The last two weeks have thrown me for a loop as far as motherhood goes. There have been some wonderful things. First we had my sister visiting from Florida. Then Jon’s family came right as she left. Then we made a trip to introduce Liam to his great grandfather. Liam does not like traveling. Jon’s brother estimates that to travel with kids you should add 45 minutes for every three hours you plan to go. I won’t say by how far Liam exceeds that estimate. For some reason we always end up with tons of crying less than thirty minutes from home.
On top of this, suddenly he is waking up far more than his usual two-three times each night, and instead of simply eating and going back to sleep, he cries and struggles to sleep. And at the same time, his naps have become forty-five minutes or less (instead of 1.5 to 2 hours) even if we hold him. Then he got his first major round of vaccines on Monday. Suffice it to say the house is almost as neglected as this blog.
It has been hard for me to be patient. I was just getting a handle (or so I thought) on mothering Liam. Now I am again struggling to have enough energy to make it through the day. I have written and edited pieces of part four of my series all week, and I am dying to finish it. And The Eyes of a Child series has been put on the back burner.
I grow frustrated quickly. Many women can handle several children and a baby. Some days I struggle with just having a three month old. I love being Liam’s mom, and I am so thankful I can stay home with him. But why can’t I get more done? What am I doing wrong?
I constantly fear that I am messing up somehow. Has my infrequent rocking become a sleep crutch? Why have his naps disappeared? Why was the house clean last week but this week getting laundry done is a small miracle?
I don’t have a pat answer for seasons of life that are challenging. But I do love how my son is lying in my arms right now looking up at me while I sing to him. And we will survive.
Yesterday, I wrote the first half of this post. I was very, very tired, and Liam never took a good nap. I hadn’t been out in a while, so we bravely ventured into the world to run errands. And it was a great decision. Though traffic forced me to stop to feed him not far from home, it was still a fun outing.
Liam was a real trooper through all of the grocery shopping, and he was very curious in the children’s clothing store (“All these clothes in my size?!”). We even found a hat for him (the primary purpose of the outing), and he wore his hat and mittens on a walk with one of my best friends right after we got home. Thankfully mittens at this age don’t always have thumbs; they are more like glorified socks for your hands. I was wondering how I would get a tiny thumb in a tiny thumb hole.
I am learning to let go and enjoy (something very hard for me!). I am learning that it is okay to leave the house messy or neglect writing for a time or say “no.”
But it can also be so good to say “yes”–to skip a nap and clean the house or go on that outing or take a walk with a friend. I may be physically tired, but it makes me feel emotionally and mentally better.
And I always try to remind myself that these are seasons. There aren’t always easy black and white answers when raising a child anymore than there are always black and white answers to my faith. I will mess up. Life is messy, and as much as I long to, I can’t protect Liam from the brokenness in the world and in himself. And that will be part of teaching him the Gospel. As I have written my own story, I have seen that there isn’t one way to teach a child about Jesus. The child can always become confused or distort what was taught. The teacher may fail to clearly explain. Or the teacher may mess up. We are unique, and this affects how we hear and learn and see. Thankfully God can work through me and in me but also in spite of me.
I still want to finish my faith story and (eventually) the 31 day series, but I hope you’ll be patient with me if it takes a little longer than I had planned. As much as I need to write, I also need this time with my baby to rest, savor, and learn.