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Seasons of Motherhood

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Seasons of Motherhood @ AVirtuousWoman.org

Seasons of Motherhood

I’ve had five children of my own. I remember the early days, when I just had two and they were little. My oldest child, was quite the handful. I struggled on a daily basis to figure out how to best discipline him, keep him out of trouble, and enjoy being his mom. We used to go to the park every day when the weather was nice. I’d pack a picnic lunch and we’d feed the ducks, and while he played on the playground I’d push Sarah – who was just a year old – in the swing.

james
James when he was about four years old.

I used to say his terrible twos lasted eight years! And at the age of four, he never wanted to leave the park. Even though most days we’d stop at this {mom and pop} old fashioned pharmacy and buy hand dipped ice cream for $0.25 each before going home. A temper tantrum ensued almost every time. Okay, probably every time I told him it was time to go.

It was hard.

I was a young mom {only 19 years old at the time} and it was more than frustrating for me. I hadn’t yet figured out how to best deal with those temper tantrums!

Side Note: If you can relate, you might want to read Setting Limits with Your Strong-Willed Child, Eliminating Conflict by Establishing CLEAR, Firm, and Respectful Boundaries by Robert J. Mackenzie. {affiliate}

sarah and emily
My daughters, Emily and Sarah, in 1999.

Years later, while I was pregnant with my fifth baby, we decided to put our three oldest kids in the public school down the street from our house for a couple of years. I needed a break from homeschooling, the pregnancy was hard on my body and having a two year old was more than enough to take care of during the day.

I remember those days being incredibly easy as far as homemaking went. The house was almost always neat. The kids were not home to make a mess. We didn’t have piles of homeschool books and papers every where. For six hours everyday I just had one child to care for. Evenings were tough, trying to juggle an overload of homework and a child who was struggling in school. But the days were smooth.

By the time we went back to homeschooling, I had two children under the age of two and I was running A Virtuous Woman, publishing a small magazine, and staying very busy as the pastor’s wife of a three church district.

My girls, Sarah, Emily, Hannah, and Laura in March 2009.
My girls, Sarah, Emily, Hannah, and Laura in March 2009.

As the years unfolded, some things changed. We had elderly family members to care for and life really became difficult – in a new and different way. I felt like I was losing my joy and that my kids were growing up incredibly fast. I wanted desperately to slow the pace of life and really live in the moment.

Life Changes

We no longer have those elderly family members to take care of. But life is still busy. These days, it’s the music lessons, ice skating lessons, college classes, kids that work, and orthodontist appointments that keep us hopping. It’s a good kind of busy. I’m really enjoying every minute.

There were years when life was really, really hard. There were weeks and months where I wondered if life would ever be satisfying or feel sane.

Kids will try your patience. They will surprise you with uncomfortable questions. They will do things that make your heart worry. Things will happen to your kids that cause you to cry out to God. There will be nights when you can’t sleep because your kids are on your mind.

But, hands-down, being a mom is the greatest gift. 

The hardest part for me has been the fact that they are growing up. Life is changing and I want to freeze time. I loved having babies to hold. I loved having young kids to play with and snuggle with. Those memories are precious to me. I will treasure them always. I have cried in the middle of the night on more than one occasion because one of my children was about to turn 18 years old – I now have three kids ages 18, 20, and 23. My youngest two are already 14 and 11.

But you know what? Having teenagers has been such a gift. I have loved getting to know my kids. I’ve loved every adventure we’ve taken together. When I had babies at home, camping was hard and I didn’t do it often. Backpacking 24 miles over several mountains was out of the question. But that’s something I got to do with my girls and I’m grateful for the experience.

4 Day, 24 Miles, All Girl Backpacking Trip in the Wilderness of the Cumberland Mountains @ AVirtuousWoman.org
4 Day, 24 Miles, All Girl Backpacking Trip in the Wilderness of the Cumberland Mountains.

 I love spending my evenings sitting and talking and laughing with my girls. I love dreaming about the future and listening to their plans. I love working on book ideas with my now 20 year old daughter. I love getting to know my son – so much easier now that he’s grown than when he was a boy. I love encouraging my 14 year old to be the best ice skater she can be and talking sociology with my 18 year who’s in college now and listening to her play the guitar and piano. I love inspiring my 11 year old to be the artist and violinist she wants to be.

James, with his girlfriend, Hannah in 2014.
James, with his girlfriend, Hannah in 2014.
Sarah with her boyfriend, Ethan.
Sarah with her boyfriend, Ethan.
Emily with her guitar.
Emily with her guitar.
hannah
Hannah during her first ice skating competition.
Laura practicing for her violin recital in 2014.
Laura practicing for her violin recital in 2014.

I love being a mom. It’s fun and exciting and heart wrenching all at the same time.

