Motherhood is tough- there's no doubt that we all know it. The sleepless nights with a newborn. The teen years with cell phone rules and driving privileges and curfews. The crazy elementary age sleepovers.
But one particular phase of motherhood seems to be a bit tougher than the rest, at least for me. The other day, I posted:
"Toddlerhood - where words don't matter, because attitude says everything."
And we can get a little chuckle over that. Though I often wonder if that's what God thinks of me sometimes.
As mom to 7 kiddos now, I look back in my mid-twenties when I experienced raising my first toddler. And boy, was it rough. Though I grew up in a large family and had completed a college degree, neither temporary experiences nor education had prepared me in totality for being mom to a toddler.
Always busy, never sitting still, the sweet girl was into EVERYTHING. Cupboards and the pantry were placed on lockdown mode. Diapers were all but duct-taped to keep them on. You know the drill- so tired at the end of the day from chasing that you pull yourself together long enough to do one fell swoop of picking up the toddler trail of disaster from the day…and then crash. Only to wake up the next morning and start over again.
Sixteen years later, I'm a toddler mom for what feels like the umpteenth time. Several weeks ago my ipod was unwillingly baptized in the toilet by none other than…that sweet toddler. Last week I picked up an entire roll of toilet paper that had been unrolled into a happy little collage on the bathroom floor. I could go on and on with the stories of disaster, but I won't. Because you get it- I know you have plenty of your own.
If you are familiar with the Bible story of Joseph, you may recall the bad rap Jacob gets because he favored Joseph, especially with the coat of many colors. But several years ago when I read this story, I received a fresh thought from Genesis 37: 3:
"Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age."
Honestly I think Joseph's daddy had just come to a level of maturity where he appreciated his child more than he ever could before. In our toddler-speaking terms, he knew that ages and stages quickly come and go- they don't last forever. So even if they feel totally overwhelming in the middle of them, his love was bigger than the daily grind of caring for children.
If I could go back and talk to myself in the early years of motherhood, especially toddlerhood, this is what I would say:
Dear Tired Mama,
This stage doesn't last forever. It is only temporary. And because it is only temporary, finding and remembering the joy of the day is far more important than focusing on the craziness of the moment. Keep in mind that this precious child is learning everything from you and all that you do is mimicked in one way or another, either now or in the future. In the mean time, turn to God's Word every.single.time. you are overwhelmed, and you will receive the strength you need for the journey. I've been there- and you can do it!
Old Toddler Mom
Just know that because I would say this to my younger mom self, that doesn't mean I've perfected it by any means. But I did tuck away a super sweet memory this week when my toddler girl picked up her baby doll and kissed her on the head over and over, smiling at her- something her mama does with her.
Here's my list of 10 Bible Verses for When You Feel Overwhelmed- feel free to add your own, but I've got to run-
I just heard the fridge door and there's most likely a toddler about to help herself to lunch!
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