Friday, April 16, 2010

Large Family Bloggers - a call to stand in the gap!

I really love to read about large family logistics. I love reading blogs by moms of many! I have, however, noticed a discouraging gap in support for those who, like me, are the first generation to even think about letting God plan their family and are at the stage of only having toddlers, newborns, and buns in the oven. ;) It's so discouraging to go to large family blogs and find a few that seem to have this condescending air toward moms that don't yet have more than 4 or 5 kids as though they are not serious or are so pathetic for being so lost with so few kids. Or to blogs by moms who are purposely done with having kids by the 2nd or 3rd child and some have this attitude like 'Hey, if you were dumb enough to get pregnant again then you deserve to be run ragged.' There are many more blogs by women who seem to love the Lord than I had thought, and was again surprised to find that among all those there is surprisingly so little compassion and advice for the young growing family. Nobody tells you when you have 2 or 3 toddlers hanging off your ankles and are 6 months pregnant what you could be doing to help things go more smoothly or validates that there are unique challenges when you don't have any older kids or relatives to help out. You hear the "Give the older ones chores and have them help with the littles!" or "Let your family help you!" or "Combine preplannable tasks with friends!" but what if you don't have any of those options? What if there are no nearby likeminded people, no close family, and no older kids?
Speaking as a mom of a 1.5 year old, 3.5 year old and a bun in the oven, I feel like how can I hope for God to bless us with more children when I feel like I fail so very much in being organized and together with the ones I've got? I can't keep the house clean and have to start getting everyone ready 2-3 hours in advance to get anywhere on time. I try so hard and my kids are such sweethearts but they are toddlers (therefore messy, loud, and needy) and I have no family nearby, we have tried countless churches and left disheartened at the overwhelmingness of a church so large that you never see the same person twice, let alone fellowship! Or in smaller churches by the blatant sin and lack of love for the Lord. My nearest friend who doesn't work outside the home lives an hour away and has 3 kids 3 and under herself. I'm the only woman I know who wears a headcovering. I get dirty looks from strangers and aquaintances if my kids so much as step one toe out of line, and I have no mentors to turn to. For those in my boat it would be SO heartening if someone who has been there would validate that it's not supposed to be a smooth cakewalk when you are raising only babies and toddlers. That this is a stage of life and it has it's unique challenges, and that those challenges will get easier later as new ones begin- rather than it just getting more and more impossible and out of control with each child. That of course when you have 2 kids in diapers and one potty training and you're the only adult home to change or remind them it is going to take time and patience. That it's not a failure when you have a child going through a phase and your days are spent teaching and character training so your carpets don't get vaccumed as much and the sink is full of dirty dishes. It is the most heartbreakingly discouraging thing to be pouring your heart and soul into praying for your husband and children and loving, teaching, training, disciplining, and building up your children and then to have someone who seems so together and perfect come along and make you feel like you're going to hell (and pointing your babies that way) because you didn't wash dishes before bed between nursing sick kids and being "morning sick" yourself and listening to hubby tell about his day, or dinner last night came out of a box or can instead of made from fresh produce from the garden and wheat you ground yourself, or your living room looks like the toybox exploded. When that happens it really does so much for Satan's cause to discourage a young family from continuing to leave it up to God, out of fear of somehow wronging the babies they already have. Nothing says, "You won't make it. You aren't a fit parent. You should just give up now. We don't want you in our club. God doesn't want parents like you reproducing. You're dragging your kids down. You're a bad example to other parents." like someone who has been there and should be helpful and compassionate instead showing disgust for those problems that are so "beneath them" now.

So to those who are in the same boat as I am, with having only toddlers and under (whether you feel called to have more or not- it's still a tough age!), keep your eyes on Jesus! It may seem like things can only get crazier, and there is little Godly advice for us specifically, I know, but remember they don't stay little forever! As much as your overwhelmed tears are crying out that things are out of control and you can't do it, please keep in mind that no, we can't do it, but we can ask for the strength and wisdom from the One who can! We are not here to please other mothers, we are here to please our Creator. He won't give us blessings that He won't help us raise for Him if we keep our eyes on the goal! **HUGS**

And to my friends and acquaintances who are mom-of-many bloggers, this post is NOT an accusation! This is not to call someone out or make you think I'm pouting about being done wrong. Of the bloggers whom I have noticed the condescending trend among and I don't think any of them know I exist, let alone read my blog. The purpose of this post is to show a need and ask for help. If you have any advice or encouragement for those of us in this gap, then please share it! Please write blog posts that contain tips for young families too! Please encourage us and build us up! This can be such a fragile stage and you can be such a tool of God for encouragement and hope. Your words can make or break a newly budding conviction to leave the family planning to God. You have experience and even though I'm sure you don't have a magic formula written down somewhere for raising perfect kids, what you DO have is the chance to point the flashlight in the right direction for someone who is standing in the dark. So keep up the great work posting about large family logistics, and, if next time you're writing about meal planning you think of something that could help those with only toddlers, please mention it! It's wonderful to share big family meal strategies, but if you want to mention something you used to do that took stress off Mom and pleased both the hardworking hubby and the toothless tot crowd, please share! :) I look so forward to reading your posts about large family living, and would look forward to it even moreso (if that's possible! ;) ) if I thought there might be a tip in there that applies my budding family too.

6 comments:

  1. {{{Mirage}}}

    I DO remember those years, and yes, my family thought we were nuts for wanting more children, homeschooling, wearing dresses and headcovering...oh, yeah!

    I will reach back into "those years" and see if I can add tips for moms with only littles in my Friday posts!

