Tag Archive: parents of small children


so more than 1000 people have viewed the post my friend Candi graciously shared with me about being a parent of small children when it doesn’t necessarily go well or feel good all of the time [which for this little blog is a lot of people which has been exciting to see and will hopefully continue to encourage those out there who may be struggling with some of the same stuff] and so this is a sequal of sorts to that.

firstly Candi has a recently started blog [with just one post] called Moments with a Mom, which she is hoping to write some more for and that first post is really worth a read so please go and check it out and leave some encouragement for her there if you appreciated her story at all.  

but then Candi sent me a video link for a 6 minute video clip by a woman called Nicole Johnson [who i had never heard of before so can’t verify whether any of the rest of her stuff is worth checking out or anything] titled ‘The Invisible Woman’ and so i watched it and it got me really close to tears [which as a lot of you know is quite a feat, altho it seems less and less these days, maybe i’m just being exposed to better stuff or maybe this old hard-hearted dude is finally softening a little?] and so i encourage you to watch it. 

i think it is specifically aimed at moms or maybe wives, but i think it’s a great piece for all of us to watch, just in terms of being aware of what we add to the ‘making someone feel invisible’ phenomenon, and also because i imagine each one of us feels a little invisible at some time or other and would love a friendly reminder from God or the people around us that we do matter, that we are seen. so give it a watch and i’d like to hear your thoughts afterwards:

 

 

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Candi Fourie

I met Candi as a friend of a friend a couple of years ago and then somewhere along the way we became friends as well which has been great. Candi has been married to Matt for coming up to four years on the 23 May. They have ‘two little ninjas’ – Noah who is nearly 4 and Tyla who is 2. I am really grateful to her for sharing some of her story as a parent of young children with us here:

‘People say that when you get married, you have to commit to “marrying” that person every day. I think it’s the same with motherhood. Making a decision to be a mother before you have your first born is one thing ~ but living in the throws of family life on a daily basis, I’ve had to certainly step back a couple of times and refocus my heart on my kids ~ re-commit myself to motherhood.
The wonderful thing about motherhood is that you don’t know how deep you’re in until you walk through your front door with a tiny, little human being and begin trying to piece the remnants of your life back together. Believe me, if I could’ve taken a ride forward in time and had a look at what my life would look like having a newborn, I might’ve needed a little more convincing!

You’re almost automatically hit by the fact that life as you knew it before, will never be as it was ~ and that’s crushing. Having had post natal depression with both of my kids, I can share that that valley is a dark one. I think the hardest thing is chatting to other moms who seem to have it all together and you feel like you’re struggling alone. Moms, who have their kids sleeping through WAY before mine did for example ~ I can’t understand how I got that wrong and my first born was and still is to this day, a terrible and very restless sleeper and he’s nearly 4!

As my kids get older, their lives get larger and oh boy, do they get louder. Sometimes, I feel like I live in a mosh pit of screaming, shouting, crying, juice-spilling, food-messing mayhem. There are times when I want to run to the bottom of my garden, rock myself in the foetal position and sing kumba-yah. Some people say that motherhood is the only place you experience heaven and hell at the same time. Just typing that, I feel like I’ve betrayed my kids in some way, that I’m not grateful for the amazing blessing my kids are. That’s completely untrue. It just means that it’s ok not to be ok sometimes.

It’s ok to feel like you’ve lost yourself in all things baby and forgotten who you are, before you had kids.

It’s ok to feel like life outside of your house or the baby’s room is carrying on without you and no-one knows you’re trapped in a time warp of continuous feeding, sleeping and nappy changing.

It’s ok to feel like you’re never having an uninterrupted night, working a 24 hour day shift, and HATING the fact that it feels like it’s never going to end!

It’s ok to have a living room that always seems to be invaded by Buzz Lightyear space ships, Barbie’s entire clothing wardrobe and shoe collection and you have to climb a Mount Everest of blocks and teddy bears just to find the couch. That’s of course assuming you have time to even sit on the couch, for longer than say, 8 seconds.

It’s ok to feel a sense of relief when your kids are tucked in bed (hopefully to sleep through the night, unless you’re in the same boat as I am! ) and you can sit and stare into space without anyone needing you to pour their juice, find their dummy or get them ready to bath or go to school or to their swimming lesson.

It’s ok to feel like all you ever do is plan your baby’s life, while yours takes the back seat. You plan the next nap time, plan the next gap you have to puree food for the next meal, plan the next shopping trip so that’s it’s in between a nap and meal. Basically, your day is dictated to by sleeping and eating patterns.

