Wednesday, January 11, 2012

How to Survive Parenthood-with Lots of Trying

I am not only surviving parenthood, but actually enjoying it (well at least much of the time). What has helped me? Making connections and feeling like I am still a capable person, that and not worrying too much about the little things. I strongly believe the way to feel not buried by the demands of parenting is to connect with others that are treading through what sometimes feels like shark infested waters. It may be by joining a mom's club, finding a set of other parents to rotate play dates with, and it can even be finding a group of people going through the same stage as you online.
For me it means keeping connected to others who support and encourage me as a parent. Much of my time is spent at our church, which is not just a place to worship but serves as a sort of community center. There I have found a place where I am accepted and embraced for who I am and what I have to give, I am never judged but rather encouraged. I also have found a place where I can give back. If you are a stay at home mom, this in some way may seem like an insurmountable task. So you are thinking, why when I can barely have time to wipe my own rear would I be then giving even one more little shred to others? The reason is that in service you will find value, a sense of importance, and joy. Sometimes service can mean a break from the little ones too, which is another way to survive the early years. While I work with the steering team for our Mothers of Preschoolers group, my children are happily playing with friends in a safe environment and being cared for by someone other than me. I once was shown a comedy set on parenting and the woman said that people always say to parents of little ones, "Don't blink because they grow up so quickly." The comic said she promptly would begin to blink at her little children hoping for the hard days to pass. I think it best said that sometimes the days are long, but the years are short. Right now I am trying to embrace even the longest days even if it means having to reevaluate my actions as a mom on a regular basis. How do you not only survive but thrive through parenthood?

On a side note, a year and a half ago when I had a colicky newborn I could not have embraced motherhood like this, some seasons in parenting are more about survival than enjoyment.

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