Two months into this whole three kids thing and it’s easier than I anticipated. I’m grateful Silas is really content and easy. What a blessing that is!
What a wild ride these last few years have been. When Abel was born, it was a huge adjustment! I worked as a nanny for a few years and yeah that’s NOT the same as having your own baby. He was around 9 months when the covid lockdowns started here in NZ, and as an immigrant that was so difficult. Not knowing if/when I could see my family again was hard.
Then I got pregnant with Juniper and pregnancy is pretty hard for me, especially the morning sickness. I also find it so easy to worry about the baby and it’s such a relief when they’re born and it just seems so much easier to know they’re okay. We had lots of stress at the end of Juniper’s pregnancy (it all turned out fine).
Juniper’s first year had some ups and plenty of downs. It was so hard. I often felt on edge and anxious. The lockdowns and mandates were one source of stress. Plus more morning sickness because then I was pregnant with Silas – and had just started my photography business.
With Silas’s pregnancy I was determined not to worry so much and to prepare much better for birth and postpartum. It helped a lot, and his birth was so calm and straightforward. I really feel that has carried on to our daily life even after this birth. With three small children there’s always something going on. One thing I’m learning is that it’s not my job to keep my children happy all the time. That’s impossible. It’s okay if they get upset at times. My job is to love them and teach them and show them their need for Jesus and his great love for them.
How many times have I been irritated because my toddler needed the bathroom when I just sat down to nurse the baby, or I just didn’t want to be interrupted? Here’s a funny story. The kids recently had diarrhoea. It wasn’t too horrible but I found myself rushing to take my toddler to the toilet immediately. Like, drop everything and run. I was so relieved and pleased when we made it to the toilet in time. Funnily enough it changed my attitude towards taking him to the toilet, for the better! I shouldn’t get frustrated at my toddler for needing the toilet.
We are still learning and figuring things out but we are doing really well at the moment. Juniper is beginning to listen better, communicate better, and play with Abel nicely. It is a lot easier and I love seeing their sibling bond. Having little children is intense and hard but ever changing too. Just a year ago Juniper was still a chubby BABY.
Another thing I am learning – parenting is not about making your children behave a certain way. Again, it’s about loving them and teaching them and showing them their need for Jesus and his love for them. I can’t expect my children to be ‘good’ and stop sinning if I parent them well. I can expect them to sin, and teach them that sin is wrong and why we need Jesus. Parenting is such a refining process for me. I am always challenged to wonder why I am teaching my children. For a time I floundered, what is right and wrong, why don’t we do this, what’s the reason for that… I’m so thankful for the Bible. God made us, he loves us, he wants what is best for us, and his Word is full of wisdom and instruction.
I have found some helpful resources that really encouraged me recently. I greatly enjoyed the book Risen Motherhood. It encouraged me that having toddlers doesn’t mean I should have a stagnant spiritual life. It encouraged me that Jesus cares about my every day, mundane challenges. It encouraged me that God can and does work through small ordinary everyday people and happenings. And that ultimately my purpose is to glorify the Lord. Another place I found encouragement was Christine Keys’ blog. This post in particular on How to Be a Calm Mom was so helpful to me. It is full of practical, real, helpful tips to challenged me to do better.