Parenthood is hard. It is also beautiful, joyful, and the greatest gift. But can be excruciatingly frustrating and hard. I am a mother to three boys ages 2-6 (I know, I am barely getting started). In parenthood (and life), there are seasons that feel difficult and seasons that feel lighter. Currently, this season feels heavy, an elephant sitting on my chest heavy.
I am blessed to stay home with my kids. For me, staying home truly was an answer to prayer. I am eternally grateful God provided that for our family. I know it is not for everyone, some women love to work full-time and don’t want to stay home, which is 100% okay. But for me, staying home was a gift from God.
A Hard Season
Fast forward to now. My husband wanted to switch jobs and God provided the perfect opportunity for him. However, a new job means new hours and new travel. My husband is currently on week two of traveling and we have another four weeks to go. He comes home Friday nights and leaves again Sunday nights. So we get to see him for 48 hours each weekend.
I am tending to my three needy children alone. If you are a parent you know just how exhausting it is to parent alone. Parenting is designed to be done as a team: mother and father, husband and wife. But instead, I am doing it all by myself. The work of two, by myself. I am up with the birds (actually, maybe before) when my two-year-old decides 6:00 am is a great time to greet the day. I am also up at 2:00 am and 4:00 am because kids don’t always make it through the night, and suddenly the day has begun.
There are school drop-offs, school pick-ups, soccer practices, play dates, forget cooking and cleaning for the next 6 weeks. If survival means a lot of chicken nuggets, so be it. Laundry has to be done, but it doesn’t have to be put away, right? The list goes on, the tasks pile up, and by the time I finally finish putting everyone to bed by 9:00 pm, I can barely keep my eyes open to finally decompress. It’s a hard season.
You Choose How You feel
One of the greatest gifts God gave us is freedom of choice. We get to choose our spouses, our jobs, our homes, our friends…OUR ATTITUDE. God gifted us with emotions to really feel our way through life, and we are the only ones that choose them. We control how we feel and how we react.
I can sit here and focus on just how much I miss my spouse, or how tired I am, or how I just want ONE SECOND to myself. I can choose to dwell on the hard and feed the negative emotions. OR…
I can CHOOSE JOY. I can choose to look at things from a different perspective. And then I can realize that although I am tired, we are all healthy! We are thriving! Some people cannot say the same.
We have the choice to reframe our negative thought patterns and renew our minds (see Romans 12:2). Instead of saying, “I am alone while my husband isn’t even here to help me.” I can say, “Both of us are working so hard for our family. I am so blessed to have a hardworking spouse, and I know this hard season isn’t going to last forever.”
When we look at our problems from a place of gratitude instead of a place of grumbling, we learn to embrace the bad with the good. We realize, “Maybe this thing that I thought was bringing me down is actually an opportunity to grow in faith and trust.” Growth is not easy and we humans don’t like change. But when we focus on the blessing on the other side of the trial we realize we can do hard things (see Philippians 4:13).
Your issues might be a lot bigger than mine because I realize in the grand scheme of life, mine are minuscule. Or maybe you’re another parent struggling to find the joy, or maybe you’re actually in an easy season right now. Wherever you may be, focus on the growth. I encourage you to challenge your thoughts, to reframe negativity, and renew your mind. Find the blessings. Embrace the hard. God is with us and will guide us through it, we just have to open our eyes and see it.