Two months ago I had a baby girl. She’s my third child and our second girl, and in my twelve weeks as a mom of three I’ve learned more than I have in all my 33 years, like: I can do almost anything while nursing a baby, I need less sleep to function than I thought, and friends who bring meals are gold. But more lasting are these five lessons, and I wanted to share them with you:
1. Three kids is no joke. My husband and I are on constant zone defense, chasing one up the stairs and pulling another off the piano bench before it falls over and feeding another one – all at the same time. Seriously. And bedtime? Bedtime is like playing whack-a-mole. One kid will go down and another will pop up. The first kid will go back down and another will get up. This goes on for hours and involves songs, hugs, stories, cups of water, kisses, and all the patience. When daddy and I fall into bed at night we are spent, without energy and stores of stashed kindness nearly depleted. We draw deep draughts of patience, kindness, joy, gentleness and peace from His reserves. Our house is full of dust and life, tiny shoes and board books, so much noise and so much love.
4. I’ve stopped fighting against the grain and rub of mothering. Two years ago my word for the year was ‘soft’. I still call upon this word when I feel my heart settling into its familiar hardening, willing my soul to soften and my flesh to embrace its weakness and need for others. Mothering has forced me to soften. It’s provided me three tiny sponges, ready to soak up and absorb whatever I pour out – whether sweet or bitter. It’s provided me three tiny mirrors, reflecting the good and the ugly of my actions. It’s provided me three tiny humans, rubbing me as sandpaper, and I’ve found that softening comes more easily when I give into the grit.
Hardness happens when we fight against that which is intended to make us soft.
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