This Too Shall Pass
I was talking on the phone yesterday with a good friend of mine. She has three kids, including a five-month old baby. We were talking about how difficult it is to juggle the kids, keep the house clean; stay organized … all the things that are expected of us as mothers. She’s feeling overwhelmed, scattered, disorganized … we’ve all been there. She asked me how I manage with four kids and I didn’t know what to say. We all just do the best we can do, praying that it’s enough to keep us going. I wished so much that I could reach through the phone and give her a big hug. My heart ached as I listened to her describe her life and how overwhelming it is right now, mostly because I understood it wholeheartedly. As we ended our conversation, I said “remember … this too shall pass”.
I never used to believe that saying. It’s hard to imagine the light at the end of the tunnel when you’re in the midst of the struggle. I heard that phrase from experienced mothers the most when Cole and Bella were newborns and I quickly realized I was in over my head as a first-time mother to twins. At that time, I couldn’t imagine things ever getting better … or easier, for that matter. But eventually, as time went on, things did become somewhat easier. Not easier in the sense that parenting was a breeze all of a sudden but easier in the sense that I was now more confident in my mothering skills. There came a time where one of them would cry and I would know exactly what they needed. I was finally starting to understand what everyone meant by “this too shall pass”.
Then came Garrett and Landon and my whole world was thrown upside down all over again. Just as I did when I was pregnant with Cole and Bella, I had a perception of what it would be like when Garrett and Landon entered the world and became part of our family. Then reality hit … and it hit me hard … right smack in the face. There were times when I would have it out with God … “I love each of my children and I’m so happy that you have blessed us but couldn’t You have just sent us one child at a time, instead of in pairs?”
In an old journal I used to keep, at the time, I wrote this:
“I feel ashamed to admit that I’ve been feeling very depressed and overwhelmed with everything in my life right now. I guess I had forgotten that around month four the babies are more aware of their surroundings and they don’t need as much sleep anymore … lots of new milestones are being met yet they’re frustrated still by the many things they cannot do. We’ve definitely hit that stage and there are times where I feel like I’m going to drop to the ground in complete exhaustion.
From sun-up to sun-down, it’s go-go-go … and then of course getting up one to two times each night with either one or both babies or Cole or Bella had started taking its toll on me … so for the last few days I’ve been feeling depressed and I’ve been crying a lot over little tiny things …
Yesterday, I cried while switching the clothes from the washer to the dryer, just knowing that when it’s all dry I’ll have to find time to fold it and put it away … and this was after I had finally just folded and put away three other loads of laundry.
Last night, after all the kids were asleep, I took one look at the family room and the kitchen, which I had already cleaned three times earlier in the day, and saw the huge mess and broke down into tears …
I feel like I can’t keep up and that’s just on the good days. There are days where I say “screw this” and let the house fall to pieces and I don’t sweat the mess … but then there are days where my head is so fuzzy that I just want peace and calmness and it’s hard to get that when the house is completely messy and disorganized, after I’ve already cleaned it three times earlier that day.”
If someone had said “this too shall pass” to me at that time, I might have laughed. I might have cried. But God knows, I wouldn’t have found any comfort in hearing that little phrase. I had felt like I was just coming up for air and then sucked back under the water again, over and over. When was it supposed to pass? Was it ever going to get better? Easier?
At this point in time, I understand it completely. When you’re in the trenches and you feel like you’ll never see your way out, believe it or not, you will. It won’t happen in the blink of an eye because nothing comes easy in life. There are no shortcuts; there are no ways around it. You just simply have to pass through it and once you’re on the other side, that’s when you get it. Not that it ever really gets easier … different, yes … easier, no. No one ever said parenting is easy but for each stage of difficulty, you soon realize that you’ve survived yet another milestone, whether it be the colic, the teething, or the middle of the night feedings.
I finally believed “this too shall pass” one night awhile back when I had been up for an hour in the middle of the night rocking Landon back to sleep, as he had started experiencing separation anxiety. The only thing that got me through that stage was knowing it was temporary, that it would pass … I repeatedly muttered to myself “this too shall pass, this too shall pass”. And it did.
I have no idea what’s in store for me with the next stage of parenting, as is the same with my friend. Neither of us could possibly know what will happen next week, next month, or even next year.
But the one thing I do know is that if we believe “this too shall pass”, somehow the good times will far outweigh the tough times.