Mothers with Young Children Need Help! Let’s Talk about How

For the past couple months, life with my 2 1/2 year old and 1 1/2 year old has seemed….pretty manageable.  It’s to the point, where I’m like….should I have another baby?  Because I should just be jumping back on the crazy train as soon as I’ve caught my breath, right?  I’ve started reading more, writing more, cleaning more, and just lounging more.  And then I got the urge to volunteer my time in some way.  Rather than sitting around, enjoying how easy I have it and thinking about me, me, me; I wanted to figure out a way to help others, with my 2 little ones in tow.  Near and dear to my heart is helping other mothers who are buried deep in the trenches of motherhood.

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Back when we had a 15 month old and a newborn.

I have some friends who have just had or are having their 3rd baby and their oldest is 2 1/2 or younger.  I can only imagine how challenging and tiring that would be. That could’ve been me had God not taken pity on my sanity and given me time to figure out NFP without another surprise during the confusing early months when Silvia was a newborn.  I respect my friends and their sacrifice to faithfully practice or attempt to practice NFP even with children so close together, and I want to help.  I want to be God’s hands, cleaning their houses, making them dinners, and keeping their older kids busy.  I know that God won’t give them more than they can handle and that He will carry them through the difficult times, but maybe God wants to use me to physically carry them through.  In this very manageable season that I’m in, maybe it’s my turn to reach out and help.  Also, I already have my own help.  My two neighbor girls, aged 11 and 7, are answers to my prayers for help that I cried out years ago.

Today, I brought my kids to my friend’s house and the four toddlers played together while she and her husband took their newborn to a doctor appointment and then did a little housecleaning.  I did my best to help clean, too. I could have stayed all day and cleaned (cuz I’m weird and actually enjoy it), but alas, there were 4 toddlers to help take care of.  I’ve made plans with her to make this a weekly event for a while.

I’m still brainstorming ways to help all these moms that need help.  In our modern world of isolation, I want to build communities and networks that have each other’s backs.  We and many of our friends don’t have family in town.  It can be so difficult to get help without paying your left arm for a babysitter.   When a crisis pops up and the babysitter isn’t around, it’s important to have a safety net of people you can turn to.

I’ve thought about something like a co-op daycare, where moms could drop their kids off for a few hours while a couple of other moms babysit together; and then they all switch babysitting duties the next time.  In busy seasons, where moms have newborns, they would be exempt temporarily from babysitting duties, but could still drop their kids off.

My friend thought that moms should just swap babysitting and/or cleaning with another mom.

Also, what we need is more “big” kids to help out like my neighbor girls.  They are at an age where they love little kids and find them so adorable; so they like to play with them.  Leo loves big kids because they run around with him, play hide and seek and push him on the swing.  They don’t take his toys like the other toddlers do.  They are kind of like older siblings and they can be mommy’s helpers at home while she cooks,cleans, works on something or just relaxes.   My little sister babysat (without charging) for a large family for several years.  She started when she was in middle school and continued to babysit throughout high school.  The mom would work from home on her business or do housework while my sister was there.  I see now what a blessing she was for that family.

Do you have any ideas on how to help moms with young children?  Or how to build up communities?  I’d love to hear them.

 

On Being Open to Life

I have my good days.  I have my bad days.  A night of awful sleep in which both kids wake up and there is lots of crying and trying to coerce them back to sleep, I am an angry zombie.  You’ll hear “I’m never having another child!”  from my lips.  If enough time has passed and the kids are being super sweet and adorable, my heart starts to soften.  But the first year of a babies’ life is not my favorite.  I’m not a baby person.  Babies are so very dependent and require so much time and sacrifice.

But all this talk is me, me, me. A line from a book called “Are You in Reality” by Gregoire Plus, struck me: “Life is difficult, and many would like to live as if life should be easy or without problems”.  This line immediately made me think of my fears of having more children.  I wrote down a few notes to understand why I am so nervous about this area in my life and why I try to resist giving it over to God.

1.  My life will become more difficult again (and it’s been getting easier lately since my youngest is over a year).

2.  I will lose some of my recently gained “freedom” as I’d have to start over again with sharing my body with another (from pregnancy to breastfeeding…)

I think I’d written down a 3rd point, but it was probably just another way of saying “It’s not going to be easy.  In fact, it’ll be downright difficult for a while!  And I’ll lose my “freedom”, whatever that is to me”.

So to admit this fear out loud really made me understand that I am resisting the toil of being self-sacrificial.  For some months I could go through much difficulty and be forced to sacrifice much of myself for my family, and maybe struggle with depression for a short time (I don’t take big changes very gracefully).  But after that rather short time (in the spectrum of things), I would come away with a child who will turn into an adult and forever be a love in my life that I will never regret.  And who is, in fact, an eternal soul.  It still seems kind of worth it to me…..

At this point, however, for my own sanity, I think spacing my children out a bit is a good thing.  But these thoughts and questions about when I might be ready for another child is more than just about what I want.  Creating an eternal soul is God’s specialty, so I think it important to ask His input and clarity on the matter.  Sometimes I was afraid to pray about this as I was afraid it’d be sooner than I wanted; but I want to be open to God’s will in my life and trust that He’s working for my good. Maybe a life of self-sacrifice in raising a family is the way God intends to sanctify me and lead me to holiness if I cooperate.  No saint ever walked the path to sanctity with ease.

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janyceresh

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