Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Growing Up

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about how life is changing for our family and how our family dynamics have begun to change.  Oh, there's no major change on the horizon like moving to a new home (we did that last year) or having a baby (we did that the year before), but there are changes just the same.  Instead of being a family of babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, we are currently a family of toddlers, preschoolers, and older kids, and while having older kids is easier in so many ways, it brings its own share of insecurities.  

When we had only little ones,  I struggled with finding the time to do the simple things like shave my legs, vacuum the dining room, or return books at the library drop box.  Having to do all of those things on the same day  had the potential to send me into a panic.  Adding in extras like blogging or sewing were a luxurious bonus. 

When we had only little ones, I often didn't have enough hands to go around.  There was always someone to hold, someone who needed a mouth wiped, or someone with their hands in the bag of flour.  I often got touched out.  As much as I loved baby snuggles, I still wished for a full night of sleep without tiny arms flailing out and hitting me in the face. 

Transitioning into an "older" family means that I have helpers.  When I am getting everyone ready to go out for the day, Gavin takes Benjamin to the potty and Maddie finds Alaine's shoes while I make sure the diaper bag is ready to go.  Owen holds the back door open for us like a gentleman while someone grabs Alaine's hand as she walks down the deck steps.  When we get back home, Maddie sits in the car with a sleeping toddler while I unlock the door.  Gavin hangs all the coats back on hangers and everyone tucks their own gloves back into their hats before putting them into the bin that holds our winter gear.

I am still close enough to the hard(er) days to remember how they feel, but far enough away to look at them with  perspective.  I know how tiring and draining each day can feel, but I know how much joy the weeks bring and how quickly the years pass. 

The thing is, now I'm in new territory.  Though I'm still fully entrenched in the baby years, I'm also experiencing new hard things.  Now the trials are on a mental and emotional level.  Now I listen to made-up jokes and laugh even if they don't make sense.  I have to learn not to take it personally when someone sheds tears over a math lesson or doesn't want me to call them 'cute' anymore.  Now I have to figure out whether a stern word or a hug is more effective when someone has a unwarranted meltdown.  I go to bed wondering what my kids will think of me when they grow up.  I wonder if I bark out too many orders without taking time to listen.  Now I can't even resort to spelling when my husband and I are having a private discussion in front of the kids! 

So while I readily agree that it is easier being the mom of older kids, it's harder, too.  It reminds me of my own weakness.  It reminds me that Christ says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  I thank God for  His grace

{Read Amy's thoughts on this parenting transition, too: Like junior high, we hope the bad parts get forgotten.}


  1. Yes, yes, yes!!

    Great thoughts!!!! I think the "older" years can be just as tricky but in new and different ways.

    I was just thinking this morning that nothing brings me to my knees more than being a mama of many kiddos. I realize there is NO way I can do it on my own and it's only by His grace and mercy that I can do this motherhood stuff! So thankful for a God who knows all of our needs.

  2. i could've written this!! while i still have a little one, it's still 'weird' to have the older ones.and while it comes with new things and 'troubles' i'm enjoying not having a "baby-baby" to worry about. and not having to worry about waddling huge and pregnant. (which tells me that i'm done. whether it be for good, or for now, i'm done. ;) )

  3. I can completely relate, Kristin! I was just mind-boggled the other day when I realized my "baby" is going to be 7 in just a few short months. It's so hard to accept and honestly, it's given me a really bad case of baby fever. Eek! lol But my oldest is now 10 1/2 and I wonder how on earth I'm going to survive the teenage years. We've already dealt with so much in just the last year or two--walking that line between puberty and childhood innocence is difficult! It really makes me miss those days of diapers, baby babbles and tantrums. But it's not all bad. Sometimes I'm able to get a glimpse of the young woman she will be before I know it and it makes me proud (and sometimes scared). It's nice to be able to reason with them more (at least theoretically). As tough as it is, it's a relief when you see them becoming their own person with their own thoughts and ideas and knowing that you played a big role in shaping who they've become.


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