After reading an article this morning of a mom who, having been asked “How do you do it?!” reminded us all that we’re busy, our plates are full at whatever stage we’re at, it reminded me of days past. I get asked constantly how I do what I do. How I get it all done. The short answer is… I don’t! I get the most important things on any given day done. Most of the time. The things that shout the loudest get attention, and most everything else waits for another day. But… I remember the days with just two children.
Back when Eden was little… Liberty and Eden were 19 months apart. Liberty, a difficult baby with reflux issues, was a pretty easy toddler. We had our battles, but looking back, they weren’t that bad. And then Eden was born.
It wasn’t that Eden was naughty. She was just busy. So, so busy. She ran from one thing to the next, made one mess after another, and holding still was not something she understood until well past the age of three. It was a season of life that I felt like I had no clue what I was doing. With former dreams of having a large family of four children mocking me, I felt done with two. I couldn’t handle much more.
Finally, I decided I might live if we had another baby. When Eden was 28 months old, Sterling was born. Sterling was the easiest baby I’ve had before or since, and life leveled out into a new, busy, but manageable normal. And then. I found out I was pregnant with Ruby. She and Sterling are 15 months apart, and life fell into a new “I’m just living in the moment, because if I think about later on today, I’ll cry” kind of managing. Sterling wasn’t walking yet, Ruby just wanted to nurse day and night, and about then is when Liberty was getting old enough I needed to start schooling her. My only saving grace I could see at this point was Blaine working second shift, leaving me with my mornings “off” if I so chose to grocery shop alone.
Life. Was. Hard. Hard enough I don’t want to go back there. It’s exhausting to think about. But, time passed and the children grew and life slowly got easier again. Easy enough I wanted another baby. And so, just after Ruby’s second birthday, Charlotte was born. An easy baby, life was stay-at-home survival not so much because life was difficult, but I was ridiculously outnumbered with five children age seven and younger.
I thought I was starting to regain my sanity when I found out Pierce was on his way when Charlotte was three months old. At that point, I just had to laugh. In an obvious “God’s in control” moment, it was laugh or cry. Since I’m forever telling my overly emotional two year old that crying won’t make her feel better, I chose not to be hypocritical and laughed instead. And you know what? It was okay. Pierce was the most difficult baby I’ve had yet, clingy and needy and never quite satisfied with the amount of time I gave solely to him. But we survived. My house survived. The girls got older, helped more, we found new routines and as Pierce gets older, he’s starting to understand I have other children besides him. Any minute now he’ll decide to like it – but I’m not holding my breath on that one.
Now, as we anticipate the birth of another baby come spring, I have no idea how we’ll do it. Day by day, I find the grace provided that I need. If you had told me I’d be here, at this place, when Eden was toddling around dumping powdered sugar and laundry soap and dry spaghetti faster than I could clean it up, I wouldn’t have believed you. I’d have been the mom wondering how someone else does it. And I probably would have cried.
But. There’s no greater joy. God provides the grace and strength needed, when it’s needed. Often, not a moment before. So here I walk, day by day, doing the next thing. I don’t have to think about next month, next week, or even tomorrow. I just have to do the next thing. By the grace of God, that’s all I’m called to do. And it’s good. So, so good.