Does It Get Easier? – Guest Post From Amy

Today’s post is from Amy who blogs at Raising Arrows.  Amy is the mother of soon-to-be seven children and has lived through what most parents pray that they will never experience, the death of a child. Amy blogs about parenting, homeschooling and life in this imperfect world at Raising Arrows.

Amy's kids

At the age of 29 with four small children, I remember feeling worn out.  Because I had all “littles” and no “bigs,” the bulk majority of the household responsibilities rested with me.  Sure, the children helped, but rather than “many hands make light work,” it was more like, “little hands make more work.”  I wondered if things would ever get easier.

At 33, with a 12 year old by my side, I can truthfully tell you things do get easier.  However, I know just how hard it can be to see the forest for the trees when you are standing in the middle of it all.  You don’t want to just muddle through, but that seems to be all you ever manage.  There has to be a better way, right?

Even the moms-of-many who have older children have days of just muddling through, but there is a lot to be said for thriving, rather than just surviving.  So, what can you do when you are a mommy of littles to make the most of this season?

Lower your expectations.

You look at other families or websites with all these children working and playing alongside each other and you wonder, “Will that ever be my family?”  I remember the days of wishing the conversation around the dinner table was something more edifying and interesting than the baby crying and the toddler spilling her water for the third time.  I longed for something that wasn’t even possible for my family, and it made me sad.

However, when you lower your expectation of what things *should* look like, and focus more on where you are now and what you can do as a family now, you stop longing after the future.

Let your littles work alongside you.  Let them do less-than-perfect work.  Play their silly games.  Laugh with them and love on them.  You are in a season of sowing seeds.  Accept that the fruit comes later.

Implement what you can now.

I wrote a post a while back about adopting a large family mentality even when you aren’t a large family.  This is probably the number one thing I did as a mom of only littles that saved my sanity!

I learned to implement a bath routine, a morning routine, shopping rules, table rules, and a myriad of other ideas I gleaned from moms much further down the parenting road than I.  Large families, by default, are efficient, and no matter what size or age your family is, gathering from their wisdom and putting it into practice before you need it, makes for a much smoother day.

The future is bright.

“All littles and no bigs” will not always define your family. When I was in that stage, I had an older mother tell me that by the time my oldest was nine, I would see a difference.  Nine seemed a long way away, but she gave me hope.

Guess what?!  She was right!  My oldest child was a huge help by that time, and I could see the other children beginning to follow his example.  It was exciting to see years of training pay off!  So, never fear!  Littles DO grow into bigs!

When it comes down to it, it is all about perspective.  Enjoy where you are now, train for the future, love what you do.  No matter how little or how big they are, you are blessed to be their mommy!

Amy is a follower of Christ, a wife to one man, a mother to many, a thinker, a writer, a homeschooler.  Amy chronicles what her  life is like  at Raising Arrows.

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12 Responses to Does It Get Easier? – Guest Post From Amy
  1. Melanie
    July 13, 2010 | 12:02 pm

    Thanks for the encouragement, Amy! As the oldest of 9 myself, I know that it gets easier, but some days it feels like I might not make it that long! I learned a lot as the oldest, but even I can’t quite remember how my mom coped before I was much help. :)

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  2. Katie
    July 13, 2010 | 12:05 pm

    A hearty “AMEN!” Well written. My oldest (of 5) is 7 yrs and I am now starting to see the benefits of having older children.

    When I had all young ones, I often got discouraged because (for sanities sake) I was constantly lowering expectations. I gave up dusting the house, keeping the windows clean, working on (mom) crafts, reading an occasional novel, having a clean kitchen that lasted for more than 30 minutes, etc. I was wondering how low my expectations could or should be! And then in the past 6 months, I have been seeing an upturn. My kids are now dusting (most) of the house, windows are being cleaned (by kids…) weekly, I don’t spend quite so much time cleaning up the kitchen after meals as I have a helper who is actually helping.

    I still am looking forward to incorporating mom crafts and novel reading back into my life. I’m not sure when or if that will ever happen. Reading tends to put me to sleep these days ;-)

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  3. Allison
    July 13, 2010 | 1:12 pm

    Loved this…thanks for the encouragement! As a Mom of a 5 and 3 year old, these reminders are needed often! I am such a go-getter, sometimes it’s difficult to sit back, enjoy and have a few silly moments with the kids. It’s already gone so fast.

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  4. Esther
    July 13, 2010 | 1:49 pm

    Thank you! My daughters are 3 1/2 and 2 and it sometimes feels like I can hardly put dinner on the table and clean clothes on all of us, not to even consider cleaning the house or participating in much outside the home. But I know the training we’re focusing on now will bear amazing fruit later on.

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  5. Amy Matthews
    July 13, 2010 | 1:59 pm

    5,4,2,1 those are the ages of my children right now. I am in awe that God put this post right here for me to read on this very day when I needed it so very much. I have been asking myself this very question all week. When will it get easier? Will I ever thrive instead of barely survive?

    Day after day after day. Spilled milk after spilled milk. Spat after spat. Diaper change after diaper change. Potty trip after potty trip. Will I ever learn how to speak normally again? Will I always have this weird strict mother tone for the rest of my days.

    More love. More laughter a maid and a cook! Thats what I feel like I need! Guess I will settle for more love and more laughter :)

    I am trying to enjoy the days I have with the littles but I so long to have bigs, just to have help…

    I wouldn’t change my kids or go backand make different decisions. I am blessed to have each of them and welcome any and all that are to come.

    I am learning to take it one day at a time.

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  6. Renee
    July 13, 2010 | 2:01 pm

    that is so encouraging, we have 3 girls 3 and under and I feel like they never are going to be big LOL but they will soon :-)

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  7. Kim
    July 13, 2010 | 2:12 pm

    I also have 5, and the oldest is 7. I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but the tunnel is still looong. Thanks for the encouragement.

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  8. Rachel B
    July 13, 2010 | 5:59 pm

    This is awesome! Thanks for the post it helps put things in perspective and enjoy here and now. Really helpful!!! I will definitely be reading the other post on her blog as well.

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  9. Reesa
    July 14, 2010 | 11:09 am

    We are a small family – 3 kids – but I love reading about large families for tips on structure. For years I loved having a non structured life thinking that I thrived this way. As I get older, I realize we do NOT thrive in chaos.

    Amy, it was so nice to meet you this weekend in Breckenridge!

    Kimberly – Congratulations!

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  10. Alice
    July 14, 2010 | 6:59 pm

    Oh thank you for this wonderful post! It’s so encouraging, and a cool refreshing drink to someone with only littles! Mine are 5,4,2 and 1 (and baby due in December), and I want to laugh and cry at the same time to read that it gets EASIER! Not harder?! It has been getting harder and harder, so it’s a joy to think of it getting easier eventually! I look forward to it, but cherish my time with all little ones. So precious and fleeting!

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  11. Liz
    July 15, 2010 | 4:33 pm

    This was so encouraging….I only have 2 kids at the moment but would love more, but I sometimes worry that I wouldn’t be able to cope. It helps tons to realise that other people have dusty houses and spend all their time talking in a weird parental version of English! so thanks.

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  12. Anna
    August 4, 2010 | 5:47 pm

    Oh, I might have to confess a pity party this weekend. My children are 8, 5, 3, and 1. I am glad to hear that I will have more help in a year or so!

    One thing you didn’t mention is the way that Dad can model, guide, assist and bail out. lol Let’s not forget how important it is to have his support!

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