Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Long Days, Short Years

By Jenna Bullard

I’m a mom, just like many of you. I wake up each morning to make breakfasts, prepare lunches, look for ALL THE LOST THINGS, make sure everyone’s dressed, mostly-clean, and on time to school. I chauffeur kids to their various activities throughout the day, schedule appointments, and set up play dates. In my spare time, I fold mountains of clothes (that never seem to get put away), wash dishes for collectively three solid hours, and tackle homework, and bath times, and reading, and bedtime. Every. Single. Day. Sound familiar?

Somehow, during this same busy day, it’s also necessary to squeeze in the incredibly important tasks of teaching, instructing, and disciplining the tiny people my husband and I will someday loose on this Earth. (Hopefully, we will get the aforementioned mooning situation taken care of before that time comes…). On top of that, time must be intentionally carved out to talk with them, and play with them, and meet their individual needs, and so on. 

This job is no joke, and there is nothing I would rather be pouring my heart and life into every day. 

And sometimes, at least twice a week, I feel that I even do most of it well.

However, on many days I mess it all up, leave out important parts, selfishly refuse to put anyone and everyone before myself, and honestly do a bang-up, lousy job all around. These are usually the days when the tremendous expectations of my day-to-day life with two (almost three) kids, a husband, a cat, and a PUPPY (WHOSE IDEA WAS THIS?) feel like it’s just too much, and I feel overwhelmed. Cue the water works, the snappy tones, and the general unpleasantness. Also, the apologies, because Mommy is still learning, too.

It’s on these days I have to remind myself that in this season of our lives, our days are long but our years are breathtakingly short. Our son, Jaxon, is nearly eight years old, and I cannot for the life of me recall how that happened. He’s only in second grade, but I feel I will blink and he’ll be leaving for college. My chest tightens when I think he is already half way through elementary school. He is bright, and thoughtful, and does things in his own unique ways:

Our daughter, Jovie, is nearly 4, and so often I catch myself trying to lock little pieces of her away in my memory: her sweet smile, her laugh, her endearing way of requesting “yucky chaums” for breakfast. She changes every day, and I am terrified I will forget these tiny things that make her special. She is determined, and caring, and also deeply involved in many of our more challenging days:

Though I love these babies fiercely, sometimes our days together are hard, and it feels like bedtime will never come. And other days, I feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to soak up all the things I adore about each one. In our whopping eight years of parenting, there have been countless times of frustration, exhaustion, stress, failure, and discouragement, and there have been times when it was hard to not wish away the phases, ages, and years that are difficult to trudge through. (Seriously, potty training—I think every parent would like a fast-forward button for that *blissful* time.) However, it’s in these moments when God often speaks so clearly and gently to my heart, reminding me that once these precious babies are grown up. We will never get these moments back.

Whether good or bad, we will never get to live this day again.

With this in mind, I find that it’s much easier for me to deal with the tantrums, the arguments, the neediness, the spills, the tediousness, and the challenges of any given day. At the same time, it helps me to better appreciate the good days, the happy moments, and to be more present, more attentive, and more thankful for our times together. Lately, I have made it my goal to find the good in my day-to-day, and the reasons to laugh on the days when everything seems to be falling apart. It’s not all that difficult, and I think it may be making all the difference. 

It’s still a chaotic mess over here, but it’s my mess and I love the role I get to play in it. 

A lot of it comes down to our perspectives, Mamas. Be encouraged-- the days are long, but looking back, the years are so, so short. Make the most of each one. We’ve got this.

Hi, I’m Jenna. I’m a wife, mother of (almost) three, and lover of books, crafts, birthdays, proper grammar, and really delicious doughnuts. I’m passionate about my people, my Jesus, and a regularly planned girls’ night.

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