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.
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.