Recently a mom asked me some pertinent questions about life with young children. As stay-at-home-mommies, we want our days to be filled with joy, love, contentment, and fulfillment. Over and over others tell us that the years when our children are little go by quickly and that we should be treasuring each day. However, we may feel that those giving us counsel have long forgotten the fatigue of being up in the night with babies and sick children, the drudgery of mundane household tasks, and the loneliness without adult companionship. Here is specifically what was asked:
“I have just two children. They are both very young, and I am very tired. I would love for our family to keep growing, and I dream of having LOTS of children, but I am worried about how I’m going to find the energy to keep up with everyone. I am having a hard time with my energy levels now. I do take naps nearly everyday. I am naturally a night owl, but would LOVE to be an early riser. I really need to get up earlier than everyone to get everything done in the day. But it seems hopeless to be able to do so. Do young children really take so much energy out of you like people say? I don’t like that excuse for being tired, but the daily chores of changing two diapers, changing two outfits, feeding two extra people, brushing mine and their teeth, and finally finishing about the time a snack or lunch is needed seems like it zaps my energy. Being overwhelmed when you are tired only makes things harder. I need some encouragement from those who have had their children close together, and any advice on how to keep myself healthy while having children and managing them.” A young mom (used with permission)
“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31). I believe this verse is a key to the energy a mom needs when she has babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. Her strength comes from the Lord so that she can go through each day with high-energy children but not be weary or faint. This does not negate getting adequate rest, which I will discuss in part 2 of this Mom’s Corner series. However, it highlights the importance our daily relationship with Jesus Christ has on the practical aspects of having enough vigor for two small children and then perhaps even more children in the future.
Our daily lives involve a spiritual battlefield. These battles are waged in our minds, and they involve our thoughts. 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us: “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” I have a choice set before me. I can look at the tasks that fill my day in one of two ways: with a self focus or with gratitude. When I take my thoughts captive, I fill my mind with thankfulness to the Lord Jesus for my children and for the fact that I am able to stay home with them. I rejoice in the opportunity I have to influence my children for Christ every single day. I think about the provision He has made for me and view the responsibilities He has given me in my home with happiness.
I can also choose to allow negative thoughts to enslave my mind. Then I become discouraged thinking about being lonely, not liking to change diapers, wanting more sleep, or my lack of freedom. I am entangled by my mental decision that “it” is too hard, and I am too tired. Essentially I make myself discontent by choosing unhappiness, which causes me to feel like I have no energy because I don’t want to face that for which I am not pleased.
Practically speaking, I would encourage this mom to take her thoughts captive in this way: When it is teeth brushing time, praise Jesus for being home with the children to brush their teeth. Thank Him for the home He has provided and a husband who is supporting his family. Smile at the children as you brush their teeth. Tell them how much they are loved by you, how wonderful they are, how you delight in being their mommy, and how you are looking forward to seeing what the Lord Jesus is going to do with their lives. Sing to them.
Do the same when you are getting them dressed in the morning. Keep your thoughts on Jesus and His goodness to you while you are joyfully interacting with your children. Make your words pleasant and cheerful whether you really feel like it or not. In making this choice, I believe a mom is waiting on the Lord. She is following what she knows He wants her to do, and I think the result will be the energy she desires.
There will come times when a mom is emotionally feeling down and discouraged, perhaps because of hormones or from physically being tired. Then grab hold of the encouragement found in 2 Corinthians 12:9: “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” In the midst of discouragement or weariness, we can still choose what we will do with our thoughts, and I truly believe as we take them off of ourselves and put them on Jesus, we will, as Isaiah says, “mount up with wings as eagles.” In that process, Jesus gets all the glory because His grace was sufficient and His strength was made perfect in our weakness.
When a mom has only one or two small children, it is the time in her life to cultivate a moment-by-moment communication with Jesus. With few or no adult interactions during the day, she can continually be talking with the Lord Jesus Christ. This is a time to: memorize Scripture (Psalms 119:11), rejoice in the Lord always (Philippians 4:4), in everything give thanks (1 Thessalonians 5:18), not be anxious about anything (Philippians 4:6), be content (Philippians 4:11), do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me (Philippians 4:13). When my mind is filled with the Word, a desire to obey, and thoughts of Jesus, I am energized and joyful. It is during the moments when I start looking at myself that I become discouraged, and with the discouragement comes weariness.