What happened in the hardest season of my life
Today I am sharing a post from my archives. This is an extra special one to me because, well — it brings me back to such a challenging season of my life. A season that forever changed me. Anyways, I hope it encourages a few of you this week. XO, Monica
Moms of Little Ones…
If you’ve got one or more little person in your home, this one is for you. I’m talking babies, toddlers, preschool, and the like. These days are crazy to say the least.
I can say that the most challenging season of my life so far was when I was home with two and then three little ones. Now, if you’re a natural with babies and toddlers then bless your little heart. But me? Not. At. All. I’m the last one to volunteer in the church nursery. It’s not that I don’t love little ones–they’re just not my natural bend.
I can’t reason with babies and toddlers. And that makes me frustrated. There is an element of unpredictability when you’re raising little ones. And that can make me feel out-of-control.
So my years of having little ones worked me like nothing else ever had. I was lonely. I fought self-pity. I wanted so badly to control things that I couldn’t control. I was tired. I was anxious. I was all of the things that I didn’t want to be.
Granted, during those early years my husband was in Medical School and doing his Residency, so I couldn’t exactly count on him to relieve me much. In fact, I was one of the few weary moms whose husband’s might have actually been more tired than she was. (dang.)
Just before the second son was born we had also moved to Hawaii where I knew all of: nobody. So my life circumstances weren’t exactly setting me up for success.
But you wanna know what’s funny? Now…years later…I look back on those years as the richest of my life.
Gnarly, but rich.
Now you may not want to hear that right now, but just go with me for a minute, ok?
The years with littles made me need God like no other time. They forced this always-rushing-woman to slow down. They broke me, and they humbled me.
I have this memory of a particular Monday when I was home with two sick kids. A baby, and a toddler. I had been up and down all night with vomit in crib sheets and a fevered three-year old. Dave had been working for 38 hours at the hospital.
Here’s a little moment that I will never forget:
The house we lived in at the time had the kitchen and living room upstairs, and bedrooms downstairs. (We called it our upside down house. ) For the first year we couldn’t afford window treatments, so from my living room I looked out at our cul-de-sac, (and the cul-de-sac looked in at me.) On this particular Monday, I stood in the middle of the living room, holding one kid on each hip. I am a serious vomit-phobic, so I remember being totally anxious, worried both that a kid might puke in my arms, and even more that I might be breathing in the germs and catch the virus myself. (The idea of getting the stomach flu with no one to help sounded worse than death at the point.)
Now our neighborhood was always quiet, because there were no stay-at-home moms around. Everyone worked, and kids were at a sitters or in school. But as I stood there that particular morning, I began to notice cars going in and out of each of my neighbors driveways. I saw moms and kids, and grandmas unloading groceries out of their car. It took me a minute, but I finally concluded that it must be a holiday…One of those Hawaiian holidays that landed on a Monday that I hadn’t become familiar with yet: King Kamehameha Day or something.
So I stood and watched and held my boys and heard the clock in slow motion, “Tick tock, tick tock..”and tears dripped down my face. I was so lonely at that moment, I could hardly stand it. I was longing to be with these neighbors who I didn’t really know (other than hello at the mailbox.) I was really longing for my own mom or auntie or anyone to come unload groceries to my house. I was so exhausted and my house was a mess, and I was a mess, and all I could do was dread the very long day ahead. And try not to catch the flu.
I hoped that a neighbor would notice me up there and be concerned, but no one in that cul-de-sac even looked up. No one had any idea what was going on in my living room. Or my heart.
Looking back at that scene now, I am filled with so many emotions. I see the young mom that I was, standing there with kids on hips. And I love her. I want to encourage her. I want to tell her that one day–things will be a lot easier. A lot more fun. Those kids will get better and life will get better, and it’s all gonna be ok.
But here’s the thing: I still feel the raw weariness and loneliness of that morning, except now, it is rich. I prayed so much that day. I loved my boys so deeply that day. I grew more beautiful that day.
That day, though I never want to relive it–was absolutely crucial in the becoming of who I am today.
And I am so glad I lived it.
So I suppose what I am saying here to you Moms is that the days that are the hardest….Might end up being your most treasured memories. The boring days, and the monotonous days, and the weariness and the loneliness and the sleepless nights…Well, can I just promise you that they are building something beautiful in you?
