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.