The first few years of being a mother weren’t really that difficult for me. My first born was the easiest baby on the planet. A few years later I had my first son, who brought more challenges than I would’ve expected. The next three pregnancies kept me in survival mode for a few years. I got pregnant back to back to back and my goal was just to make it through the day and keep the kids fed. In 4 years I went from being a mother of two, to being a mother of five.
Now that it’s been 2 years since I’ve had my last baby, a new season of motherhood is unfolding for me. I’m in a place where my children can have more of me and I can function on a normal level. I’m not fatigued, I’m not hormonal, and I have no restrictions.
But the challenges have been great. Though they aren’t as taxing physically or emotionally, I am easing into being more of a full time mother.
Well, weren’t you a full time mother before?
Yes, I have always been the sole caretaker of my children, but I wasn’t 100% myself much of the time. I gave 100% of what I had to give, but I was probably operating at about 50%.
So now, being 100% myself again, motherhood is taking on a new season of growth for me and training in my children. We are no longer living in survival mode but are taking the steps to live intentionally and with purpose. The challenge is that I feel like a new mother in a lot of ways. It’s like I suddenly have 5 children that I need to raise rather than manage!
How does this look?
A shift in meal time.
Maybe that seems strange, but being in survival mode for so long meant that most meals were quick and more likely processed then whole and healthy (which take more time and energy to prepare). To help me shift our meal times, I’ve implemented a Meal Time Challenge on my blog. It is helping me to make goals each week to turn our once “quick meals with no mom engagement” to a memorable time around the table together, sharing in life.
Tightening up free time
My children were given lots of free time since I was so tired from pregnancies. I’ve come to learn just how this really isn’t the best thing for them. I once heard a saying said, “Too much free time is the devil’s playground.” When there is little direction involved in what our children are doing, it’s a temptation for trouble. In addition, it has created a lot more sibling rivalry then I’ve ever seen out of my children. Which brings me to my next change:
Teaching them to love one another
There is a major lack of respect for each other growing because I wasn’t involved enough to teach lessons, but would just solve the issues for them. (Which didn’t work by the way, because minutes later they were right back at it again). They simply need to learn what it means to love and honor one another.
These are a few of the things that I just have not been active in pursuing and now they are coming to a head. Pregnancy is a beautiful thing, but it can really take it out of you for the rest of your family. It’s a good place to allow God to fill you and be your strength.
The Next Season
It’s important for us to realize that seasons come and go and we must be prepared to go when God calls.
So as we live and grow in this season, He is also preparing us for our upcoming adoption from Africa. You can read more about that here.
Right now, I don’t know exactly how that will look. I know it will be different than having and raising a traditional family. I know it will be more challenging and require more sacrifice. But I also know that God’s grace will not leave me and He is my ever-present help. He is preparing and equipping me for this new season.
I encourage you, mothers, to think about the season you’re in. To embrace it, yet realize, it’s not a season that will be around indefinitely. What is God preparing you for next?
Christin has a heart to encourage and equip women in aspects of discipleship, marriage, mothering, writing, blogging, and community. She sees the body of Christ as an important community of encouragement and discipleship and works to foster that around the web. Her biggest ministry is to her family and she knows how beautiful, hard, overwhelming, and exhausting mothering can be. Her passion is to encourage mothers who need a challenge or a lift (or both). She has been married 11 years and has 5 children ranging in age from 10 down to 2.
You can find her encouraging moms at her blog Joyful Mothering, helping women in blogging at Joyful Living Media, and chatting it up on Twitter as @ChristinWrites.