As of yesterday, I’ve been a mother of two for nine months. It hasn’t been everything I expected—or maybe I should say feared. Yes, at times it has been very stressful (especially lately with both children suddenly thinking they need to make sure I wake at least every hour during the night).
But, as I always seem to find, enjoying motherhood is less about what my kids do and more about who they are. Of course, that’s also manifest in their actions, but their little personalities are some of the biggest joys of this life.
Especially when their little personalities get along so well.
Naturally, Rebecca is fascinated with Hayden. She can’t keep her eyes off him when he’s in the room. She laughs easiest at his antics. Even his mere presence can be enough to elicit a giggle.
And for his part, Hayden loves his little sister “Werbecca” very much. His favorite things to do seem to be helping to sing a lullaby before her naps and bedtime (“Baby Beluga”) and being there to wake her up after her naps. (Of course, since she finds him so interesting and entertaining, sometimes his efforts to help put her down aren’t so helpful after all, but it’s still sweet.)
A recent comment here really struck me. Mom on the Go said:
Don’t wait for the day that you can say it’s worth it. Wait for the moment. Grace comes in all lengths of time. The short ones seem to come with the small kids.
A few weeks ago, I let Hayden go in to talk to Rebecca after she woke up from a nap, while I was finishing up something on the computer. I came in to get my giggling children and I found one of those moments just waiting for me:
What moments have you found lately?
I really liked this next passage from a recent address given by President Monson to my church (see part one from last week):
Stresses in our lives come regardless of our circumstances. We must deal with them the best we can.
I often fall into that same trap—believing that if only I didn’t have to do all this “mothering stuff”/work/housekeeping/good works/church/alone, it’d be so much easier. But frankly, I would probably still find something to stress out about even if I had one less thing on my plate.
And all too often, I let the wrong thing slide. President Monson continues:
But we should not let them get in the way of what is most important—and what is most important almost always involves the people around us. Often we assume that they must know how much we love them. But we should never assume; we should let them know. Wrote William Shakespeare, “They do not love that do not show their love.” We will never regret the kind words spoken or the affection shown. Rather, our regrets will come if such things are omitted from our relationships with those who mean the most to us.
Usually, I get stressed because I’m trying to do too much—and often it’s not stuff that I need to do anyway. Beyond basic housecleaning and a couple hours of work per day, I don’t actually have to do a lot of the things that I make myself do or that I want to do.
Instead, if I focus on the work of motherhood: loving, and giving my children attention, suddenly those stresses that make my life so difficult—the stresses that I have put on myself—seem to go away.
What helps you relieve or lessen the stress of motherhood? How do you show your children your love?
At the most recent General Conference of my church, there was an excellent talk on having joy in the journey. The speaker, the leader of my church, made several great points about raising children—and keeping perspective while doing that.
If you are still in the process of raising children, be aware that the tiny fingerprints that show up on almost every newly cleaned surface, the toys scattered about the house, the piles and piles of laundry to be tackled will disappear all too soon and that you will—to your surprise—miss them profoundly.
As I type this, I’m sitting on a stained couch, next to a waist-deep pile of laundry, across the room from the nose-and-mouth prints on the entertainment center. I’ll go to bed only to wake up three or four times tonight to nurse Rebecca, then get up earlier than I want to to take care of her or Hayden.
And this is what I’ll miss? Yep, says this father, grandfather and great-grandfather. I think the thing that I like most about this quote is the aside of “to your surprise.” It shows that he knows what it’s like to be here.
I think, though, that even though we don’t care for hearing this, we all know this. During the difficult times, it might be hard to believe that we’ll miss all this. But during the good times, the peaceful times, the adorable times, we know that they won’t last. They can’t last. My little children will disappear before my eyes—they already are.
So every once in a while, the reminder that I’ll miss these days makes me value them a little more. How about you?