fleeting. Our joy does not need to rest in finding enjoyment in every part of life but in Jesus and His death for us. And for our children.
By Holly Scheer
Photo: Tantrum by Amanda Tipton. CC license.
On rough days, my mom always tells me “I promise that they will grow up. Not today. Not tomorrow. But they will grow up. But don’t rush them.”
As a mom whose youngest is 16, I can tell you this is most certainly true. I don’t miss the fatigue and tantrums (mine or theirs) but I can definitely say I miss the sweetness of babyhood.
Well done, Holly. My boys are just, & I mean just 14 months apart. It took 3 weeks, to get them on the same eat & nap schedule. Leaving time, alone time, for each of our boys. I blinked & now they attend Luther Prep, looking at colleges, finding jobs, car (oi vey) and me, having to let go. Let go, let them feel their feet, test their wings, fall, get hurt, make mistakes, and just have to sit & watch. My duty, as a Mumma, is different, now. I call it the Nanny McPhee theory, when they need me, I have to “Mumma”, when they want me, I have to step back. It was easier, on my heart, when they, were wee ones. Now, a cuddle, band aids & Neosporin, wiping tears with a kiss, doesn’t have the same effect. Those take more, His kind of more, not mine. I thought it would take forever, they didn’t learn anything I taught, and they’d never, stop “needing” me. It’s true, relish every second, colic, Dr.’s, homework, tears and every giggle! Trust me, you’ll miss it. Far more, than you ever imagined, you could. I love being a Mumma!!! I’m so grateful, our Heavenly Father, allowed me to know and be one!
Thank you, ladies!