Imagine with me for a moment…
Your alarm goes off at 6a. You quietly and carefully lift your body over the baby’s in an attempt to turn it off before he wakes. You gently fall back into your sleeping space and drift off to sleep. It was a long night. A few more minutes of rest won’t hurt anyone.
630a rolls around and you hear your five year old walk past your bedroom door and down the stairs. You think, “Thank goodness he can help himself to a banana and cereal.” He’s found the box of legos and quietly entertains himself while you catch those extra Zzz’s.
7a hits and all of a sudden it’s as if you were hit with a truck. Your three year old and two year old (who share a bedroom) are standing at their doorway hollering, “Mama! We’re awake! We want to come out!” Because you were smart enough to know two little girls can wreck havoc on a house if they happen to wake and you do not.
You crawl over the baby, hoping and praying he stays asleep at least for a few more minutes until you can gain some ground. But as soon as your feet hit the floor, his eyes snap open and he immediately begins crying for Mama. You hold him in your arms and sleepily stumble to let the girls out of their room. The two year old wants to be picked up too so you shift Baby to one hip and plop the toddler on the other. Good luck walking down that flight of stairs.
Before you reach the landing, the five year old is greeting you with “Good morning, Mama!” followed immediately with, “I’m hungry.” The toddler and three year old follow you around like little chickens looking for their morning meal. You hand out bananas all around in hopes that it buys you enough time to cook up some oatmeal or throw together fruit and muffins. Let’s be honest though, many days a simple bowl of cereal will have to suffice (sometimes even dry.)
The three “big” kids sit to the table to eat so you take the baby to the couch to nurse in a slightly more comfortable fashion. How much trouble can the kids get into at the table, right?
Wrong. Before you know it, the toddler has dumped her entire bowl of cereal on to the table and you find her running around the house with messy hands and a bib full of food. You know if you stop nursing at that moment, you’ll not only have a mess to clean up, but a screaming baby as well so you just sit, and snuggle, and put the mess out of your mind for a brief moment.
After all, babies are only babies for so long. Messes happen every single day. And you are only given one life to live and one chance to raise these precious children.
I wish I could say the end to this story is how I respond to this very real scenario. However, it is not. I am not always as gracious or patient or kind. Many times I lose my temper and show outward signs of frustration and annoyance. Many mornings I find myself wanting to cry and praying someone will call or make a surprise visit just to help me regain some sanity.
I share all this to let you know, parenting is hard. The little years are hard. They are exhausting and filled with messes, crying, and repeating the same things over and over and OVER again. But these years are so precious. We only get one shot at them. Rather than fight against them, I am slowly learning how to love the little years, tantrums, messes, chaos, and all.
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These little years, while an incredible test of patience and self-control, are also filled with countless hugs and sloppy kisses, mud pies baked just for you, and dandelion bouquets on every family walk. These little years not only allow us to teach our children about the love of Christ, they teach us what it means to love like Christ.
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Don’t wish away the little years just to gain a little peace. Just as these years are meant for training up a child in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6), they are also being used to mold, shape, and form you into the woman God wants you to be.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9
Post contributed by Stephanie of Abundant Living
Rebecca C says
I’m nursing my 7 week old daughter as I read this. Love it!
Karina @Mom in the USA says
Funny. I just finished nursing my 10-month old, while reading this, thinking “That’s exactly how my mornings go.” The only difference is that I am praying for God to let us know if and when #4 is meant to join us.
I gave up on being frustrated. I laugh it off and have learned to turn it into a game. I always think, “If I were at a new job, how would I want to be trained?” Well that’s how my kids feel. It’s so nice, though, that other Mamas have the same mornings. Thank you.
That’s a new perspective I’ve never heard before, Karina. Thank you for sharing that with us!
Julie @ Logger's Wife says
I have having to remind myself something similar this morning. My 2.5yr old is dealing with this odd intestinal bug (thank God she at least is recognizing it and it making it to the potty on time about 95% of the time) and a cold at the same time. But you know kids. They go from energy to sick back to energy to laying on the kitchen floor whimpering. It’s 11am here. It’s already been a rough day.
I’m having to keep reminding myself that blogging can wait, that big order for my Etsy shop can wait, the dishes can wait (okay, not too long since they should have been done Saturday). Right now, I need to be here for her. And enjoy the moments where she wants to snuggle. 🙂
Aww. Those “sick” moments can be so heart-breaking and frustrating at the same time. I hope your little one feels better quickly, Julie!
Beautiful! These years are so precious and they go by soooo quickly! I am potty-training my toddler and he has had numerous accidents today after a busy weekend . . . it’s easy to wish away the laundry, but then I remember other difficult moments I wished away and how I long to only go back to savor them. They are only little once and all we have it today. I am learning to savor today.
It can definitely be difficult to keep a joyful attitude when working through potty-training! I am right there with you, Carrie.
Chris Thompson says
Those “little years” are now only memories because my kids are grown. However, I do have a precious grandson, and I appreciate each moment with him. I enjoyed your post. I’d love for you to share your posts on my weekly link up parties at somuchathome.blogspot.com. I host a new party each Wednesday, so you can share a post(or several) any day of the week. I hope you will come read some of my posts and share several of your own!
Erin | It All Matters Mom says
I love the verse from Galatians! I’d never thought about that in regards to parenting. I have an almost 3 year old and a just-turned 1- year old. It is SO hard, but SO worth it. It’s always nice to see that we’re not alone in our struggles. God never promised us things would be easy, but He promised He’d always be with us. Great post!
Andrea Smyth says
My husband and I are just about to start our journey as first time parents, and after watching several of our friends run after their toddlers in utter exhaustion, sometimes I wonder how I’ll manage! Thank you for an encouraging view of the same situation 🙂
Cling to 2 Corinthians 12:9 each step of the way! You won’t regret it. “But he said to me, “My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” So then, I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may reside in me.”
I love this post. I can totally relate. Have 4 kids under 4..Some days can be so frustrating..Am praying for more patience to get thru those days that seem like one thing happens right after the other. Love this encouraging post! Thanks n God bless
Laura at Mommy Maleta says
Great thoughts about these challenging years! Thx for linking up at the Thoughtful Spot!
A Mama's Story says
Wonderful post!! This one is among this week’s featured. Thanks for linking up at A Mama’s Story, and help yourself to a featured button. 😉