Though you might be standing there with a kid on each hip, or a stack of bills, or a really lonely heart, I want to join with the voices of a million women who have gone before us–and (trying hard not to sound cliché) We all want to say: This too shall pass.
I wish I could lighten your load, moms of young ones. I wish I could peek in your window and do a cheer, or unload some groceries or bring you a latte. And I do hope that there is someone in your life who can do just that.
But you know what?
I also hope that sometimes there isn’t.
Because I love you, (and I seriously feel love for you as I type this,) I hope that sometimes this thing of being a mommy and a wife and all that does to you– stretches you to a point that you never dreamed possible. And when you are there, I hope that you call out to God, and fall on your knees, and find the strength in your guts to wipe your tears and hug your kids, and face another day.
Because this is the making of the woman who you’re becoming. And it will be so beautiful.
** If this blessed you, or you know a mom of little ones that it might encourage–please use the social media buttons below to share! 🙂 Mahalo.
PS I’m reading this one right now, I think you’ll like it: Hope for the Weary Mom: Let God Meet You in the Mess
Monica, misty eyes on this one. My kids aren’t old (10, 7, 4 all boys) but they aren’t babies or toddlers anymore (cue heart string tugs). I want to search my memory now and look at those challenging times as blessings that made me stronger and closer to God. I believe sometimes God puts us through challenging times to really bring us closer to Him, to learn to rely on Him and we get through the other end we can give Him praise and know God is good. Just such a heartwarming message. Too bad we can’t have that perspective in the moment! Thanks so much!
Thank you for the encouragement, Monica! I’ve been following you for a couple of years now and may have already read this post once a while back, but it was great to read again. I’m pregnant with our fifth child so it was encouraging to hear again that yes I can do this!
Mandy–wow, that is great about the fifth kid, but for sure a bit overwhelming I can imagine! Hang in there and keep up the great work. Thanks for commenting. Keep in touch as you go, ok? 🙂 Aloha-
Our boys are 10,9 and 6 now and they are great fun (most of the time!) but I remember when they were smallies and I felt like the worst mum ever. The house was only clean on a Sunday after my husband took them out for a Saturday afternoon treat. Showers were taken late at night when the boys were asleep and I slept with wet hair… not a great morning look!
Now I help with a number of their activities and I give extra help to the parents with the little ones because I remember how much I would have loved thatbhelp. It takes a village to raise a family and we all need to pitch in. Thanks so much for sharing your story…. honesty among mums is so important and offers so much hope.
Oh my goodness Monica! This is so precious. Thank you for sharing this!
So beautiful, Monica!
My “little ones” are now almost 19 and 15, but still every so often there are days – part of our lives as mothers and wives and daughters – that are hard and this is such encouragement and a reminder to think back on the hard days we’ve already come through and where we are now.
Love it, Monica! We’ll written. Gave me goosies. Love your friendship, especially as I re-enter the crazy days stage with a baby a decade after I went through it before.
Thank you, friend. Always glad to give you some goosies, hehe. 🙂 Praying for you while we are here (and wishing you were here with us.) Blessings for today! XO
That was very sweet and encouraging ! Just had my 5th 5 months ago and she had her first fever last week. It never gets easier, no matter what people say and we never turn into “mommy pros” but we DO remember that it is all temporary. Like “hey i went through this two or more years ago so it really DOES get easier!” thanks for the encouragement!
Oh, this is absolutely beautiful, Monica! I could see exactly what you went through. Been there, done that! Thank you so much for the reminder of cherishing those moments, and clinging on to God more! Hugs!
Im speaking at a womens event at my church in a few days and im using this article as pretty much the turning point for me in my early struggles as a mum. The first time i read this was probably over a year ago and i was struggling so much to have a sense of purpose or hope as a mum, and your words completely shifted my perspective and helped me realise how passionately He loves me, how intimately He is involved in my every day moments, and how great His purposes are for me AND that He is using every little part of my role as a mum not only for my kids but to make me more into who He has created me to be. Thank you for giving me so much hope and strength and perspective. I truly appreciate you!
I love this. I had tears in my eyes as I was reading. Being a mom of littles has simultaneously been the hardest and most wonderful thing I have ever done. I see how God is using my boys to shed light on the dark parts of my heart that are needing repair. Thank you for your loving encouragement and reminder that those extra ugly, lonely, broken days are the days when God can truly get to work on creating something beautiful from my ashes.
