The Joyful Mundane of the Little Years

I’ve always wanted to be a mom. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve imagined having lots of kids. I even had a stroller w/ twin baby dolls that I got as a gift one year.  I remember pretending to have them run up to me when I *came home from work* saying “Mommy!! You’re home!” 

I’d scoop the dolls up and give them hugs and kisses after being away from them for a full day of pretend work. I loved it. I felt so loved and needed. I couldn’t wait to have my own kids to love me like that someday. (I actually rediscovered this stroller and dolls at my parents’ house recently and now my kiddos have it to play with).

The last 25ish years truly flew by since those days I imagined being a mom. But here I am…a mom, with two kids actually. Two kids ages two and under. My toddler does run to me when I get home from work saying “Mama!!” while my baby gives me the biggest grin and motions her arms up for me to pick her up. It’s the sweetest thing and really does make me feel loved.

Getting to this point in motherhood definitely wasn’t an easy route, but after having our first son, I knew we would eventually have more kids…someday. Or so I thought. 

It was Sunday. Easter Sunday. Just one month after the world had shut down due to COVID. Instead of traveling like we normally do for holidays, we were just at home – my husband, 8 month old, and I. We watched Easter service online and I was planning to make us a nice fried chicken meal but the thought of raw chicken sizzling in oil made me want to vomit. That was alarming since I love me some home cooked food. So, just to be sure, I peed on the stick and golly gee, we got two pink lines, once again. What?? I could not believe it. No joke, my husband was literally googling “chance of false positive pregnancy test”. 

Now if you’re reading this and you’re thinking, “ugh, here’s another story about how this girl just got pregnant so easily and I’m struggling over here” or “I don’t want to hear about this, this isn’t going to be helpful…” I hear you. I see you. Hear me out, please. This isn’t a story to boast or discourage, but hopefully one of hope, solidarity, and ultimately — joy. We too, had a somewhat rocky road to having children. An ectopic pregnancy and months of waiting led us to our first baby boy. We were definitely shocked to find ourselves pregnant once again so quickly. 

Once it settled in that we were indeed pregnant, with a baby girl actually, we started to get excited. We had friends that had kids close together and they ensured us that yes, even though it was hard, it was so much fun and that the two of them would be the best of friends. Okay okay, we can do this.

Fast forward a few months. Our baby girl surprised us by coming a few weeks early. All was good, everyone was healthy – for the most part. 

One of the first pictures we have of these two together. An almost 16 month old and a 3 day old 🙂 

Unfortunately, here we began a scary period of a possible cancer diagnosis, another season of severe postpartum depression and anxiety, and two heart surgeries. (Yea, it was a lot. Stay tuned for future blog posts). 

Turns out, I didn’t have cancer. I got through the depression. I stopped having intrusive/anxious thoughts regarding my kids and my health. I healed physically from the surgeries. I was finally able to care for my two kids on my own, without the help of my mom, mother-in-law, or husband. I wish I could tell you that this all got better overnight, but it definitely wasn’t immediate. Healing took time. Time working through a whole lot of things with a counselor, psychiatrist, and many other medical specialists. 

So, here I am now. Two kids – a newly turned 2 year old and a 10 month old. 

This. Life. Is. Busy. I cannot tell you how many times people have told me, “You better enjoy it now, they’re not always going to be this little.” I just nod and smile and try to hide the spit up on the shoulder of my shirt. 

I know I need to enjoy it, I really do. I know that they will be grown up in the blink of an eye. But how can I enjoy it when I constantly feel touched out and constantly needed? I’ve discovered over the last few years that I need alone time to recharge and you’re hardly alone when you’re a mom. Sometimes you can’t even go to the bathroom alone – you know what I mean, mamas. 

Motherhood is more than a full time job (that doesn’t include you moms who work outside the home along with being a mom). Breaks are far and few in between. I hear it all the time – *self-care* is important, but when am I supposed to do that when my baby is crying for “ah mama” most of the day? I already try to get things done during naptime or after bedtime, so when am I supposed to find time for myself? And what if you’re a single mom with limited help around you? That’s also incredibly difficult.  

I absolutely love and adore these kids of ours. These ages are so much fun and they bring so much joy to my life with their sweet giggles and cozy snuggles. But dang, it’s HARD. No one told that little girl with those baby dolls about the toddler that cries if you don’t let him screw on the lid on his milk cup by himself (I DO IT!). They don’t tell you about the baby who needs to constantly be held to prevent a red-faced snotty-nosed cry fest. Or the toddler who purposely pushes over his baby sister who is newly sitting up by herself. 

No one tells you that your husband will be a high school coach which leaves you solo parenting for 3 nights in a row and all day on Saturday. And who knew you’d be spending $100 every time you go to Costco, merely to restock on diapers (in two sizes) and wipes.

