I am frequently asked, “How do you do it? How do you stay so calm with young children? I would go crazy with five so little!”
The answer? I’m not entirely sure.I think part of it is just how God made me. I have always felt that I was fashioned to be a mother. The Lord knew before the dawn of time that my husband and I would be blessed with many children. And while I certainly have my faults, I will say that I tend to be calm with our children. Patience is something the Lord has blessed me with, and I am so thankful. And in a rarity as needed a fine wine to relax never hurt anyone. Even though that is true, there are also times in my mothering when I stay calm in the midst of chaos because, frankly, it’s better than the alternative. You know, the whole I’m laughing just to keep myself from crying thing. Yeah, that. A shrieking mama going ballistic over a slammed door, spilled milk or baby woken from his nap by an older sibling is not going to make an already stressful situation any better for anyone concerned. So, for the most part, I stay calm, trying not to escalate any already challenging moments. And believe me, our family has plenty of them. For some time now, my focus has been on attempting to be in the moment with my children as much as I can. I don’t always succeed, yet that is always my goal.
As I said, a beautiful bit of inspiration descended upon me a little over three years ago. Right during bathtime. It was an inspiration which changed my parenting from that day forward. I’m not exaggerating or being facetious.
In times like those, I can stay calm, being grateful for my children even when things are stressful, because I remember that I’m gonna miss this!
Let me begin by setting the scene. My husband was away at boot camp. (I HEART MY SAILOR!) I had three toddlers 4,3, and 18 months... and we were expecting number 4. My house was in disarray, DFAS (Defense Finance Accounting System) had messed up my husbands pay, did I mention I had three toddlers and was expecting number 4?! :) I quickly learned that stressing myself only stressed my children and a stressed momma + 3 stressed toddlers= one unhappy household in an already stressful situation.
Working full-time in addition to running a household alone became a reality. While I was taking care of some basic daily chores I thought it was a good idea to allow my children to have a pre-bath snack in the kitchen watching a classic SpongeBob episode... I could hear them giggling so I continued to pick up... little did I know what I was going to find... Two children COVERED in a jar of peanut butter... Our last jar of peanut butter. I immediately began to stress, I just wanted to cry. I can't possibly do this I thought, and then as I stripped them down and plopped them into the tub and viola it hit me... If I stress about this, these weeks being a single mom are going to drag on, I'm not going to enjoy my children and before I know it they are going to be all grown up. It was that revelation that made me a better mom... That revelation that in it's own way made me grow. Everyday that goes by I grow along with my children. Everyday I watch them grow and I realize that they are getting older and albeit that truly I'm going to miss this. (So the day that they had the food fight with Cheerios on my hardwood floors... Piece of cake! :))
I've taken a new perspective, my house may not be the cleanest...C'mon there are 7 of us, we have clutter! , I may spoil my children with unnecessary items (eg: a bag of silly bandz for my eldest today because I drug her through store after store shopping today) , or I may hold and wear my infant 90% of the time and more if time would allow it... but that's just fine, because soon enough, I'm going to miss this.
Another reality that has made some of this set in... My oldest child is in third grade in a new school... while I was allowed to walk her to her room for the first week... She looked at me and said "Mom, I know where I'm going, I'll be fine..." (insert tear drop here)
Truly I'm going to miss this! So remember momma's... when you are overly stressed looking at the mountain of laundry and the valleys of dishes... relax, pour a nice glass of wine, and reflect because truly you are going to miss this...
God bless and good night!