May 3, 2010

Encouragement for Young Moms...

...And a nod to the older ones wink wink

It seems like yesterday I had a baby on my hip and two toddlers clinging to my legs. The sleepless nights, temper tantrums (theirs, and sometimes my own), and the lack of ability to reason with them often left me feeling exhausted and outnumbered. Fortunately there was a handful of mature moms, whom I truly respected, that would gently remind me the days are long but the years are short. Some days were longer than others and on those days, I truly thought that someone was playing an evil trick by moving back the clocks in my house.

I find myself on the other side of toddler years and I'm here to tell you, we made it. All in one piece.
Well, I take that back. I left a few pieces of my sanity along the way, but I picked up a few pieces of flab and slapped them on my upper arms. So it all evens out.

Do you have the bewitching hour at your house? You know the time between the afternoon nap and dinner time. My kids always seemed to be very needy during that 2 hour span. Funny how it is the time of day that I was wearing down, needed to get dinner ready, and my patience was running thin. I tried doing dinner ahead of time so that I could devote more focused time to my little crew. But that often required thinking ahead, which didn't happen very often. Sometimes I would let their tv time be during the bewitching hour. Who could feel guilty when it's "preschool on tv"? Yeah right. But I bought it, hook, line, and sinker. I have a dear friend who fills that crazy time of day by going to the YMCA to work out. If I were doing it all over again, I think it might be the perfect solution. She gets her workout time in, the kids get a change of scenery. Timing is everything.

Speaking of timing, sometimes it is hard to look to the future when our today is so consuming.
This is where I want to encourage you. Right now when your life is full of no's, don't touch, come here, leave your sister alone, etc... I want to remind you that it will be worth it all. If you are consistent. So stick with it. Right now you are having to mold and shape your little one. Boundaries need to be kept tight.

As they get older, those boundaries can be loosened because they have a foundation and know what is expected of them. Not too long ago I took my children to a museum and it was truly relaxing. I didn't have to warn them about not touching things; they stayed with me; they were well behaved. Was it because I am a perfect mom or have perfect children? No.
I stuck to my guns when they were toddlers. I defined the expectation for their behavior. Was it tiring, exhausting? Yes. But just the other day, at the museum, I had an epiphany. It was all worth it. At the ages of 6, 9, and 10 I am reaping the benefit of consistency and it's so much fun! They know how to act appropriately when we are out and about. I'm not worn out at the end of the day because it is no longer a battle. By this point, they know what is expected.

So hang in there, young mom. You can do it. Decide today what you want in 5 years. Pray for wisdom in how to instill it. Be consistent. Pray for diligence. Be firm (with a gentle voice.)
Be encouraged. This mom thing is exhilarating!

Happy Monday!


O Mom said...

Perfect encouragement.
I had a revelation the other day too. My youngest is 6 and she was by far my worst tantrum thrower and it seemed like everytime I said no or reprimanded her, she had a meltdown.....well the other day when I told her no, she said ok and walked away like it was no big deal, and I just had to smile to myself, and thank the Lord, that we had made it and it was all worth it!!!

Bugs and Sunshine said...

I am so right there with you with the unplugged!

We have had a schedule/time overhaul at my house. I've been taking things off my plate to pursue more time with God and my family.

The days pass to quickly. Sweet post today.

Sandy said...

Great encouragement for other young moms! And you have done a great job in being consistent yet loving!

Selena said...

Thank you for the encouragement. I'm "there" right now with a 1,3 & 4 year old and just under six weeks until my due date with #4. I've had many, very hard, days lately. It seems like it never ends with the fighting, whining, complaining, disobediance and meal time battles. I need to get into the 'gentle voice' part of it more. I'm so tired and am frankly scared about how the day to day will be with all of this and a newborn and even less sleep. So thank you, again, for the encouragement. I needed it.

jason and jen said...

Thank you for the encouragement! I really needed to hear that! I hope you have a great week!!

Laura said...

Thank you so much for this great encouragement. I'm one of those that seek out the Y for help at least 2 afternoons a week. In fact I loved it so much I use to work there for a little while to get paid to play with my kids without other distractions.
As I watch my most difficult child finish his first year of kindergarten and my baby start to crawl, I realize my years are truly getting shorter and I don't have to wish my days to fly by (As much :)
My goal when all of mine are grown and out of the house is to seek out a young mom at 4 pm at least once a week and go play with her kids so she can make dinner in peace.

amber waves of grain said...

Thanks... I needed this. My first baby is due in October, and I'm excited, but at the same time, scared. I want to raise good, Godly children. I especially like "the days will be long but the years will be short."

AnNaRicHiE said...

I have a 3 year old makes me tired more than my 10 months old.
I guess I mentioned the word "NO" ,"stop it" ,and PLease take care of your sister ,hundred times hahahha.
Thanks for the encouragement.

frediee said...

Great Points Gretchen - I love it. A gentle voice definitely calms those stormy waters. We found that no TV during the week works wonders. How sad to think of kids waking up in the morning ready to be poured in to and that ole TV is on. (no such thing as just for background noise - they hear it all!) Sat mornings with some old time cartoons are sweet.
Thank you Gretchen :)

Kellie said...

Consistency is definitely the key. I, too, love that now we can go places and I am not on edge the whole time trying to make sure those expectations are held. It is a joy to watch the kids and be with them! Those days may have seemed very long... and actually were! BUT... they do go by so fast!

Suz said...

Does this mean that I am young? Hee Hee.
I will have to say that many days are hard but to me it is such a fun season. There is a joke in our family that K's real name is No No Buddy.

Kelli said...

Great encouragement! =) Thanks for sharing. Did you have a great week unplugged???

Sandy said...

Talked to someone Friday night that had read your blog & was "right in the middle of it", so it was such an encouragement to her. You just never know how far reaching these things are...