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Thank you for sharing your experience,it was encouragement for this tiresome Mom of 4!
so spot on <3 every word !! the quote that broke me was "its not the load that breaks us its the way we carry it"
Oh that IS good! I think I’ll be using it too…thank you! 🙂 Much aloha-
Thank you for your words. I read it the day you posted- well tried, but didn’t finish because the little one needed more attention. I have a second boy on the way and with how crazy life is, I finally got to finish your post (a week or more later). Thank you. I needed to hear this.
Thank you for this post! I have 2 boys, 5 and 2! This was amazing, and so encouraging. It made me cry because you hit a spot in my spirit that it seems (depending on the day) no one can understand. Thank you for blessing me with your words, love and encouragement. Your ministry is reaching women, and affecting them!! Blessings to you! And I can’t wait for your post to come!
Thank you for writing this. As soon as I read, “this too shall pass” tears welled up. Clearly, that was something I needed to hear.
Ps- Can I start using the word gnarly even though I live in the Midwest? It’s kind of awesome.
Oh thank you Demoree! So glad that hit the spot today, and absolutely yes– you are gnarly approved! 🙂 much aloha and thank you for commenting! XO
Tears are quietly streaming down my face, as I read your encouraging words while my baby sleeps on my chest. I know and live these feelings many days, especially the lonely feeling. This season of having two kids under two is refining me like gold in a fire. Never have I been closer or clinging more fiercely to God. Thank you for writing this post.
Monica, you have once again blessed me beyond belief. I had tears as I read this today, your story is so much the same as mine and many others. I really felt the love flowing through this post. =) Thank you.
Oh man, did I need to hear this today! I just spent all night at Urgent Care with my 3 year old and still had to get up for work this morning. These trying times sure do make us lean on God more and trust that He will get us through…I know this is just the season that I’m in and it will pass, but it does seem to be dragging on some days:)
Thanks for the encouraging words!
This is beautiful at my worst moments and days my mentor always asks, “did you pray?” I loved hearing your experience – you are amazing!
www. Little Wild Heart .com
Thank you for this post…it was SO NEEDED! I have a 15 month old daughter & a 3 year old son who STILL refuses to potty in the toilet, but will gladly do all his business on the floors. That, coupled with a teething toddler (& being raw from breastfeeding) has led to a lot of days without showers, sleepless nights & forgetting to cook my husband dinner when he gets home from work Exhausted, frustrated to the point of tears, your post helped me so much today! God really does meet me in moments like this, and when someone like you reminds me how to take a breath and notice Him in the moments…I actually begin to FEEL Him loving my children through me. You are such a blessing, Monica. Thank you for your heart!
This did my heart so much good this morning as I’m procrastinating starting my morning getting out of the house with my newborn and four year old to go to my job teaching 16 Pre-K students (who have come down with a serious case of Spring Fever). God made me for the little ones, and I love them and their never-ending energy. But there’s not enough sleep to go around this week, and I have fallen to my knees in tears and prayers more than once in the past few days. Your post helps. A LOT. Thank you.
Thank you for this post. It came at the most perfect time. We’re on our billionth round of sleep training with my 18 month old and he was going on 2.5 hours of shrieking at the top of his lungs, in the wee hours of the morning when I read this. I am a first time mom with no immediate support system nearby. Most days I can’t imagine another child and the possibility of dealing with sleep issues all over again. In the thick of the sleep deprivation and other parenting hardships, beauty is the last thing I see. But thank you for
this reminder; that when I look back, I’ll see the sum of all these difficult moments and it’ll truly be a beautiful picture of growth of the woman I’ve become, and the man I’ll see one day in my little boy.
Love from Virginia Beach,
Wow!! I never thought I’d hear another mom share my story(or something very similar)!
I’ll admit….I’m still lonely & spend my days alone, but I have those memories of moments from 10 years ago, that turned me into the beautiful mess I am today. They prepared me for worse things to come, but because I broke back then, I found a tighter relationship with God, who carries me through each & every challenge I face now. I’m grateful & know I’m blessed to have someone supporting me no matter what. He used some memorable moments with my kids to teach me faith & trust. To be honest….the teen years are teaching me different lessons & present their own challenges(ha ha), but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am a “seasoned” woman & know I would be empty if I didn’t have all of “this”. <3