It took me 10 years of marriage & trying to have a baby to actually become a mother. Those were very difficult years and I was surprised when that first baby came along that life wasn't just peachy. I love my kids to pieces, but its hard to admit that I did not love being a mom. There's a lot of difficult day to day stuff . . . the endless diaper changes and constantly picking up after & caring for little ones that just didn't seem very fulfilling to me, especially when it meant I had to make some big changes & limit the time spent in my business that DID give me fulfillment. Its hard to admit all of this because, honestly, I felt like a failure a lot since I know that raising children is the most important job out there & I see a lot of women who do it very well & seem to be happy & fulfilled.
I am so happy, that that joy & fulfillment with motherhood are finally mine! As crazy as it can be around here, I am so happy with being the mom of 4 kids, age 4 & under, and I thank my Heavenly Father every day for this opportunity & blessing in my life. Along with that change in my attitude, has come a more organized & happy household. I am finding time to get projects done -- a little at a time -- and doing more activities with my older kids. Life isn't perfect & there are still days when I want to pull my hair out, but now those are fewer & farther between than they once were. I thought I would share some of the things that are making a difference for me:
- I thought I was busy before, but adding newborn twins to the mix which required 8 hours of feeding babies a day (at first) just left me with a lot less time in my day. With my other babies, I fed them on a schedule, but now the whole house runs on a pretty tight schedule; I even printed it out & posted it around the house! I have to know exactly when to be doing what (getting older kids dressed, exercising, reading scriptures, doing household cleanup) or it doesn't get done. They say that if you want something done you should ask a busy person. Well, I really get that now. I feel like I have to make the most of every minute of my day so I am able to accomplish a lot more than I did in the past when I felt busy.
- We start each day by listening to some of the music that the kids are learning in church while they eat breakfast. It really helps us get off to a positive start. I also like to open the blinds (& the windows when the weather is nice outside) and light a scented candle to help set that right tone for our day.
- I have an awesome husband that is a true partner at home. It took some time to figure out, but we have a great schedule that allows him to take on some of the duties around the house. He gets up at 4am to get ready for work so that he can be home from work around 3 or 3:30pm. Most of the time, he takes the last 2 feedings of the day for the twins and will also do a lot of the care for the older kids on certain days of the week so I can either run errands (grocery shopping, etc.) or work on my business. We have a 1 hour block set aside, after the older kids are in bed & before the last feeding of the babies, to spend with each other; it doesn't seem like enough, but one day it will get better!
- Prioritizing is HUGE! My home life is my priority right now. I still work my business & give service through church, but I know that those things have to be worked around my life at home. I always knew that mothering was the most important job that I had, but sometime in those first few days after we brought the twins home, I felt a tangible change in my heart. I knew, without any doubt, that my most important job was in my home & that I could find fulfillment in it if I did it right.
- I MAKE time to exercise every day. Sometimes that's me heading out to run as soon as my husband walks in the door from work. Other times, we take the kids out for a walk -- 2 adults & 2 double strollers (we're quite a sight!). There was a while there when that exercise was the only thing that was keeping my energy level high enough to get through the day.
- PINTEREST! Okay, it might sound crazy, but I love Pinterest & I really think it makes a difference in our home life. I find great ideas for new recipes, organizing tips, crafts & activities for the kids. And I don't just "pin" those things, I'm actually using them to improve our life & give me a creative outlet.
- I'm a competitive person by nature. I think I feel a little bit like I've been issued a challenge or a dare with 4 kids age 4 & under. When people hear that I have that many little ones that close together, their jaws usually drop. I think the fact that it sounds hard to people has given me the drive to do it better, if that makes any sense at all.
- I have a new appreciation for good health. I felt miserable for most of the pregnancy & even before it began -- we did InVitro which includes a lot of injections about a month prior to & the first 3 months of the pregnancy that leave me hurting and feeling pretty sick. Honestly, once those babies were delivered, I felt like new woman with a renewed amount of energy and strength. After feeling awful for so long, the feeling good felt that much better!
- The last & most important, is that I don't feel like I'm doing this alone. I really feel like I am partnering with my Heavenly Father to raise children who will love Him & keep His commandments. There is a greater weight & importance to the things I do and I feel His help with me as I pray for my kids & for myself to be a better mom.