I have a few newcomers to the Mind in the Making read-along, so I want to give them a little time to catch up. We’ll pick up with Chapter 6 next week.
My grandmother is an amazing woman. Including my father, she raised 10 kids (7 of them boys). They were born so close together that it wasn’t uncommon to read in the local paper about a single-family triple play during the high school baseball games. Judging by how rowdy my dad and his siblings can be as a group of “mature professionals” (especially when those pinochle cards come out), I can only imagine what it was like to keep tabs on them as children and teenagers.
My mom once asked my grandma, “How did you do that?” My grandma’s reply was honest, “There are some things you do, and there are some things you endure.”
I’ve thought about this response many times as a young mother. There certainly are some things you simply endure. Wake up calls at 2-hour intervals. The stomach flu that winds its way through the whole family. Phases when tantrums become commonplace. Days when you’re not exactly your child’s favorite person. The key however, is not just to endure, but to endure it well.
I recently listened to a presenter speaking on this topic of enduring well, and while his audience was actually a group of teenagers, I felt his points were completely applicable to a parent’s scenario as well. His encouragement: In times of stress, keep perspective, and find the good.
We’ll be welcoming a new little one to our family soon, and while we’re all very excited about this new addition, one thing I never look forward to in those newborn months is those seemingly sleepless nights. I can still vividly remember wanting nothing more than to lay down and sleep until I was finished sleeping! And yet as vividly as I remember craving sleep, it almost seems like a lifetime ago that my growing boys were those newborn, sleep draining, babies.
With subsequent children it’s actually become a bit easier to get through those long nights as I have been able to remind myself that what feels like forever right now, really goes by so quickly. It doesn’t make me any less tired, but it helps me to know this isn’t a permanent situation.
There are a lot of parenting challenges that feel overwhelming and all-consuming in the moment, but in reality only last a short span. Potty training. Separation issues. Night time feedings. Stomach flu. Knowing these situations aren’t permanent gives us a little more patience and encouragement to endure well. To choose to be cheerful, and to choose to adapt.
I heard a song shortly after bringing my third son home from the hospital. Darius Rucker’s It Won’t Be Like This for Long captured where I was right in that moment. It was a reminder that throughout our children’s lives, the phrase would have a double meaning. Those difficult challenges won’t last forever. But likewise, our children won’t be little forever either. It’s a reminder to find joy, even in our challenges. We may be tempted to wish ourselves away from the struggles that come with young children, but the truth is it will change. Life will go on. Our kids will grow up. And we don’t want to miss it.
Find the Good
With perspective comes the ability to find the good, even in challenge. We can be grateful for the extra snuggling we get to do when sick spells come. We can see our child’s budding independence, though right now it leads to spilled cereal and mismatched socks. We can appreciate that the emotional teenager in the passenger’s seat trusts us enough to unload all that emotion. There’s a saying that, “A flower is a weed seen through joyful eyes.” When we focus on the positive, the negative begins to look smaller and becomes easier to face head on.
What have you learned that helps you to endure well? What challenges are you learning to endure well right now?