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on mothering two

November 14, 2011

Today marks four months since becoming a mother of two, and despite Sam’s flattering compliment to me the other day that “my hair looks tired“, I think we are settling in just fine to life with another little Rig.  My hair, however, is a different story all together.

I was warned that going from one to two would be the hardest.  In my experience, however, nothing could compare in difficulty to becoming a mother for the first time.  This is why I tend to scratch my head whenever I hear a mother who has multiple kids comment on how easy mothers of just one child must have it!  Easy?  Anything but!  Besides more laundry, of course, second-time mothers have something invaluable that first-time mothers don’t have yet, and that’s perspective.

Besides my intense love for Sam, I’m almost certain that that’s what felt most overwhelming to me about bringing him home from the hospital.  I had zero perspective (or maybe ‘experience’ is a better word) that things would ever get easier; that one day our baby would sleep through the night, that feeding issues really do get worked out, that the postpartum pain actually will go away, and that everything I feared really was all in vain.

Bringing Peter home from the hospital was an entirely different story.  The love was just as intense, but instead of fretting and losing sleep over all the questions and concerns, I had two years of experience (and faith!) that enabled me to take a deep breath and just enjoy these days with my children.

So whenever my load starts to feel heavy, I stop and think about my friends who are experiencing motherhood for the very first time and I pray for them.  Because even though I am outnumbered during the day, they probably feel so more than I do.

Continuing on…

One thing that’s certain since adding a new child to our family is that I feel the need for more practical help than I did before.  I live far away from family.  I miss them more now than I ever have.  So many of the daily ins-and-outs of mothering and homemaking would be shouldered by my mother and mother-in-law if only we lived closer.  And when one does live close enough for their extended family to help, I think it blesses the heart of God.  But this isn’t the case for everyone, and since it isn’t for us, God is faithful to help us in a different way.

He sends strangers to help carry extra bags of groceries out to the car so I won’t have to push two baskets.  He sends other moms to smile and encourage me in public when both of my kids are taking turns in the loony bin.  He sends a friend over to watch my boys for 30 minutes while I run the (dreaded) errand to the post office.  He sends my pastor’s wife over to my house with my favorite lunch in hand to sit and talk (because she knows I probably haven’t stopped to eat!).  He gives me laughter every day because of my hilarious two-year old.  He sends college girls over to my house to help me fold laundry.  He has given me a husband who values my role in this family and makes time for me to rest and recharge.  And He has provided loving grandparents who would drop everything to be here if the need arose.

“He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom and gently lead those who are with young.”  Isaiah 40:11

When I’m missing the closeness of my family, God reminds me (and oftentimes through strangers!) that He is helping me.  He is leading me.  He is carrying me.  And He is more than sufficient to make up for what I lack.

So, four months in with two little ones and what am I learning?

I’m learning that being a good mother is really hard work, all of the time.  Physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually- it is work.  And that this kind of work is incredibly enjoyable and satisfying if I have the right heart and mind about it.

I’m also learning that going to bed at an early hour, even if I don’t want to, is one of the most loving things I can do for my family.  (I know why this woman never went to bed at night…it’s because she had small children and couldn’t get anything done during the day!)

I’m learning that if I want my children to have happy hearts and fat souls, their mother needs to sit at the feet of Jesus, and often.  (I’m also learning that sometimes this sitting looks a lot like sweeping up crumbs underneath the highchair for the sixth time today.)  I am thankful for the way the Lord draws near in the mundane.

I’m also learning that while I might feel like a ping-pong ball, bouncing from one child to the next throughout the day, God is doing kingdom work in their hearts and mine.  Every hug, every book, every kind word, every laugh, every kiss, every correction, every sleepless night, it’s all working together for something greater.  And He promised that if I don’t grow weary in doing good (and this work is good), He will reap a harvest from what I’ve sown.

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. November 14, 2011 10:31 am

    Your family is beautiful. Thank you for your effort and your motherhood. It provides a great example to others.

  2. November 14, 2011 10:59 am

    Great, great blog post.

  3. November 14, 2011 11:46 am

    Yes, this has been my experience too! I really resonate with you about family living far away. Days that are hardest for me, I find myself comparing how “easy” it is for friends with family close by, but this is not true. God is faithful to remind me that he graces me in other unexpected ways with help and opens my eyes to see his grace in this way.

  4. November 14, 2011 12:23 pm

    I liked the part about “fat souls” because mom sits at the feet of Jesus. Well said, J.

  5. Kristen permalink
    November 14, 2011 1:25 pm

    Just found your blog through a pin on pinterest and I LOVE this post. This puts my heart at ease today and reminds me of my job as a full time mommy. I have a 15 month old, with another precious baby due in April, so my kiddos will be 20 months apart. I’ve been (secretly) freaking out about taking care of two children under the age of 2, so your post has reassured me today. Thank you! =)

  6. Jenn A permalink
    November 14, 2011 1:54 pm

    Excellent, Jenny! All very true. And you know I totally relate to the family being far away. You will need to preach this same thing to yourself multiple times as your little ones grow. Keep doing it!

  7. November 14, 2011 6:59 pm

    I am terrified of mothering more than one. Much more scared than I was before I had my son. You would think after having one you would feel more prepared…

  8. November 14, 2011 10:00 pm

    Such a wonderful post, Jenny. You’re an amazing Mommy!

  9. Liz permalink
    November 15, 2011 7:39 am

    Oh that we lived around the corner from each other….it’s amazing how far 20 minutes seems…wonderful post my friend!

  10. November 18, 2011 3:33 pm

    I smile and ditto on the 1 to 2 thing. I heard the same, that 1-2 is as hard as the first baby, but no way! The first was the biggest shock to my system in my life. Number two was breezy by comparison! And I ditto the being far away thing. =)

  11. kristin permalink
    November 19, 2011 7:26 pm

    Jenny, I am so thankful for your post today. As James and I think about the future and another child eventually entering our lives, we have occasionally worried about the transition from 1-2. I have heard horror stories from frazzled moms who are convinced the second addition was by far the hardest. I worried so much with Sadie the first time around. I find a reprieve in your blog post that it gets better because you do have perspective. :o) Thank you for sharing today. It blessed my heart (and my family).

  12. Nicole permalink
    December 30, 2011 10:57 pm

    I have a 3 year old and a 7 month old. My 3 year old has been very helpful in caring for his new baby brother. He is always wanting to give him a bottle or play with him. He even helps out with things around the house like the laundry and dishes. Have your oldest help out as much as possible. When my baby is crying and I can’t get to him right away, I send my oldest to talk to him, give him his passy, or a toy. He loves it!

  13. chewchewmama permalink
    April 17, 2012 6:40 pm

    Beautifully written.

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