Thursday, December 18, 2008

It's true what they say..."this too shall pass"

I was talking on the phone yesterday with a good friend of mine. She has 3 kids, including a 5-month old baby. We were talking about how difficult it is to juggle the kids, keep the house clean, stay organized...all the things that are expected of us as mothers. She's feeling overwhelmed, scattered, disorganized...we've all been there. She asked me how I manage with 4 kids and I didn't know what to say. We all just do the best we can do, praying that it's enough to keep us going. I wished so much that I could reach through the phone and give her a big hug. My heart ached as I listened to her describe her life and how overwhelming it is right now, mostly because I understood it wholeheartedly. As we ended our conversation, I said "remember....this too shall pass".

I never used to believe that saying. It's hard to imagine the light at the end of the tunnel when you're in the midst of the struggle. I heard that phrase from experienced mothers the most when Cole and Bella were newborns and I quickly realized I was in over my head as a first-time mother to twins. At that time, I couldn't imagine things ever getting better....or easier, for that matter. But eventually, as time went on, things did become somewhat easier. Not easier in the sense that parenting was a breeze all of a sudden but easier in the sense that I was now more confident in my mothering skills. There came a time where one of them would cry and I would know exactly what they needed. I was finally starting to understand what everyone meant by "this too shall pass".

Then came Garrett and Landon and my whole world was thrown upside down all over again. Just as I did when I was pregnant with Cole and Bella, I had a perception of what it would be like when Garrett and Landon entered the world and became part of our family. Then reality hit....and it hit me hard....right smack in the face. There were times when I would have it out with God...."I love each of my children and I'm so happy that You have blessed us but couldn't You have just sent us one child at a time, instead of in pairs?"

In an old journal I used to keep, at the time, I wrote this:

"I feel ashamed to admit that I've been feeling very depressed and overwhelmed with everything in my life right now. I guess I had forgotten that around month 4 the babies are more aware of their surroundings and they don't need as much sleep anymore....lots of new milestones are being met yet they're frustrated still by the many things they cannot do. We've definitely hit that stage and there are times where I feel like I'm gonna drop to the ground in complete exhaustion. From sun-up to sun-down, it's go-go-go.....and then of course getting up 1-2 times each night with either one or both babies or Cole or Bella had started taking its toll on for the last few days I've been feeling depressed and I've been crying a lot over little tiny things....yesterday, I cried while switching the clothes from the washer to the dryer, just knowing that when it's all dry I'll have to find time to fold it and put it away....and this was after I had finally just folded and put away 3 other loads of laundry. Last night, after all the kids were asleep, I took one look at the family room and the kitchen, which I had already cleaned 3 times earlier in the day, and saw the huge mess and broke down into tears....I feel like I can't keep up and that's just on the good days. There are days where I say "screw this" and let the house fall to pieces and I don't sweat the mess...but then there are days where my head is so fuzzy that I just want peace and calmness and it's hard to get that when the house is completely messy and disorganized, after I've already cleaned it 3 times earlier that day."

If someone had said "this too shall pass" to me at that time, I might have laughed. I might have cried. But God knows, I wouldn't have found any comfort in hearing that little phrase. I had felt like I was just coming up for air and then sucked back under the water again, over and over. When was it supposed to pass? Was it ever going to get better? Easier?

At this point in time, I understand it completely. When you're in the trenches and you feel like you'll never see your way out, believe it or not, you will. It won't happen in the blink of an eye because nothing comes easy in life. There are no shortcuts, there are no ways around it. You just simply have to pass through it and once you're on the other side, that's when you get it. Not that it ever really gets easier....different, yes.....easier, no. No one ever said parenting is easy but for each stage of difficulty, you soon realize that you've survived yet another milestone, whether it be the colic, the teething, or the middle of the night feedings.

I finally believed "this too shall pass" one night awhile back when I had been up for an hour in the middle of the night rocking Landon back to sleep, as he had started experiencing separation anxiety. The only thing that got me through that stage was knowing it was temporary, that it would pass....I repeatedly muttered to myself "this too shall pass, this too shall pass". And it did.

I have no idea what's in store for me with the next stage of parenting, as is the same with my friend. Neither of us could possibly know what will happen next week, next month, or even next year. But the one thing I do know is that if we believe "this too shall pass", somehow the good times will far outweight the tough times.


kristi said...

My daughter didn't sleep well til' she was 4. Then I had my son and he didn't sleep well til' he was 6. Gosh I missed a lot of sleep.

Raising kids is hard. We as women all understand each other.

Hajar said...

Sometimes the most difficult feat is to look lovingly, through the exhaustion, into your babie's eyes and smile...but I've found that somtimes that is all the comfort they require to calm them down. Like you, I just don't sweat the mess until I can find a moment of peace to do the little necessary chores around the place. However, I only have two at this time. ;>} I can't imagine how I'll feel if I ever have another one or two. Their father is also a huge help. I don't have to cook for him if I don't feel like it. If I haven't done the dishes by the time he gets home from his 10 to 12 hour work days, he washes them. Thank God for nice husbands.

