Thursday, October 02, 2008


My friend, Thomas Dunbar sent me this column today and I found it very encouraging. Thank You Thomas!

Weekly column (Rachel Balducci)

When my four boys were very little, life was hard. While I remember being happy in those not-so-long-ago days, I also clearly remember the challenge that even ordinary tasks seemed to bring. Going to the grocery store was monumental, going to Mass felt next-to-impossible.Imagine the dismay I felt the day a friend with older children commented on the ease of my current situation."Enjoy it now," she said as I juggled my brood of boys, "because these are the good years. These years are fun!"I felt a sharp pang in my chest, a shortness of breath and possibly some dizziness. "Take me now, Jesus," I wanted to say, "because I just don't think I can handle too much more fun."If these are the good years, I remember thinking, how am I going to survive the tough ones? At that point in my life, my feet hit the ground running every single morning. In those days, I often felt like I was barely treading water. My lowest point was the day I stood in front of the door and refused to let Paul go to work, not without me. Of course I look back on those days with fondness – they were not terrible days. But they weren't always the most fun either. There were plenty of fun moments throughout each day, but some days I found those moments by sheer act of will. "I will be grateful in the midst of this child's meltdown," I would tell myself, "I will rejoice even though it takes me three hours to get everyone dressed and loaded in the car. "Despite my best efforts, I did not rejoice constantly. There were plenty of moments when I fought back tears, when I was exhausted and overwhelmed and envious of any mother whose children could follow her from point A to point B. "One day," I would dream with delight, "we will actually go places and the boys will do what I say and know how to act in public."And that day is (mostly) here. We made it. Now I look back on those years with the babies and toddlers and I marvel that we made it through. Those were very tough years, but they are somehow a part of our history. We made it through the bulk of our boys being babies and I now enjoy where we are immensely.These days, when I see a mother who is in the position I once was, I am quick to tell them that it does get easier. While I don't want to diminish the challenges of having older children, I think it's easy to forget how utterly exhausting it is when they are younger. A mother of toddlers does not need to hear that things are going to get worse – that does nothing to encourage her.I was telling a friend recently, she who has three little ones and is plowing through those same white-knuckle years, that it will get easier."I don't want to say it too often," I told her, "because I don't want you to feel bad about how tough it is for you right now."She loves her life, to be sure – she loves her job as a mother to these precious souls. But she suspects (and I confirmed) that she is absolutely in the trenches right now. She is in that stage where motherhood is very physical and exhausting. Of course I can still say that motherhood is very physical and exhausting, but not like those years. Because now, when we have places to go and things to do, it is not the overwhelming task that it once was.The days of babies and toddlers are indeed precious – the days of older children are a different, absolutely delightful stage to enjoy as well.


Julia said...

Thanks for posting this! It makes me feel better knowing I'm not alone with how I feel somedays!

The Rich Family said...

Julia, I thought this lady really hit home with what it is like to be a mother of toddlers! It is fun but challenging!