I’ve recently been taking a ride on the Overwhelmed Highway. My world feels like it’s spinning, and I am prone to motion sickness. Not a good combination.
It’s so hard for me to admit when I’m feeling overwhelmed. I like to put on a good face and encourage everyone else. I feel like admitting that I have days that feel crazy might discourage someone from wanting a large family or from homeschooling. That is usually the first conclusion that people jump to anyway:
- “Oh, you’re feeling overwhelmed, you should think about putting your kids in public school.”
- “You poor thing. I hope you aren’t thinking about having more kids. Five is too much. You know, there are things you can do to prevent ‘that.’”
Comments like that don’t really help. They usually lead me to my pantry to cry with my open container of Fig Newtons.
Everyone gets overwhelmed, right? I felt overwhelmed at times even before having kids! Back when I had baby #1, I felt overwhelmed, too. The year and eight weeks I had my kids in public school, I had moments where I felt overwhelmed.
I know it’s a season right now. Recovering from the 6-8 weeks of practically no sleep, doesn’t help things either. But like it or not, I have to get through this season. (I should note that our 2 month old is a great sleeper and my easiest baby, but still a new baby). :)
I feel like, overall, I’ve been managing things pretty well. But it just takes so little to knock me out of sorts and suddenly I lose control of the order, and then chaos ensues.
Where is this all rooting from? Well, having lots of kids and homeschooling! But lately so many other things have me spinning.
My house: I’m an organized person but right now my house doesn’t reflect that. Right now, well, it looks more like we are studying World War II in our home - a reenactment. And as silly as it might sound, I also feel like my cleaner only complicates my life. I have a cleaner who comes every other week. Yet, since the house doesn’t stay clean for two weeks, I’m still cleaning it. Plus, I have to clean up all the clutter and mess before she gets here (ironic, isn’t it). Cleaning is the easy part once all the clutter is picked up. Plus she comes early in the morning which makes for really crazy mornings. We have to strip beds, wash the sheets and get tidy, oh, and start school and all our other normal morning things.
Hosting friends & family: I love entertaining. & I love family and friends. It’s really not a burden at all to have people come and stay with us. But I do try to let things go (errands, emails, calls, etc.) while we have friends and family over, and that tends to get me behind on things that need to get done.
Kids: We have some discipline issues which need to get addressed. This is pretty normal when a new baby comes home. Everyone is so excited, but confused as to how their role changes and gets redefined. My 2 year old is no longer the baby. We tried to prep her for being a big sister, but until baby comes it’s not fully understood. All in all, we’ve let things slide and it’s time to get on top of it. This, of course, requires time and patience and a ton of consistency. Discipling (not just disciplining) takes time.
Homeschooling: Homeschooling is SO hard at this stage - toddler & newborn plus homeschooling kindergarten and 4th & 5th grade is tricky. Everyone needs help-and it seems they all need it at the same time. Mainly it’s my sweet 2 year old who makes things a bit complicated. That’s why I own almost ever homeschool conference CD on getting things done with toddlers.
Eating: I’ve quite the belly right now. Yes, I know it’s because I just had a baby, but my post-partum body is driving me crazy. I still look pregnant. I’m still nursing, so I can’t go too over board with my diet. But I can start eating with more moderation and not downing a 1/3 of a bag of double stuff Oreos. I know that’s not helping. I’m justifying the Oreos being in the house, because we are studying M for Moon. Nothing illustrates moon phases better than Oreos. :) Plus, my friend has gone gluten free not for weight loss or celiacs disease, but because our wheat is all contaminated with all the genetically modified chemicals. So, I thought to myself, “Am I poisoning my kids by giving them whole grain bread? Maybe I should go and get organic wheat berries. That way I can grind it and make our own bread.”...you know, with all the extra time I have on my hands.
Exercise (or lack there of it): I need to find time to walk or do something, too. It’s so good for my body, but also my overall mental health. Getting outside and moving always helps. But when time is short and my hubby is traveling, it’s hard to squeeze it in.
