We were recently at a park with the girls and Mike and I noticed a set of parents pushing a double stroller and a single – I smiled at them thinking to myself what a full life they have right now. The mom stopped me on our way out to the car and asked what the age difference in our kids was, she thought they might all be 2 years apart, like hers, and she was so honest with me (a perfect stranger)– asking, when does this get easier?! It turns out her kiddos were 3.5, 2 and 1 month old – and I told her, just as honestly, that it won’t feel easier for a while but then one day she’ll realize that it just IS easier than it was the day before. I encouraged her to keep doing everything she was already doing and when there was a moment of quiet in the chaos to hang on to it and remember it when that chaos ramped back up because she was doing a great job.
This season of life, it is so difficult to navigate some days (and by some, I mean a lot) and can feel so lonely. I am a little bummed that we were at an out of town park or I totally would have asked her to meet me for coffee or back at the park but I hope that quick conversation helped to keep her going the next time she was feeling the heat of taking care of three little ones.
That encounter has been on my mind for the last week or so, mostly because despite being surrounded by a truly wonderful, supportive village - there are a lot of times that I still feel very alone and isolated. As hard as I try to make sure everyone (& that includes me) is respectful, following the rules, being kind and helpful there are just (so many) moments where that doesn’t happen & I find myself feeling so defeated and thinking “why can’t we all just get along.” Moments of the day where these three blue-eyed beauties are truly running right over me – and then doing it all over again.
I’ve found myself lately really beating myself up for the moments that don’t go well and that just isn’t fair at all - I need to remember the advise that I gave that mom at the park – to find a memory of peace and joy to hang on to as I pull everyone through a tantrum & then pat myself on the back (really quickly) for a job well done when the chaos subsides.
It can be hard though, we dwell on the things that don’t go as we hoped way too much instead of the things that went perfectly. In the middle of one of those especially chaotic moments between the hours of 4:30 & 8 I heard the lyrics “it won’t be like this for long” and just cried a little – because it won’t. It won’t be this type of toddler/preschool/early elementary school chaos for long – it will be replaced by something else, I am certain, but someday the chaos won’t be followed-up by dance parties and sweet toddler snuggles.
For now, I need to remember to practice grace (for me and in my parenting), to remember it’s okay to lean in on my village when I need it and that it really won’t be like this for long – these moment’s don’t last forever and whatever frustration is happening will be gone soon.
So, I’m reminding you too – give yourself grace, you are doing the best job & if today didn’t go the way you wanted, tomorrow is a new day. We’re in this together – raising up awesome little humans and also raising ourselves (& our spouses & friends) up as we continue to grow in life.
And if everyone could be as happy as Aleesia is when she gets her face painted like a cat, the world would be a much smilier place!