Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Candor: Parenting

One of the reasons that I am so sincere on the blog is that I want to help younger ladies coming along after me - my daughters included. (Rebecca is my number one fan, she reads every post over and over again!) When Paul and I first married we thought we were the only newlyweds who had arguments and wanted to pull our hair out. And, when I first had Rebecca, I thought I was the only mommy in the world who wanted to run away just about daily. (I might be exaggerating  a little... my brain was so foggy back then from all her crying spells and lack of sleep).

There is a need among Christians for authenticity and sharing of struggles. Maybe the blog is not the best place for it, but it seems to be my best outlet at present. I am not saying that we should all get together and whine about our problems - far from it. But, how can older moms encourage me if they do not know my true struggles? And, how can I encourage younger moms, unless I am willing to admit some of my weakness and assume that they are facing some similar thoughts/feelings?

My candor today is on the topic of parenting many little wee ones. (I will be using a lot of sarcasm and tongue in cheek honesty.) I thought having two children under age two was hard. I thought having three children age three and under was very difficult. I thought having four children five and under was a nightmare. And, when we got to the point that we had five children under the age of seven - well, let's just say I thought I needed my head examined. Now, my oldest is 8, and the baby is 9 months old.

I had no trouble keeping Rebecca alive and well. She was under constant adult supervision. And, adding Nelson to the family was not too much trouble. Rebecca was a good little helper. She did not try to kill her brother. BUT, add Lydia to the mix and you have trouble! I am still not sure how we kept her alive with Nelson always trying to "help" feed her and care for her. I would have to hold my pee till Nelson's nap time just to keep poor Lydia alive. I think Nelson meant well. He was more likely to snuggle her to death than anything else.Then, we had Joshua. By this point the older two were old enough to be playing with crayons, but not always putting them away. I often reflect on what a miracle it is that Joshua did not choke on some broken crayon! Now, we have Baby Josiah. And, I mean to tell you that it is HARD work being a momma to a tribe of little people.

I have five little people making messes: spilling cups at EVERY meal, tearing up paper and crayons every time I leave the room, trying to help cook, leaving out sewing scraps, etc. Five mess makers... and only one competent mess cleaner. Nelson walks by messes and it does not phase him a bit. He can walk over a whole box of crayons dumped out, with Josiah putting one in his mouth and it does not occur to him that this is a problem. Rebecca and Lydia are a little more motherly. At least they take that one crayon out of baby's mouth... even if they do leave him sitting in a pile of 23 other broken crayons...

I just keep thinking that this mothering thing is based on a curve. Having one baby was easy enough to keep alive and well (in retrospect). And, surely when the oldest get a little older it will be easier to keep the littlest ones alive - I hope! But, right now, I am exhausted. I don't wish the time away. I don't want to fast forward. Don't scold me about how fast the time goes. All I really want is a little more sleep! Gone are the days that you can nap two hours when the one or two babies napped.

What I really want is a baby sitter, so that I can nap a pat on the back that my children have all survived infancy with older siblings always trying to kill them.

In all honesty, without the sarcasm - I know that each of my children is a blessing, a gift. I am not complaining about having so many children. I love them and I want them. But, I will admit that I have some hard days... and some hard nights! I never have enough hours in the day. I never have enough patience. I never have enough sleep. But, by the Grace of God, we will all look back and remember the joys of these years rather than the crayons on the floor!


Bean said...

Here is a PAT ON THE BACK :)

It is hard work, the laundry never ends, everyone always wants something to eat/drink, diapers need changed, tears need wiped, stories read, and it is 24/7 for years and years. But there are moments and glimpses of who these precious ones will be when they grow up, moments of profound love, moments when you are so proud of them that your heart feels that it might burst. Moments of laughter, joy, hugs and kisses, being a parent is something that you cannot explain to a person who isn't.
And, one day they grow up, and marry, and suddenly a beautiful little one is calling you Mammaw, and once more your heart could burst with joy.
Parenting is one the hardest jobs, and the rewards are not always apparent when you are cleaning up puke at 3 in the morning, or scrubbing crayon off of the wall, but once they are grown, you see the fruits of your labor, and it is good!

Hang in there Bethany, you have a lovely family, and they are all doing what children do, driving you crazy, and that is why God makes them so cute so we don't kill them ;)

Kimberly said...

Time is a funny thing- back when I was busy growin' babies; I thought the diapers, messes, for ever pile of toys on the floor and the laundry would never end... It was like I woke up one morning and all that was gone! Poof!
Now between myself, Nicole and Hubby we just communicate lots on who needs to be where and either make sure an adult is home with the youngers or getting them where they need to be. Our boys certainly are old enough to stay at home alone, out of courtesy we try not to leave them home alone often.
This is a nice post.

Bethany W. in mid-MO said...

Laugh out loud! Thanks for the insight.

I like that profile pic!


Holly said...

Thank You I needed this post :) It has put a smile on my face....I have 4 boys all under 8yrs old...matter of fact they are 8,7,3,2 yrs old...Life is hard at times but I would not trade it for the world....God has blessed me...

Bethany W. in mid-MO said...


Glad you enjoyed it. Sounds like you have a busy home! Four boys under 8... I'm thinkin' that you know the people at the ER on a first name basis. And, that there are always broken crayons on your floors too.

Thanks for your comment,

Tan said...

I take my hat off to you! I only have 1 and its all gone too fast. I should have had another and I think that would have just about done me! I admire your attitude!
Tania in Australia

Mama Hen said...

Okay Bethany, I am testing this to see if it will work.

I loved this post by the way.

Mama Hen said...

It worked! Scratching my head.

Ruby said...

Ah, that elusive luxury...sleep. I read once that you don't ever catch up all those years of lost sleep and at the stage of life my family is at, I have to say, I think it's true! Not to discourage, but to empathize. I am still tired out and don't have enough time or energy for all I need to do!
Keep your eye on the finish line, Bethany!

Bethany W. in mid-MO said...

You might think I am joking, but I think that in some ways having "just one" was harder than having a handful. I don't allow women to say to me that they have "only" one or two. One is a lot of work!

Mama Hen,
Glad you were able to comment today!