I grew up wishing I had sisters. I wanted built-in best friends, but I was instead left with two older brothers. They picked on me growing up, I screamed a lot, we fought. But I love them dearly, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.
So becoming a mom of three boys should be easier for me right? Not really. Not at all. Actually, becoming a mom is just a crazy experience, and I really don’t think there’s much preparation for it. Being a mom to toddlers is a whole new level of crazy, and being a mom when everything is extra dirty, filled with sound effects of every facet…lets just say it’s crazy. Good. And crazy.
So how do I do it? I’m glad you ask. I don’t have a secret. Not one. But I do have some tips for sanity, and lots & lots of grace.
1. Close the door when you go to the bathroom. Right? Basic thing. But I got into the habit of not closing the door. I wanted to be able to see/hear if something was going on that shouldn’t be. But with the arrival of a third kid, you get kind of lax and stop caring so much about the state of things. Like the crayon on my dining room wall. It’s whatever. But I digress. Shut the door! Even if you’re just blowing your nose. Get some peace for a half second and fix your hair in the mirror.
2. Eat. Not the scraps or leftovers your two year old refused. Don’t skip a meal. I am definitely not an expert or a good person to ask for advice on this, but I know from experience that I just binge later when I forget to eat. So eat a good meal, even if you have to do it standing up while bouncing your baby or if it’s cold from sitting on the counter for 45 minutes because you got sidetracked. Take care of you.
3. Drink a huge glass of water when you get up. Don’t consume anything else before you drink that water!! I fill it up before bed and place my water bottle on my nightstand. I drink it first thing, and it wakes me up better than coffee. It gets digestion going, and even if I don’t get around to drinking more water til a few hours later, at least I’ve gotten a good deal in the morning.
4. Return to the Bible throughout the day. I try to read every morning, but that doesn’t always go as planned. So I have a Bible app on my phone, and I try to squeeze in some reading every time I pick up my phone. Every time. Which is dozens of times a day. Rather than wasting time reading status updates, I’m pointed to the King. And that’s way better. And life-giving.
One last tip. This isn’t much of a tip, but a mindset. It isn’t about surviving until bedtime or until tomorrow when you have to do it all over again. Those boys will go to sleep thinking of the grand things they will get to do with me when they wake up, not about the mistakes I made (and they didn’t notice). Today, although chaotic for me, was glorious for them. They played ninja turtles and played in sand and took the longest bath ever. There wasn’t one moment where they wondered, “Gee I hope this craft will develop my motor skills.” (Actually, we don’t do crafts ever, so it’d be more like, “Gee I hope I’m developing some kind of motor skills while throwing toys across the room.”) Girlfriend, sister, fellow mama. You are doing well, and motherhood looks good on you. The joy on your baby’s face is real and alive. And the joy of Christ compels us for them. Press on, mama. You thrive in this.
Do you have any tips to add? What keeps you thriving instead of surviving?