All that and throw in a building project in my backyard and my sweet, puppy of 12 years dying last week, and you have the perfect storm for being overwhelmed.
(I'm now thankful for the house alarm that was just installed, now that our guard dog is gone.)
So, where do I go from here? Well, right now I’m clinging to the Lord for strength and to His truth. He promises that He is strong in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9 & 10). People often misquote 1 Corinthians 10:13 when they say, “Oh, the Lord will never give you more than you can handle.” The truth is that He does! He specializes in that. He wants us to reach the end of our strength so we have to rely on His strength.
I’m just telling myself to take things one step at a time. Ask for help (& prayer) when I need it. & try to find the humor when the day throws a few wrenches into my schedule. And pray, pray, pray! His plan for the day, not mine.
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4: 8 & 9
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not one what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:17
(I think Paul was really tired when he wrote 2 Corinthians. So many great passages for me to glean from in this season.)
There is so much excitement and joy that comes with welcoming a new baby into the family. There is the thrill of, finally, no longer being pregnant. Those nine long months seem to be never ending. But then the moment comes when they place that swishy, curled-up, vernix covered little lump of love on your chest and your entire life changes. Like Dr. Seuss describes in How the Grinch Stole Christmas, your heart grows three sizes that day. Now I'm not suggesting that any of us started as the grinch when we become a mother for the first or fifth time. I'm simply saying that your capacity to love increases in some amazing, miraculous way! And really, isn't that the best way to describe what has just taken place? - A MIRACLE!! During my pregnancy I taught an anatomy class at our homeschool co-op to a group of 3rd-6th graders. It was a blast! Each week we tracked the growth and development of the baby growing and developing in me, along with learning about all the body systems and senses. Perfect timing for this anatomy teacher. I got to show them first hand God's most amazing miracle-the human body-as my belly got larger. Besides all the crazy jumping around I did upfront as I went through my power point fun facts, I tried to instill within them a sense of wonder for the human body and all its complexities and intricacies. I told them every class period that if they remembered nothing else, I wanted them to remember that beyond a shadow of a doubt, God created them!! No other answer exists for our source of existence! As we started the year, I put up a slide of random paint splattered on a canvas. I asked them if it was possible for that mess of colors to transform into the Mona Lisa....even after millions and trillions of years. They all laughed and replied "no!" Good answer. Then I put a picture of sand on the beach followed by an award-winning sand castle creation, and I asked them the same question. Is it possible for that sand to become that sand castle after millions of years of the tide rolling back and forth? "No!" More giggles. To drive my point home, I showed them a mountain side, asked my question, and then put up a photo of Mt. Rushmore. Is it possible to look at any of those masterpieces, the Mona Lisa, sand castle & Mt. Rushmore, and believe that they were without a creator? That they just happened? Of course not! Just looking at them you can see the intelligence and skill behind their design and construction. Lastly, I showed them a picture of a person and asked them if there was anyway to look at this human being, called the crown of creation in the Bible, and believe that anything other than a Creator could have caused its existence. NO! The human body is the most complex creation that has ever existed. The Bible says we are created in God's image. We have the ability to create, just like our Creator. No other creature in the world is able to create symphonies or novels or is capable of logical thought or complex calculations. DNA, the brain, the eyes, ears, heart, lungs, developing baby - every system and cell in our body is miraculous-even more complex than the Mona Lisa or Mt. Rushmore could ever be. And they all point to the fact that there is a Creator behind the creation. Fast forward to four weeks ago, when we got to hold for the first time our precious little baby girl after nine long months of waiting. My tiny crown of creation in my arms at last. We all marveled at how each ten fingers and ten toes could possibly be so little. Amazing! Welcoming our newest child into our family brought our count to 5. And despite the fact that I've been there and done that five times before, I'm still in awe of how the whole process comes together. From the excitement of the positive test, 3 long months of morning sickness, extra large baby bump (I was already pretty stretched out), nesting like crazy, labor and then finally delivery. God's design to bless us! A little miracle to hold.
"Children are a gift from the Lord..." Psalm 127: 3a