They Do Grow Up

Sometimes when your kids are still little – the day to day routine of life can feel suffocating, overwhelming, and like it will never end. Those days are gone before you know it!

[Tweet “The seasons of motherhood will change, but the one constant is how much your children need you.”]

I still struggle to keep the house neat and organized. We’re so busy – housekeeping is hard! But one day… all too soon… this will pass and I will have all the time in the world to have a very neat home.

Our family on a recent trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
Our family on a recent trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

I’m not looking forward to days of quiet routine. Although, I’m guessing I’ll enjoy every minute of being the mom of all grown and married kids – and grandkids!

Seasons

There are seasons of motherhood when you are tired all the time. There are seasons when your kids are little when life looks different from when your kids are older and more self-sufficient. The seasons of motherhood will change, but the one constant is how much your children need you – even once they’re grown.

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14 Comments

  1. What a beautiful family you have and a very blessed life! Found your blog on the weekend re-treat and I have enjoyed checking things out! Following you now and looking forward to more! Cathy
  2. I may not be a mom, but I can vouch for the fact that kids still need their mom's when they're grown. Me and my mom have a great relationship that I am so very thankful for. I wouldn't trade it for having a different (read - more playful) childhood because of how amazing things are now. I know she still loves being my mom, too, as even though I don't live at home any more, she still tries to ground me from time to time (joking, of course!).
  3. My son is 7. He will be 8 in April. He has ADHD and ODD and is VERY hard. I don't feel like I will ever know normal again. I don't feel like I get to enjoy him. It's a constant struggle not daily but "momently". We argue non stop. He knows everything and I know nothing. I just want peace in my home and to be able to enjoy him. I love him so much. And I feel like we are both being robbed. I try to make homeschooling fun for him. But he fights constantly about doing his work so there goes all the fun. I can't take him out and do fun things because I don't want to reward his bad behavior. I'm so lost. I have a 9 month old baby boy who is just a joy! And I know my oldest is probably jealous. But it's his behavior that is putting up a huge road block. I don't know what to do. But I pray daily and it's still the same thing the following day bright and early. I don't want these years to fly by and be looking at him when he's 20 years old and we not have any relationship at all because we spent his entire childhood at each others throats. I don't want to miss out on loving him and raising him up well.
      1. Thanks Melissa! I'm sorry to just unload like that. You and your family are just beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing with us.
      2. No need to apologize, Heather! We all need someone to listen to our story sometimes! My heart really does go out to you. I remember my son had so many sensory issues and temper tantrums for so. many. years. He started doing better when I remarried because my husband insisted he respect me {something my ex-husband didn't do.} He was always strong willed though.
      3. Oh my goodness. I think that is a lot of my son's issue. His father and I are divorced and my new husband insists on him respecting us both, whereas his father does not. We try to instill Godly characteristics in him but he rejects everything we try to do. His father is a very non shalaunt kind of person. Doesn't really care about attending church or making him mind and behave. It's so impossibly hard. And tonight was very heart wrenching for me. His father went on a date, which was not the problem. The problem was that I tried to do some really fun Valentines Day Activities with him. And it ended up being a disaster. And I ended up finishing up alone while he ignored me angrily. I tried to talk to him and love him but he wouldn't let me. And when he left tonight he refused to tell me he loved me too.
    1. Oh Heather I felt like I was reading my life story when I read your comment!!! I feel like I have lost all of my joy for being a mother!!! You are not alone in this!!!!
  4. Melissa - your family is absolutely adorable. I hear you regarding not looking forward to the quiet routine. I am in the season of 2 grown boys in their 30's, 2 daughter-in-laws and 2 precious grandsons. When my first son moved out, I cried like a baby in the parking lot while we were helping him move into his apartment. My poor husband had no idea what to do with me and my tears. It took some time to get used to the quiet routine. When that season comes for you, it will be a huge adjustment. What got me sanely through this time was an exercise place that was like a Curves concept. There were a group of awesome senior ladies who listened to my grief, my whining, my sadness while we all exercised. They prayed with me and for me. They had all been there, done that. Without their support I don't know what I would have done. God truly looked after me. I am now very comfortable in my new season of quiet. When my first grandson was born, that brought such joy and happiness to our family that I cannot find words strong enough to express that love. Trust me, you will be holding a baby once again. And it will be awesome.
  5. I have 5 kids too. My girls are 21, 20, 17 and the twins are 11. I used to homeschool, too... but the girls are attending community college and the twins (adopted) have special needs and are in different schools. It is believable how busy our life is with everybody going so many directions, the girls all have jobs and interests that take them far and wide. HOME is the hub. Sometimes we connect late at night all together in a circle - and I love those times. It won't be long and I know one by one the little birdies will be flying the coop. I do get to homeschool one of the twins next year, so that's going to be an interesting switch back for me.

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