My Version of Hard
I have noticed that once you have three or more children, people start to comment. A lot.
Some comments are so sweet. A customer at work once told me “Have as many as you can, they grow up so fast and you will miss it when they are gone. I wish I had had more!”
Some comments make you roll your eyes. “My, you have your hands full.” And then there’s the “You know how babies are made, don’t you?” comment.
But the comment that really breaks my heart is when an exhausted young mama looks at me and says, “I don’t know how you do it, I can hardly handle one.”
It’s not the words she says, it’s the meaning behind it. Like she thinks I’m some kind of superwoman who has it all together. Who can juggles multiple children with ease while she is somehow inferior because she finds just keeping one child alive and well (and her own sanity intact) incredibly difficult.
I want to give all these mamas a big hug and tell them that having just one baby IS hard! So is having two children. So is having three. So is having four. And I’m sure having ten or twenty has its many challenges as well. Mommy-ing IS hard, no matter what stage and how many children you have. It’s just that the definition of “hard” changes as time goes on.
When I say hard, I don’t mean awful. Challenging is a better word. Everyone knows that challenges help you grow. An athlete challenges her body with harder workouts to make herself stronger. That’s what parenting is like. When the new runner does her first mile ever, it is challenging! When you have your first baby, it is challenging! But just because it’s hard, doesn’t mean you are doing it wrong. You are being stretched and worked in ways you never have been before. That is tough! And then once you feel like you have your rhythm, the baby stops sleeping through the night or starts teething (or both!) and then you are floundering to find balance again. And you will. And then you will be challenged again.
Let’s take another look at our runner. If she is just content to run that same mile over and over again, at the same pace, is she going to get much stronger? If she isn’t challenged, she won’t grow. So she focuses on running that mile faster each time. And then she decides to go for two miles.
You may not decide to go for two children. A lot of people don’t, and that’s totally ok! But I also don’t want any new mother to judge herself so harshly and think that she is not “good enough” to have another baby just because she finds having one child challenging. You were designed to be a mother!You are capable!That doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy all the time. There are HARD moments!
Like when the kindergartener wants help with reading a word at the same moment as the toddler needs help wiping her bottom because she just finished on the potty at the same moment that the baby wants to nurse. Been there, done that. I felt like pulling my hair out at the time! I felt like it was not humanly possible for me to be stretched in that many directions all at once. I didn’t feel like I was doing a good job at the time. I certainly didn’t feel like superwoman. It felt HARD. But I made it through, and now I look back on that moment and laugh and I feel like I could tackle it again if I had to. I’ve been through even harder, and it has all made me stronger.
I want you to know that you are doing a good job! It’s totally normal for it to be hard. I want you to stop and think about who you were before you became a mother and who you are now. Even if your child has only been out of the womb for 24 hours, I bet you have been challenged. I bet you have been stretched. I bet you have grown. I bet you are strongerthan you were before. I know you are, and it’s a beautifulthing!
I recently came across this Bible verse, and it paints such a wonderful picture of what family is:
"Your wife will be like a fruitful vine, flourishing within your home. And look at all those children! There they sit around your table as vigorous and healthy as young olive trees.”Psalm 128:3
Your children are a gift from heaven, and God knew what He was doing when He gave them to you. He chose YOU, out of all the women in this world, to be the mama of your child/children. You are strong enough!