3/17/2013

Loving AND Loathing the Little Years

If you have small children or know someone who does, read this.

No, seriously, READ THIS.

I feel every word of that post. And my oldest is only 2 years and 6 days old. And, as I'll touch on some magical day when I have enough time to write about it, we feel fairly certain we're supposed to have at least 1 or 2 more kids. Suffice it to say, the road ahead of me is loooong.

Just tonight, like ten minutes ago, listening to Roger cry angrily in his bed and too tired to even look at my phone, I was pondering the juxtaposition of how I love Roger so much that I can't put it into words, yet sometimes I just really hate this phase of constant tantrums and hitting and crying, and it feels like it will never get better and Juliet is hurtling toward this age, too. I feel like I wish I would have enjoyed my pre-kids days more, like somehow the enjoyed freedom of no kids is in direct proportion to "getting through" the difficulties of these little years, as though it would have carried over or something.



The worst part is the struggle to be honest about it, fearing that people will think I am not grateful to God, or don't love my kids, or, worst of all, will Jesus juke me with how much they would give anything to have my "problem" (though I don't actually view my kids as a problem to be solved) because they are single / infertile or have grown passed the joys of the little years.

While there really are so many moments that warm my heart, like huge, spontaneous hugs from Roger and smiles from Jules that never end, on a day like today with little sleep, the day after throwing a birthday party, a cranky toddler, a cranky infant, both of whom have green snot geysers shooting forth every 20 minutes, with no nap for the toddler and a husband who has to be at the church for 8 hours on our "sabbath" day and tomorrow the "work" week starts back up...I just ache for a sick day. A day to literally lie in bed for 12 hours, sleeping if I feel like it, or *gasp* reading a book, maybe a real book that I hold in my hands and not my tiny little phone screen for 10 minutes at night before the knives in my eyes force me to close them, knowing that my precious babies will be there tomorrow but today I can rest. Just one day.

I KNOW I am not alone here and perhaps it's time to be one of those brave, honest souls I respect so much, the Liz Paks of the world.

A large part of my silence is that honestly, the first year with just Roger wasn't terribly hard. It wasn't EASY, but it was largely more enjoyable than difficult. Part of me fears honesty because I'm afraid those having a rough time with one kiddo will feel judged by me. Since having Juliet when Roger was only 19 months old, plus him going from generally happy to generally cranky literally overnight about a month ago (he woke up one Saturday and hasn't been the same since; he's still sweet and all of the things I love about him but there's also a persistent evidence of his inherent sin nature that wasn't as palpable before that fateful Saturday), things have just been so. freaking. hard. There are moments of joy in each day but the days are long and exhausting. That's a flop from generally lovely days with hard moments when it was just Rog and me. It reawakens my fear that the mean, angry, impatient mom is my fate and I'll be her sooner a later (lie from the pit of hell. Let us just call it what it is.) and the emotional toil of being so frustrated with two someones whom I love so much is stressful and exhausting on top of the physical toil.

I wish everyone in our position had someone to say, "We booked a hotel room for you. Here's a gift card for dinner. Feel free to rent a movie on our dime. Whatever you need. Check in's as early as noon today and checkout's at noon tomorrow and we'll watch the kids. Now go, and remember how to breathe."

Maybe you can't do that--we aren't in the position to do that for anyone. But you can pray. You can encourage honesty. You can remind them that it's ok if things are hard, and being raw and vulnerable about how hard it is isn't the same as complaining or being ungrateful. And if they do complain or aren't grateful Jesus gives abundant grace to cover that--there's a reason Titus says women will be saved through childbearing, because while birthing and/or raising a baby doesn't punch your ticket to heaven it does force you to choose between your interests and someone else's, and if you know Jesus he challenges you not just to choose your kids with a motive of trying to get perfect children but to choose your kids because you already have a perfect savior. Use scripture in a way that refreshes them and reminds them how welcoming Jesus is to sinners, not in a way that condemns them for failing yet again.

Most of all, if you are here with me, can we be honest together? And if you used to be here or aren't here yet, pray that Jesus will help you have deep empathy or sympathy, as is relevant, to walk with those in these trenches.

4 comments:

  1. Oh I am there with you Tami. As I literally sit in a giant puddle of vomit holding a squirming baby... I have to wonder, did I appreciate peace and sanity enough while I had it? And yeah, this is so awesome and I love being a mom... but that doesn't mean Brad didn't have to emergency call my mom yesterday because I couldn't stop crying. It's HARD! And this with one little adorable infant - and its only been a month. We all need to pray for each other. Love you Tami!

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  2. Oh, sweet friend, I am so sorry! Sometimes I do think of you and wonder how it is. Being so fresh off of those insanely hard first 4.5 months myself has me feeling deep empathy for you! Just know that having moments of hating your circumstances isn't the same as hating your baby. Such a crucial thing to remember! And she can be the most gorgeous creature you have ever beheld but having her refuse to eat while screaming your face and you've tried everything and it's 3:44 am and you feel like you'll literally die without sleep can still be one of the worst moments of your life! But Jesus does care and he loves you and walks with you as your ever present help in this DESPERATE time of need! Praying for you hard, beautiful mama!

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  3. Thank you so much for your prayers Tami! They are absolutely appreciated, needed, and HEARD. I can;t even believe it but Abby slept from 12am to 7am last night!!! And then she continued to sleep from 8 to 10:30! We just cuddled and slept all night... unbelievable. And, yes, there are those ho would make me feel bad that she slept with me but I so don't care. She sleeps better, I sleep better, it won't last forever. I feel so much more human today. And the spit-up covered clothes of yesterday are the fresh laundry of today. Everything can get better. Right now she's napping in the carrier on my chest while I get stuff done and I feel very blessed. But we absolutely need to keep each other in prayer and support each other. This really is the hardest thing I've ever done. But so worth it. Praying for you Tami!!

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    1. Oh yay! It's so amazing that first time they let you get some sleep! And I totally don't judge with how you sleep. You just do what works for you. For us, it was cosleeping until about 4 months, and we endured a few nights of crying but now she generally sleeps like a champ. Well, RIGHT now we're transitioning out of swaddling because she would flip to her tum while swaddled and couldn't flip back over and would go nuts, but while the first night was awful, last night and today and yesterday's naps have been fairly painless. Minimal crying and right to sleep, praise Jesus!

      Yay for getting stuff done and having fresh laundry! It really is the little things. And sister, nights are the WORST. What feels bearable in sleep deprivation at 3pm feels like inescapable death at 3am! But it really doesn't last forever. And while some kids sleep better or worse than others there is so much grace in the interim! Plus, she'll grow and be able to show you love and affection and that makes the awful moments so much more endurable, too! And they just keep getting cuter, which also helps :)

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