Monday, May 31, 2010

what I'm reading: exhausted motherhood from The Busy Christian's Guide to Busyness

My mum recently looked after my 3 year old nephew and 6 year old niece for 2 weeks while their parents were away. She loved having them stay, but she was also reminded of how tiring the care of young children can be.

"It's so busy!"
"It's only 9:00 in the morning, and I feel like I've done half a day's hard work!"
"It's hard to find 5 minutes to myself!"
"The shower has become my refuge!"
"I'm glad I was young when I had children!"
"I've forgotten what silence sounds like!"
"I don't know how you do it!"

Music to my ears!

Her words reminded me that, however much we love and enjoy our children - as she does her grandchildren, raising young kids is hard work. It's exhausting. It's relentless. It's noisy and chaotic.

It's not just me! That's how it is, and it's okay.

Tim Chester says,

Parents of young children live life in a blur for a few years. ... One mother of three said to me: 'I found it so helpful to realize that this was the way my life was.' That's biblical realism and it's liberating. She didn't have to strive to live the perfect life portrayed in the glossy magazines. I remember when our younger child was about five. I felt strange, but couldn't figure out why. After a few days I finally twigged what it was: I didn't feel tired. For eight or so years, while our daughters were young, we had broken nights interspersed by energy-sapping days of childcare. Mind-numbing tiredness had become so normal that not feeling tired was weird. That's the way it is. Get used to it. And don't worry about it. ... This is the life God has given you - and he is always wise and always good.

Tim Chester The Busy Christian's Guide to Busyness 79, 159

image is from sosij at flickr


Deb said...

You have no idea how much I needed to hear this today! I am weighed down with expectations of perfection that come from myself and with irrational thoughts about what other people might be thinking about my "imperfect" family. Another reason why I really must put that book on my to-read list. Thanks so much! You have lifted a heavy burden today.

Meredith said...

Really, that just says it all, doesn't it? And suggests that we may just emerge full from the haze as well. A great and reassuring quote.

Jean said...

So glad it encouraged both of you, my friends! Me too. Love Jean.

Steph G said...

Jean, I'm in a pickle.
The expectations for cleanliness come from my Mum. She's convinced that I'm depressed if I'm tired and the house isn't clean.
Mum's a Christian. How can I love her without being rude, and welcome her into my home when all she sees is 'mess'?

Jean said...

Hi Steph! Nice to hear from you! :)

I don't think there's a lot you can do, except honour and love your mum, and try not to worry too much about her expectations and what she thinks. In the end, what matters is what God thinks of you - not your mum - so as long as you are loving your family as you care for your home you're doing all that needs to be done.

You can't change your mum's mind - that's not under your control (except to pray about it). Gently assure her you're okay, but don't be surprised if her mind doesn't change, and you just have to keep loving her despite this. It's not always easy with mums, I know. All you can do is be as kind and cheerful and patient and welcoming as possible, and pray for the superhuman strength to do this!

See you very soon!

Love Jean.