Friday, March 12, 2010

Finding Joy in the Exhaustion

The last year has been so crazy. Between July and December we had our fourth baby, put our house on the market again, started homeschooling, I started a book club, started instructing a women's fitness class, made a groom's cake (my first- it was soooo stressful!), was a bridesmaid, hosted a wedding shower, and threw two big birthday parties. Add in exercising 1-2 hours a day, holidays, and feeding and caring for five other people (including a colicky one who needed to eat every 3 hours), and you have a recipe for exhausted mommy.

Some of it was definitely self-induced, like the book club and the exercise class. In January I cut back on some of my commitments and exercise sessions so that I wouldn't feel so overwhelmed. Other things like the wedding events I wouldn't trade for anything- they were once in a lifetime things that I would never want to miss.

I'd love to say that homeschooling is just perfect. I'd be lying if I said I loved it. There are things I do like about it, such as the flexibility, the advanced level of teaching for the age range, and the sheltering aspect. The hard part is the managing of a home and two very needy little girls while trying to teach reading and math to two little boys who need constant help. The boys can't really work well without my continual direction, mostly because they can't really read yet, and they just need my help. The last month has gotten better for sure. God has been good to me.

The other day Kim from Life in a Shoe (mom of 10) wrote that it eventually gets easier, and that you won't be fighting falling into a teary heap on the kitchen floor. That's about where I am in this stage of motherhood. When people say, "Enjoy it- you're going to miss this," I think, there is no way on God's green earth that I will miss this. I practically can't wait for them to get big enough to do things for themselves. To never have to wipe up poop. Ever again.

But when it's quiet, I look at them, and I KNOW I'm going to forget the exhaustion and the tears and the feelings of defeat. I'm going to look at their precious chubby faces in pictures and remember how they would tell me I love you out of the blue. And how their eyes lit up at something as simple as a cookie. Their squeaky little voices, their high pitched giggles. The sweet, sad little weed flowers they brought me so proudly.

I've been praying so much for God to give me more joy during this time, to see what I should be enjoying, not just wading through, waiting for the next big thing. He has. It's a daily struggle, and I find myself crying out to Him for help and patience. Some days are better than others. This is harder than I ever expected it would be. But He is there. When I keep knocking on the door, when I keep seeking Him, He responds. My day is better, and I find His joy. He sustains me.

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