Anonymous said...

What a great post.
It gave me some hope back.
You're the best.
Thank you.

Tracy said...

What a beautiful post. I love reading from somebody that knows exactly what I'm going through (and then some!)

Surely there are HARD days, but I'm so thankful for my babies' smiles. Those seem to bolster me like nothing can.

And it's time like these that I think back to our trials with infertility. That taught me patience like nobody's business. And I know that time will pass, even when you want it to pass quickly, it does...not like when you were a kid and time seemed to DRAG on. Now, it flies by. So I try to cherish the moments even when they are exhausting.

Supermom said...

Great post!

I always remember that things will be okay no matter what.

It has gotten me through so many challenges.

Isn't there a scripture that says no matter what I know you will get me through? I am awful at quoting and cannot get up to get my Bible. Sleeping baby on my chest.

Michelle :)

twinmama said...

Thank you, Helene. I really needed to read this today. I have been struggling with how to fit it all into a day and it hasn't been going the way that I imagined it should. I have been feeling guilty for not measuring up to what I should be as a parent and feeling overwhelmed even though my girls are almost 2. You're so right that moments that are challenging will pass - I often tell new parents, the first three months were hell, but every month after that got a little easier. By the time we hit 12 months, I felt like I graduated from parenting babies school...and then it was on to parenting toddlers...doesn't feel like I will ever graduate from that one, but your post reminds me that I will. Thank you.

Elle said...

This was a great post! Every one needs to be reminded of this now and then!

Michele S said...

I'm going to tell you what comes next, since I'm a year ahead of you. It rocks! You are going to love it.

Envision the older twins in kindergarten and the younger ones in preschool. Imagine going to the store ALONE EVERY DAY LIKE I DO. My life is so freaking awesome right now. It's not for the next two weeks, because they are out of school and going to drive me nuts, but I'm hanging on to January.

When all of our kids are in school, I'm going to drive to your house and we are going to go hang out in Starbuck's and laugh about it all. We are. You mark my words. One day, you'll open the door and I'll be there!

Teresa said...

I completely understand what you're saying. Some days I have no idea how I'm going to make it one more step, and others I wonder what my problem was before! My oldest is now 10, I can't believe it. He's no longer a little boy, and now I yearn to hear his little voice or have his little arms around my neck. Then, I realize he's an amazing young man & I am very proud of who he's becoming. Last time I was up holding my 3 year old in the middle of the night, I knew that these days were numbered, and someday I will wish for a few sleepless, babyfilled nights!

Creative Junkie said...

omg, this post rings so true for me! My mother always used to tell me "this too shall pass" whenever I was upset and I remember thinking it would never pass, EVER.

And now that I'm a mother, I totally get it. Things do pass, although sometimes not as quickly as we'd like (and I could insert here a vulgarity but I decided to be a grownup this morning.)

Now I catch myself saying it to my 14 year old, whenever she's upset and from her eye roll, I can't tell she doesn't get it either.

3 Bay B Chicks said...

I have long believed that I was an absolutely perfect Mom, until the day came along that I actually had children. Nothing, nothing in life prepares you for the lack of sleep, rollcoaster of emotions, and the sheer repetiveness of it all. Being a SAHM is by far the hardest thing that I have ever done. My former worklife was a cake walk compared to this. I can't even imagine what the task is like for a mother of four, like youself.

"This too shall pass" is the mantra by which all mothers live by in one way or another.


MamaEarthling said...

Now that I'm expecting twins, your words are so helpful to me, as I can set expectations and realize that there will be days where I'm going to have to tell myself "this too shall pass!" Thank you!

Kim said...

My grandma often used this phrase, then my dad, and now me!

It's amazing how I now can look back on some horrific experiences and actually be THANKFUL that I went through them! I've grown stronger and wiser because of them.

Kim said...

Oops! I also wanted to mention HOW COOL your photo is in the header!! Did you take that??

Geri said...

Gosh, I just don't know how you do it with two sets of twins. My niece is pregnant with twins and due in April. She's already worrying. You must be amazing.

Anonymous said...

Great post and so very true. When I am feeling overwhelmed, I just lock myself in the office and blog, lol!! Seriously blogging keeps me sane!!

Stacy's Random Thoughts said...

What a great post! I was only blessed with one Miracle child, and can't imagine how hectic it would be with more when it's hectic with just one! ;) It certainly gave me a greater appreciation for how great my mom did with 4 - two one-year apart and a 'surprise' set of twins! Sometimes it's hard to think that 'this too shall pass' in the midst of things overwhelming, but it really does. :)

I figure that if the children are alive when my husband gets home at the end of the day, I've done my job.

----Roseanne Barr

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