I suddenly find myself in a phase of life where I am the veteran mom, the mom with an adult child and mostly older kids, and even a grandbaby! I find this all very unbelievable, but it is true nonetheless.
Perhaps the best thing about being on the other side of the early years is that I can tell you beautiful mothers in the trenches to hold on; it gets easier.
If you are in the trenches, if you are terrified of how many kids you could end up with, if you are convinced you are failing and constantly wondering how you will survive, I am here to tell you, dear mother, you will! Here are just a few words of encouragement from a mom who had more than one moment locked in the bathroom hiding from her children.
You will sleep again, and this will change everything: One of the things that makes the early years so difficult is that we are forced to live on little to no sleep. Sleep deprivation is an actual form of torture. There is an abundance of grace to live through those years but they do end. Getting a full night’s sleep allows for all kinds of actual thinking during the day, for an even mood, and energy. It may feel like it will never happen, but eventually these people you made will sleep through the night—and you will too.
Your standards are much higher than your children’s (and TV will not kill them). Every mom I talk to who is in the trenches, juggling littles as well as school-aged children while also pregnant, will tell me they are failing, or that they are bad at their job. This is a lie from the devil. Our standards for ourselves are often ridiculous and come from some fabricated image of motherhood formed by our disordered culture. Your children are safe, fed, clothed, and extremely loved, and that is all they need. If you have to turn on the TV so you can rest, or so you can nurse, or so you can think, let me assure you, they will be fine! Take it from a mom who had six of her seven children in eight years, TV was a gift from God! And all of my children now play outside, can speak to adults, and do well in school.
They will learn to pick up after themselves: Don’t get me wrong, this one takes training and effort on your part, but it can happen. There will come a day when you will look at a sink full of dishes and a floor covered in goldfish and dirt, and you will say, “Kids, it’s time to do your chores,” and you will sit down.
They will appreciate you one day: This one is magical when it happens. One day your teenager will look you in the eye and say, “Thank you,” or your adult child will say they are sorry for taking you for granted for so many years. They will start to see what you do, and they will be grateful. And if you have a big family, their gratitude trickles down, and the younger ones see you sooner.
I could go on, but rest assured, things get easier. We trade the burdens of littles for new ones, and the sacrifice of motherhood changes, never disappears. But you will find new energy and vision, and the season will change. May God minister to your weary soul. He is so pleased by your living sacrifice. You are a good, good mother.