Oh dear mom. I remember the days when I had 3 kids under 3. I currently have five under the age of six and boy, do I know the struggle is real!
Friends, I have experienced homeschooling a high schooler, a middle schooler and two early elementary kids, while juggling the demands of a preschooler, toddler and a newborn. Let me be honest with you, this can be a very dark time.
With all of the joys that children bring (and there are many of them) there is also a real struggle sometimes to find joy in the mundane. I remember people telling me that it’s just a season and they will grow up before you know it. When they told me that, I thought, “You are absolutely crazy! Do you want to come live with me every day until they do because I could really use your help!”
Looking back on that time now, I can honestly say, those people were right. On the other side, you do look back and think “Wow! That time when they were babies went by really fast.”
As a fellow mother weathering the 3 under 3 storm, here are five things that help me keep my sanity:
- Establish a routine. This is invaluable. Kids thrive on a routine. When they know what is coming next and what is expected, it helps your day run so much smoother.
- Evening outings alone When my kids were little (and still to this day), I go grocery shopping alone in the evening once a week. I don’t even care that it’s grocery shopping – it’s alone time! It’s quiet! There have also been seasons where I take an evening and go to the library to plan my week, get some quiet time and pray.
- Playdates with mommy friends During this stage, having community with other moms is so important. Living in isolation is never a good thing. Find, or start, a playgroup. Build this into your schedule and figure out what time works best for you. What times are your kids the happiest and you’re not disrupting naps. Even having a friend over for an hour can be refreshing. Keep it super simple.
- Date swap with friends You watch their kids, they watch your kids. Take the time to reconnect with your spouse. It’s a great way to serve a friend that might be in the same boat that you are.
- Have a “date night in” with your hubby The nice thing about having little kids is they go to bed relatively early (if you have a routine), which makes it possible to spend an evening with hubby. So, roll out the gourmet mac and cheese for the kids’ dinner and save the lobster and steak for after their bedtime.
Finally, more than anything, know that you are not alone. This is, without a doubt, a difficult season. It is taxing emotionally and physically. It can be a lonely time where you feel isolated from the outside world. But, remember, God’s grace is sufficient and His strength is made perfect in our weakness.
It’s my prayer that we may be reminded that God has placed these little hearts into our care. And that He alone can give us the power to raise these children up in Him.
Children are a sanctifying process. God uses our children to teach us so much. He uses their crazy to get us to a point where we fully rely on Him each and every day.
It’s ok to find ways to alleviate some of the stress but, at the end of the day, enjoy the moments because, as hard as it may be to believe, you’ll miss them when they are older. Cherish the small moment, the spilt milk, the crazy loud house, the piled high laundry, and the messy fingers marking up your walls – these are all great reminders that you have house full of blessings!
Pray for strength and peace to go on mothering well!