Growing Pains

A friend just described the mothering as incessant and that is just the word I’ve been living the last couple weeks. The kids usually alternate their naps perfectly. A combination of houseguests and, now, training them to share a bedroom at night, has kept me on duty around the clock enough to rival having a newborn. I am working hard and fast from before 6:00 a.m. to after 10:00 p.m. Today a couple hours during various nap times got through a hundred emails and a couple more hours after bed time got through at least as many dishes and the list of things to do is barely dented and the floor still hasn’t been swept in at least two weeks.

I’m just going with the flow, though, and contemplating what it means to train and to build strength. My kids are growing and I’m keenly aware that I am growing too. The alternative would be to feel imposed upon by all their growth. I know because that’s how I felt for a couple weeks at the beginning of this year. There were days and days in a row where my fuse had burnt to its end leaving me downright whiny before 5:00 p.m., which as every mother knows is way too early.

My Jacob is not a baby anymore and I am not allowed to box him into my limits like a maid who says “I don’t do windows.” I’d like to say I don’t do 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. After all, that’s been sacred, blissful nap time since he was 7 months old. But now he sleeps less than half that time because he’s growing up and his needs are different. Now he needs stacks and stacks of stories and time to run around outside and endless songs with hand motions. So it’s time for me to get with the program and accomodate him.

I’m feeling so grateful that God’s given me the strength these last days to do the incessant mothering 24/7. I am hazy and loopy from sleep deprivation and I’m having to sneak 5-minute showers into the strangest moments of my day, but I feel like I am coping and even staying present and engaged for my kids and that is enough for me for now.

I would’ve panicked a year ago at the thought of keeping up with today’s pace. But it turns out I’m here, it’s now, and it’s working OK. After all, no matter how hard-core I think I am about afternoon house-wide quiet time, one of these days that quiet time is going to be spent teaching my kids to read. It’s not going to get any easier any time soon and I’m just glad it grows gradually. (Wednesday Grace and all that…)

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