Motherhood has been my greatest blessing and at the same time, it’s been my biggest challenge. One of the greatest lessons I want to teach my kids is who they can most depend on in life, who they run to when they need comfort and who will never forsake them, no matter the cost. Of course, us moms fill that space without a hesitation but above us, there’s their Creator who loves them more than we can ever love them, even though that doesn’t seem possible sometimes. I want to teach my children that. But why don’t I ever take that lesson to heart and believe it when I have those “I-feel-I’m-not-coping-as-a-mom” moments? I’ve had nights when my kids were smaller, where I’ve actually called out loud to God ~ I’ve shouted at the top of my voice in the middle of the night, through tears “Jesus, I need you to help me ~ I can’t do this!”. Just admitting that I’m not ok to the One who loves me the most has brought me relief.

Vulnerability is the first step towards strength ~ as paradoxical as that may seem. I’ve realised that it’s ok not to be ok all the time. And it’s ok to admit it. I’m not a robot ~ I’m a mom.

“Being a mother is learning about strengths you didn’t know you had, and dealing with fears you didn’t know existed.” It’s 11pm, my four year old has just woken up for the second time tonight, and it looks like another long night ahead ~ bring it on, it’s game time.’

[Candi has a blog called Moments With A Mom which she has just started and so this mom needs some more moments to be able to post more there but go and check it out so long and encourage her and thank her for sharing this story with us. Click here to visit it.]

[Also Candi sent me a link to this video that makes her cry every time and which is a huge encouragement to mothers, and maybe every one of us – that you are not invisible]

[For another story of a parent of young children when it’s not that easy, meet Nicolette]

steve wiens

A direct share [thankx Steve!] of the blog post: To parents of small children: Let me be the one who says it out loud [March 12, 2013]

I am in a season of my life right now where I feel bone tired almost all of the time. Ragged, how-am-I-going-to-make-it-to-the-end-of-the-day, eyes burning exhausted.

I have three boys ages 5 and under. I’m not complaining about that. Well, maybe I am a little bit. But I know that there are people who would give anything for a house full of laughter and chaos. I was that person for years and years; the pain of infertility is stabbing and throbbing and constant. I remember allowing hope to rise and then seeing it crash all around me, month after month, for seven years. I am working on another post about infertility that will come at a later date.

But right now, in my actual life, I have three boys ages five and under. There are many moments where they are utterly delightful, like last week when Isaac told my sister-in-law that “My daddy has hair all over.” Or when Elijah put a green washcloth over his chin and cheeks, and proudly declared, “Daddy! I have a beard just like you!” Or when Ben sneaks downstairs in the morning before the other boys do, smiles at me, and says, “Daddy and Ben time.”

But there are also many moments when I have no idea how I’m going to make it until their bedtime. The constant demands, the needs, and the fighting are fingernails across the chalkboard every single day.

One of my children is for sure going to be the next Steve Jobs. I now have immense empathy for his parents. He has a precise vision of what he wants — exactly that way and no other way. Sometimes it’s the way his plate needs to be centered exactly to his chair, or how his socks go on, or exactly how the picture of the pink dolphin needs to look – with brave eyes, not sad eyes, daddy! He is a laser beam, and he is not satisfied until it’s exactly right.

I have to confess that sometimes the sound of his screaming drives me to hide in the pantry. And I will neither confirm nor deny that while in there, I compulsively eat chips and/or dark chocolate.

There are people who say this to me:

“You should enjoy every moment now! They grow up so fast!”

I usually smile and give some sort of guffaw, but inside, I secretly want to hold them under water. Just for a minute or so. Just until they panic a little.

If you have friends with small children — especially if your children are now teenagers or if they’re grown – please vow to me right now that you will never say this to them. Not because it’s not true, but because it really, really doesn’t help.

We know it’s true that they grow up too fast. But feeling like I have to enjoy every moment doesn’t feel like a gift, it feels like one more thing that is impossible to do, and right now, that list is way too long. Not every moment is enjoyable as a parent; it wasn’t for you, and it isn’t for me. You just have obviously forgotten. I can forgive you for that. But if you tell me to enjoy every moment one more time, I will need to break up with you.

If you are a parent of small children, you know that there are moments of spectacular delight, and you can’t believe you get to be around these little people. But let me be the one who says the following things out loud:

You are not a terrible parent if you can’t figure out a way for your children to eat as healthy as your friend’s children do. She’s obviously using a bizarre and probably illegal form of hypnotism.