    Thank you for posting on my blog, and for "sharing your heart" on yours!

    Oh, and I would be the LAST one to point any fingers about "not having it together"! :)


    HUGS!

    Trisch
    http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/neveradullmoment

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  2. Thank you so much Trisch! :) I look forward to reading more of your posts, especially the Friday ones! ;)

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  3. I remember those days all too well except then I had a horrible man in my life and was a teen. I had twin sons that were 2 and a newborn baby. That time in my life was no easy , nor did I plan that for my life. i got pregnant on bc. God had plans for my children and me.
    Now I have a wonderful husband, I did make it through that awful time and realize my children are what pulled me through that time in my life. My husband and I now have left things to God and have gone on to add 4 kids more plus one that is baking in the oven. God is good and he knows what he is doing Jess. Hang in there , I KNOW it is hard. You do have to just let some stuff go during this time in your life. YOU go through different seasons in your life. There will be a season where you house will be spotless, supper will be on the table at such and such time, dh will be totally taken care of, etc... but this is not the season. Hugs hun and I am here if you want to talk.

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  4. Hi there Mirage,

    All my kiddos (I have 6 so far) have been 2 1/2-3yrs apart.

    Life was was never to hectic for me...but I did suffer post partum depression after my 4th child.

    I had 4 boys age 8,5,3,and a baby.

    I think that one needs to evaluate what is not running smoothly in the schedule or day and come up with a plan that works for your needs!

    Its always changing....even for me today with 6 kiddos. I always have to revamp my plans and routines.
    My older kids do help with chores...that is when they are not off playing sports.
    The rythem of our day is differnt depending on what time of the year it is. So it seems each season I change our schedule/routine.

    Those of us that blog about our large families....well I can't speak for all but for me that is what I know right now (and I have only been bloging for 18 months)

    Due to the of the rythem of my home these days, I use my computer less.
    I can then better meet the needs of my kiddos and when I do blog I post pictures, its more of a scrape book for me....rather than blog a learning/teaching post.
    One day, I may again have more time to blog a meaty post, but for now things are the way they are.

    On another note:
    When finding a church to attend you should remember we are ALL sinners.
    Some folks are not as far on the journey in faith that you are.
    I don't think skiping from church to church is your answer....you need to find a church and stay through the ups and downs.
    (just my opinion....I say it lovingly). Toss it if you don't like it!

    Warm Blessings,
    Georgiann

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  5. Georgiann I don't mean skipping church just because not all the ladies wear dresses or something. I mean that either something creepy is going on or something that the Bible flat out calls an abomination like the pastor is a lesbian or something... I know you would not advocate us going to a church that spits in the face of God by excusing something the Bible plainly calls an abomination.
    I am usually chock full of ideas but when I'm frustrated and exhausted the idea well seems to dry up. Or you know how it is when you're too close to a situation and can't see as clearly? When my kids are going through their difficult phases it's hard to see clearly what I'm doing right and what I'm doing wrong because I'm just so sad that we are having problems at all because it hurts so to see my babies struggling. Revamping schedules only works until you run out of ideas, which is one reason I love reading blogs. I love to see what works for others in case there is something I'd like to test out in my home. I know someday I'll look back on these years with that 20-20 hindsight and see so clearly what I should have done differently and what I should not have doubted. Someday I will have that experience and wisdom that comes with having raised more children or for longer. My hope has always been to bless my husband and children and to bless women who are less experienced at something than I am. Right now one of my few claims to experience is crochet. I love to post about crochet on my blog and when I stumble across crochet questions by newbies to the art on forums and blogs I try to take the time to answer whenever I can. Someday I hope to be a blessing by encouraging not only my own daughters, but also other young ladies and newer moms who are where I am now in the spirit of Titus 2.

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  6. I sometimes think it must be nice to have had your kids a bit farther apart and/or to now have older kids to help out. But I dare not long for my kids to be older- they grow up much too fast as it is! ;) Although it would be nice to have some help once in a while. I know people who have kids 12-18 months apart and no older kids and no family nearby. I know that where you're at is where you're at and I wouldn't ask for large family bloggers to stop blogging what God has put on their hearts to blog. I would be horrified if that was the result of anything I said or did! I just thought that alot of times when we get so far down a certain road we forget how much of a blessing we could be to those who haven't gotten that far yet. For someone who is just learning how to cook, what an encouragement it would be for an experienced cook to tell them about the time they burned this or forgot the ingredient in that but now they know it by heart and don't forget. It's so easy to just blink at that inexperienced someone like they are slow and go, "Well just follow the recipe. It's not that hard." and forget that once upon a time we too put the noodles in before the water boiled or didn't realize that milk foams into a milk monster in the microwaive. The difficult part is to have compassion on those who don't know yet. It just takes extra energy to have to remember those feelings and be sympathetic. We have our recipes memorized now and don't want to stop cooking and give the step by step 'for dummies' version to some newbie who doesn't know a collander from a spatula. Maybe if she was our daughter because a daughter is a little piece of our own heart! But a stranger or aquaintance? Not so much. I was just pointing out a need because I know for alot of moms of many they would love to show the love of the Lord to some young struggling moms by taking a few extra minutes to remember the beginning and give a pointer or two. They just are where they are and didn't think about it. My point was just to say, for all us newer mommies, "Hi there! We're the newer moms, not where you are at yet! You make it look so easy! Please help us out! Tell us you're not superhuman. Teach us what you've learned along the road. Encourage us in the right direction! Don't forget us back here in the dark..."

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