And they definitely don’t tell you how messy motherhood can be. The crumbs on the floor, the spilled coffee (you guessed it, by the toddler), the piles of dirty AND clean laundry that you can never get caught up on, the sink full of bottles and sippy cups. The spit-up and vomit and poop (you know it’s true). The random rocks and dirt you find everywhere (seriously, so many rocks). 

I didn’t know that it would be this way. Everyone tells you that being a mom is absolutely wonderful and amazing and it’s the best years of your life so you better enjoy it. Don’t get me wrong, it is. But it’s also really hard. And it’s hard in every season. Whether you have two young kiddos like I do, you just lost your baby to a miscarriage, you have 3-4+ kiddos of various ages,  you have a teenager or two, or you just sent your last baby off to college, we all have challenges in motherhood. 

Challenges in motherhood are difficult no matter what they look like and no matter the stage we are in. Try not to get caught up in the cute outfits, smiling faces, and pumpkin patch pictures you see on Instagram. Beneath those cutesy pictures is a mom who argued with her toddler for 20 minutes on whether he could wear his rain boots with no socks even though it isn’t raining (I’ve stopped fighting him on this one, by the way). 

I’m learning to say “yes” more in this motherhood journey, including to these boots.

I was recently listening to a podcast by some of my favorite moms – Laura Wifler and Emily Jensen from the ministry called Risen Motherhood. One thing they said really caught my attention and has stuck with me. Laura says, “When you are scrubbing dishes, you are living out the redemption story: how Christ’s work on the cross has made you clean as you make these dishes clean.” 

It may sound far-fetched, but it’s so true. We may not be necessarily thinking about doing God’s work everytime we wipe up spilled milk, yes I know. Laura in this podcast also says, God gives us the task to care for His creation – He told us that all the way back in Genesis. Okay, so we’re not taking care of big ole creatures and beautiful gardens, but these dirty dishes, laundry, and little humans are a job in itself. 

And that’s just it. He calls us to take care of our kids and our homes in whatever season we are in. It may seem like mundane work – and it is – but it is so much more than that. We can have joy in all of this seemingly monotonous work because God has created us and put us in this season of motherhood for specific reasons. He is the ultimate organizer of His creation and our lives and He calls us to do the same with our lives, our work, and our families. (Laura Wifler & Emily Jensen, Risen Motherhood Podcast, Episode 7, 2017). 

Woh. Despite all the crumbs, dirt, rocks, spit-up, and poop you encounter in motherhood, Jesus has faced even worse in our sins. And he took all that muck to the cross. To DIE for us and to SAVE us. So as we’re cleaning up yet another mess or picking up toys for the umpeenth time, we can think of Christ and how he graciously washes our slates clean day after day so that we can LIVE in His love. Especially as mothers. What a gift He’s given us to live out his perfect love in our daily lives with our husbands, kids, friends, coworkers, and everyone we come into contact with. 

Never realized I’d be paying attention to what carts have two seats in the front instead of just one (Costco and Aldi for the win!)

Practical Tips to *Thriving* (not just surviving) Motherhood

(I fully understand that I’m a mere 2 years in, so I have a lot of learning to do. But these are some things I’ve found to be helpful in the first few years of motherhood)

  • Community: 
    • Surround yourself with other moms to support you, pray for you, and encourage you. It is helpful if these moms are going through the same season of motherhood as you, but it’s also beneficial to have mom friends who’ve already gone through the seasons you’re about to go through or will eventually go through. From dropping a nap, to sickness and cold remedies, constipation, and starting school, walking through motherhood with other moms alongside you can be so uplifting. And call your own mom. She raised you and you turned out to be pretty great. 🙂 
  • Self-Care 
    • Take. Those. Breaks. It’s so important to take time to be YOU. Not just Judah and Ava’s mom. Find things that bring you joy outside of being a mom and prioritize time to do them. Ask your husband to spend a few hours with the kids, hire a babysitter, ask a friend to watch them for a bit. Whatever you have to do. Don’t forget that you are you before you are this child’s mother. You will be a better wife, mom, and human if you fill your own cup before you try to fill others’. 
  • Marriage
    • Spend time with just your husband, no kids. Go on dates, if you can. Prioritize your marriage so that you can demonstrate to your kids what a healthy relationship between a man and a woman looks like. Talk about parenting tactics, goals, and make sure you’re on the same page. You’re a team when it comes to raising your kids.
  • Prioritize your relationship with God
    • Be in the Word. Read scripture. Pray with your kids. Talk with God. God knows your heart and He desires to lead you along this journey of motherhood. I’m 100% guilty for getting frustrated with the mundane tasks of daily life. However, when we take a moment in the morning to set our eyes upon the Lord, everyone’s day goes a little better. 

You’re doing an amazing job, mama. Keep it up 🙂

Helpful Links

RM Ep. 07: Dirt, Dishes, & Diapers: Coping with the Never Ending Mess

The Shirt That Just Didn’t Quite Fit

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