Wednesday, May 20, 2009

This Season of Motherhood

Exactly two minutes after we had left the presence of a potty, my three year old declared that he needed to go. It had just poured down rain and I was looking out the window at a muddy field, when Dash suggested I just put a diaper on him. Good idea. I pulled over, climbed into the back seat and wedged him in between two car seats to get him in a diaper, rebuckled him and climbed back into the front.

At which point I saw a police officer standing right outside my window.

As I rolled down the window, the first thing that popped into my head was, "If I confess to a crime, I wonder if they would let me sleep in a jail cell..."

The officer kindly asked me if everything was ok, and I told him that my 3 year old just had to potty. He nodding understandingly and headed back to his patrol car. I heroically resisted the urge to ask to be hauled in to take a nap in a cell...

We have had a rough go in the Incredible family recently. Our dear boys can't stand to be apart, and yet can't stand to be together. And, at the moment, Incredibaby is covered from head to toe with spots. I am quite sure there are days when I don't sit down (even while pumping) and there are days when I don't talk to anyone over the age of reason until 8pm.

I see mothers of many whose daily rhythms seem so much more peaceful than ours. I have been praying to St. Anne and Our Lady to help us establish a peaceful home life.

Then, over the course of a week, I was flooded with thoughts, encouragement and advice. At a homeschooling meeting, mothers of 7+ children encouraged me and told me that having three little ones was the biggest challenge for them. The other builders encouraged me with their kind words. Katherine summed up so well what I have been thinking about recently:

I think the particular season of mothering, when every aspect of serving others is on your shoulders, is the most intense period of the asceticism of motherhood.

There is much dying to self when you are taking care of just little ones. Your needs must always come second (or third or fourth). But there is a purifying aspect to this. What a blessing to be demanded to give so much. Left to my own weak will, surely I would not be disciplined to do so.

God-willing, we will go through many seasons of mothering our children. This is one of them. But is all part of God's divine plan for us and our salvation.

Prayer of Abandonment

I abandon myself into your hands;
do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you:
I am ready for all, I accept all.

Let only your will be done in me,
and in all your creatures -
I wish no more than this, O Lord.

Into your hands I commend my soul:
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.

Charles de Foucauld


Right Said Red said...

Oh Tex,

We continue to pray for you here that things will get better. Danielle Bean said to me that her hardest time mothering was when she had 3 little ones, and no help! Little ones will eventually get big, so we all just need to hang in there.

As for you, your attitude is amazing, and I love the prayer. I'm so glad you found time to chat with some other mothers, as it is so important for our sanity. For me, a playdate with a friend who has the same values as me does wonders for my outlook (and takes stress away from Mr. Red so that I don't talk to him about all my many difficulties).

Some things for us all to keep in mind when things get really rough. Make sure you are taking care of your own basic needs, i.e. eating, sleeping, drinking, hand-washing and rest. Often times, a cascading series of difficulties is brought on when I stop doing these basic things (like I skip a meal because the demands of the children are just too much!) Even if you have to lock the children in their rooms for 20 minutes to make sure you are eating, do it! It will pay off.

Prayers today for all the struggling mothers out there with little ones. God makes them cute because sometimes it is so hard!

B-Mama said...

Today I had all three boys sleeping at the same time due to a car trip after lunch. You better believe I stopped and appreciated the silence... only to find it necessary to take up some yard work that needs to be done. Why is it that I can't take advantage of precious peaceful moments even when they do occur? It is bc I am so accustomed to just going, going, going...

I am planning to print out the beautiful prayer and hang it all over my house! How much more joyful I will be in service with such a prayerful countenance! God bless you, Tex!!! Wish we lived down the street and we could boy swap!!!

MargaretJDMom said...

Good Luck and know that you are not alone! The apostolate of the family is the most important and probably the most difficult!!

If you are looking for a similar prayer that can be said "aspiration style" here's one from St. Josemaria:
Lord into your hands I abandon
the past, present, and future;
not much and a lot;
the little and the big;
the temporal and the eternal.

As moms we deal with and/or worry about all of the above! : )

Moira said...

TM: I felt such relief reading this, you have no idea. I am a little ahead of you when it comes to my kids' ages, and mine are no longer 3 under 3. But during the time they were, I often found myself wondering, "how is one person supposed to do all this?!" I don't think we really are, and it is a blessing when spouses, family and friends can help in practical ways.
For the other times, we need to just keep on going, I guess, and recognize it is a season, like you say.
I have also heard from other mothers of many that 3 little ones was the "breaking" point and brought new fruit personally, and for their families. Thank God for little ones!

Anonymous said...

I say this over and over to young mothers. Get some help with your children. It is not good to be so stressed out that you lose your temper, drive like a mad woman or do careless things due to sleep deprivation. Find a reliable babysitter, ask your mother or mother in law (if available) to help out for a few hours a week. You owe it to your family to have a break now and then to recharge. It doesn't mean that you are a "weak" person or a bad mother, you are simply taking care of your basic needs. We do not expect men to work 24/7, we should not expect young mothers to do the same.

Been there done that

AWOL Mommy said...


What about a little potty in the trunk? I have a good friend here who does that. You can just keep it in a plastic bag for sanitary reasons. You know, like one of those Bjorn ones is pretty small. I am not sure what kind of wheels you have, but you live in Texas, so I bet it is big. ;)

Rarely Sara said...

We have a potty chair in our van, and we leave a disposable diaper in the the bowl part. The diaper catches all the tinkle, and you can just throw the diaper away. That's what works for us :)

B-Mama said...

Rarely Sara, what a brilliant idea, esp. with the diaper as the catchall. Simply brilliant!!!

TM, I just read this over again and love your thoughts here. I relate to them completely. Some of our days these days are *golden* and then in a blink of an eye, we're back to immaturity, fighting boys, bratty backtalk, etc. I have moments of real grace, followed by times when I really don't know how I'm going to survive. I pray these are the hardest times like some have commented above. I don't know if I can take much more! :)

My bout with mono recently taught me so much about asking for help and accepting it when others have it to offer. I also see the beauty now in scheduled help (having my mother-in-law over every Tuesday at 2pm for 3 hours) vs. sporadic help, which is awesome but harder to enjoy. Having carved out time that I can anticipate is HUGE and more relaxing. I'm going to try to make a greater effort at making this happen in the coming weeks. My family will surely thank me for it!