You are not a terrible parent if you yell at your kids sometimes. You have little dictators living in your house. If someone else talked to you like that, they’d be put in prison.

You are not a terrible parent if you can’t figure out how to calmly give them appropriate consequences in real time for every single act of terrorism that they so creatively devise.

You are not a terrible parent if you’d rather be at work.

You are not a terrible parent if you just can’t wait for them to go to bed.

You are not a terrible parent if the sound of their voices sometimes makes you want to drink and never stop.

You’re not a terrible parent.

You’re an actual parent with limits. You cannot do it all. We all need to admit that one of the casualties specific to our information saturated culture is that we have sky-scraper standards for parenting, where we feel like we’re failing horribly if we feed our children chicken nuggets and we let them watch TV in the morning.

One of the reasons we are so exhausted is that we are oversaturated with information about the kind of parents we should be.

So maybe it’s time to stop reading the blogs that tell you how to raise the next President who knows how to read when she’s three and who cooks, not only eats, her vegetables. Maybe it’s time to embrace being the kind of parent who says sorry when you yell. Who models what it’s like to take time for yourself. Who asks God to help you to be a better version of the person that you actually are, not for more strength to be an ideal parent.

So the next time you see your friends with small children with that foggy and desperate look in their eyes, order them a pizza and send it to their house that night. Volunteer to take their kids for a few hours so they can be alone in their own house and have sex when they’re not so tired, for heaven’s sake. Put your hand on their shoulder, look them in the eyes, and tell them that they’re doing a good job. Just don’t freak out if they start weeping uncontrollably. Most of the time, we feel like we’re botching the whole deal and our kids will turn into horrible criminals who hate us and will never want to be around us when they’re older.

You’re bone tired. I’m not sure when it’s going to get better. Today might be a good day or it might be the day that you lost it in a way that surprised even yourself.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

You’re not alone.

[for the link to Steve’s original blog post and access to his blog, click here]

[For another story of a parent of young children when it’s not so easy, meet Candi]

This is not a topic i have a lot of personal experience of. Or any. The beautiful Val [tbV] and my philosophy about children is that we enjoy other peoples and the opportunity to give them back to them at the end of the day. We enjoy kids but we don’t particularly want our own. But we also understand that for a lot of people [perhaps the majority of people who are married?] having children is one of the biggest things in their life, especially for many who have wanted kids their whole life, even some of them from when they were kids.

We have both babysat kids though and we have witnessed kid tantrums [with kids of strangers and also with kids of parents we know] and i was a primary school teacher and did a year’s worth of practical teaching at least and we have both been involved with kids on camps and in holiday clubs and in many other shapes and forms. We get that sometimes [hopefully mostly?] they’re amazing. They’re like little people. Oh wait that’s exactly what they are. But little people who require a lot of love and grace and energy and patience and forgiveness and a whole lot of other stuff.

not always a bundle of joy?

And so we get that it’s not always easy. And for some of you there may be whole periods where it seems like it is never easy. There are books that have been written but there is no real users manual. Each child is different, each family circumstance is different and so there is no one-size-fits-all in any aspect of raising children. I imagine for some parents out there, parenting [or trying ones best to parent] can be a really lonely, frustrating or at times paralysing thing. People tend to brag about how amazing and well-behaved and excellent their kids are as opposed to taking joy in sharing how difficult or frustrating or hurtful their kids can be. So i thought this might be a great topic to get some stories on here. I imagine there is some help for parents of small kids in the form of books or groups or workshops, but not everyone will necessarily have access to those.

So i wanted to chat to some of the parents of young children [talking under the age of about 8 here] that i know and see if i can get anyone to share on when being a parent of a young child, or young children was not so easy and if there was a way that they managed to get through it [if they have yet] to be able to share that and hopefully give some help or encouragement to those of you out there who may be struggling. Maybe just the notion that it’s okay to struggle. You are not alone:

First up i have this most excellent letter to Parents of Small Kids by Steve Wiens

Meet my friend Candi Fourie [includes Postnatal Depression]

Meet my friend Nicolette Ferreira [juggling work at home with looking after baby]

Meet Terran and Julie [and their FIVE!] and a really HONEST, raw and rough cry out from a parent

An excellent post and series from a number of my friends with crazily creative ideas for raising young children as world changers

To wives before you were ‘Mommy’ – an important reminder to both new moms and dads, by Becky Thompson

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