I’ve been where you are. I remember crying to my husband, “I am a victim of my own belief system. Having these kids, this life, raising them to love God … it’s too hard! I’m exhausted and I can’t do it all anymore.”
I was overwhelmed with the gravity of motherhood and all the demands it was placing on me.
My youngest child (of seven plus a foster son) is about to turn seventeen years old and become a senior in high school. My kids are good people with bright futures and I’m still standing, so I wanted to share some of the things that took me forever to learn; perhaps I can save you a little time and trouble.
Do what works for your family. We have been blessed to home-school, and have had kids in private school and public school. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for every family, and you must do what works for you and not for someone else. For our family, different school choices made sense at different times and even for different children. Prayerfully consider what is the best option for your family.
If you compare, you will despair. I make cookies for my kids every Friday. It’s my thing. It does not have to be your thing. Just because the lady down the street makes her own baby food and uses cloth diapers doesn’t mean you have to. It doesn’t mean that others should judge her either. We are happiest when we focus on our own families and choices without comparing ourselves, our kids, or our lifestyles to the rest of the world.
Save time whenever you can. If sandwiches for dinner helps you one day, just do it without guilt. Get an Instant Pot (yes, I just endorsed a product — it has saved me time and money), or utilize a slow cooker. Planning always saves time, so plan more and do less. If paper plates work better some nights than real ones, give yourself permission to use them.
Let things go. Not everything is important. Figure out what really matters to you and focus on that. Maybe the kids don’t need to be in so many sports. Perhaps the prayer group you belong to or teaching religion class has become just one more thing on your long list of obligations. Take stock on a regular basis of what your life looks like and what can be let go to make life more manageable. Let go of perfection. Houses are rarely clean, kids are not always straight-A students, and sometimes the baby is wearing her dress backward at church because a sweet older sibling tried to help dress her. Husbands don’t always stack the dishwasher the way we want it stacked (come on, you know it’s true), but if we let go of perfection it can open our eyes to the grace in the effort of others.
Pray, pray, and did I mention … pray?! When my kids were little, my husband made lifestyle choice for us. We prioritized faith above everything. He used to say that if we had gone to daily Mass together, prayed a family Rosary, and shared a meal, that our day was complete and anything else was just a bonus. Those things may not be practical for your family: find what works for you and incorporate it into your daily family life. When things get difficult (and you already know they do) hit your knees in prayer and give it all to the Author of the creation of your family! He knows exactly how to walk you through it.
Copyright 2018 Mary Lou Rosien