I DID say that this would be a 4-day series. I DIDN'T say 4 consecutive days. :)
Ingredient #2: The Age of My Children
I don't know about you, but I tend to look around at other people's lives and homes and become envious of those who seem to have it all together. I never could understand why some moms could "do it all" when I struggled just to get 3 meals a day on the table and make sure my children survived another 24 hours.
Years ago, a friend of mine helped me realize that other moms either 1) don't have as many children, 2) send their children to school, or 3) have older children.
I have found that for me, a huge ingredient in my success as a home-maker is the age of my children. My youngest will be two years old tomorrow. This is the longest I have ever gone without having another newborn in almost 12 years. SIX of my children are potty trained leaving only one child with regular diaper changes. He only has to eat 3 times a day instead of the 7-8 times a newborn needs to eat. I sleep through the night! My older children help keep an eye on the younger ones while I do things around the house that need to be done. I have an 8 year old that even VOLUNTEERS to change diapers!! My kids do chores. Yes, they even DO DISHES!!!
Do you see where I'm going with this?
When I had 5 children 6 and under, friends told me to just hang on, things would get easier. Friends with more children than I had, but older, said that they had it much easier than I because of all the help their children gave them. I never thought that day would come, but it has.
They were right!
My older children are like 2 extra sets of hands. It has come to the point where I hardly ever go anywhere with my youngest two without older children to help get them into and out of their car-seats. They help take in groceries and unload them. They hold the hands of younger siblings when we're out. They even bake desserts from time to time. The amount of time they save me has enabled me to recently get projects done that have been on the back burner for years. What a blessing!
The fact that I was able to clean all of my children's closets and dressers in one day and the attic the next is all because my children are at an age where they are becoming a bit more responsible (a BIT). When I cleaned out the attic the other night, I assigned dinner clean-up jobs to various children. That was 30 more minutes I could put toward the task I've been wanting to accomplish for over a year!
I am not talking slave-labor here. My children have more than enough time to goof off and play. They live a life that I can only compare to a perpetual carnival. However, they are a part of a family. They realize that if every one pitches in and helps, mom has more time to do fun things. We can get through our chores faster and on to more exciting activities by each person doing their part.
I am excited that we are now at a point in our lives that I am finally able to dust my house again on a regular basis. I am actually caught-up on laundry and ironing. I amazingly have time to relax in the afternoon, once in a while, and to do things like, well, blog.
If you are a mom of young children, I encourage you like my friends encouraged me. Just hold on. Your time will come. Do what you can, but don't stress if your house isn't 100% dust free, your laundry reaches the ceiling, and you have to order pizza...again.
Yes, you're going to see some young moms who can seemingly do it all, but you may not see the people they have behind the scenes who are helping out that you may not have access to. Or, you may not see the stress levels they are putting on themselves or their family. You don't have their whole picture. You only have yours. And God has it, too.
The same friend who helped me see other people's realities also shared with me this truth when I was struggling with those 5 children 6 and under: Pray. You may not have the time or energy to even read one chapter of your Bible, but you can pray anywhere. Even if it's "HELP, LORD!" He hears the prayers of the mommy. Read a verse here and there if you can. But, always talk to the Lord.
That advice helped me through a very difficult time in my life. A time when everything seemed to be a wreck. But, that seems forever ago. God walked me through. My children have gotten older. And, I'm feeling more successful.
But, wait. Looking back, I was successful then, as well. Success is doing what God wants you to do when He wants you to do it. It's not what the world, your friends, your mom or mother-in-law think you need to do. It's doing what HE wants. If you're doing that, you are a successful home-maker already. In a few years, you'll get to do the extras YOU want to do!
Just hold on.