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Monday, August 5, 2013

To Moms of One or Two Children

How do you do it?

I've never counted, but I imagine the number of times I've been asked that question by Moms with one or two children is somewhere in the hundreds. I have five children, and judging by the look on the tired and weary faces that pose the question, that number seems simply impossible.

How do you do it?

Those are five loaded words. I suppose because the "it" behind that question is different for everyone.

How do you care for five little people?
How do you operate on little sleep?
How do you keep them safe?
How do you find time to do the laundry?
How do you afford them?
How do you keep from losing your ever-loving mind?

Mommas of one and two children - I understand every one of these questions. And, I understand just where you're coming from.

There are some things I want you to know about me. About children. About this journey through motherhood that we're both on.

If no one has ever told you...

1. You are maxed out - emotionally and physically - at the number of children you currently have. When I had my two-month old baby Jack, I sat on the edge of my bed and cried like a toddler who dropped her brand new ice cream cone because I thought my life was over. O-VER! This baby child, my supposed dream come true, wanted to wake up in the middle of the night and feed off of me, and all I wanted was to sleep. Baby "Not What I'd Read" would sleep, sleep, sleep all morning while I did dishes and caught up on laundry, but NOOOOOOO way I was gettin' a nap in the afternoon when all of that was finished.

The first time I went to Target with him, I took so much gear with me (I took my Boppy, people), that after I loaded up the cart with him and my gear, I couldn't buy anything because nothing fit.

I was completely overwhelmed. And, then he grew into a mobile baby and I thought it would be a good idea to get pregnant again so that while he was ripping everything out of the cabinets, bleeding from the mouth from playing bumper cars with the coffee table, eating the sofa, crawling the stairs to plummet to his demise, and licking the electrical outlets, I could also be barfing.

And, he still didn't sleep.

And, then his brother arrived. Eighteen months after he was born. And, I had no idea how people could possibly care for two children. Who are these LUNATICS who have a ton of children? How on earth am I supposed to nurse a newborn, and keep my maniac toddler from imminent death?

I was maxed out. It was one of the hardest times of my life - caring for one and then eighteen months later, two of them.

Moms of one and two children - You are doing HARD work. It is overwhelming and completely exhausting and figuring it all out is some of the most physically, mentally, emotionally demanding, and heart-wrenching work you will ever do. I know you are maxed out - in every way. And, I tell you this, not as someone who is patting you on the back and looking at you with condescending pity, but as someone who KNOWS how hard you are working and how taxing this season is on you. But, there is hope. It does get easier. Not because a light bulb goes off one day and you figure it all out.

But, because...

2. You will find your way. Your way. Not your Mom's way. Not Granny's way. Not pushy Aunt Bertie's way.

Your way.

What worked for your mom, Granny, and Aunt Bertie may simply not work for you. I LOVE hearing the wisdom and experiences from the older women in my life, but I HAVE to sift through their advice and experiences and choices to find what really helps me and what doesn't. Not only are children all different, but mothers are different. We tick and tock to different beats - some of us slower and some on hyperspeed, some on schedules and some just wingin' it. (I'm the latter, Lord help me.) As you get to know your children and build your home life, you will find what works for you. You will. And, letting go of the expectations of others is a BIG part of that. Pull what works for you. Respectfully let go of the rest.

This applies to friendships as well. Do you know who my best friends are? The ones that I lean on and trust and cry to and share with? They are my friends who insist, along with me, that there is no one way to do something. I have a very difficult time developing and maintaining friendships with people who have found THE ONE AND ONLY WAY to do something.

"OMG, you gave him PEANUT BUTTER at TEN MONTHS?"
"You don't have a laundry day???"
"Three year-olds should never still be in diapers."

No. We cannot be friends. Not close friends. Not cry on your shoulder friends.

As you find your way, quick-steppin' to a groove with those babies dancin' along with you, I've got some really, really, really good news...

3. It gets easier. If you let God get bigger.

I now have five children. And, I'm maxed out. Totally maxed out. Just like I was when I had one. And two and three and four.

But, mothering is easier for me now than it used to be. For one reason:

I need God more.

I need Him in the morning. At noon. And at night. I need Him to wipe my tears when my baby won't let me sleep at night. I need Him to calm my heart when I'm changing bed sheets at 2am. I need Him to keep my children safe because I only have two hands and one set of eyes and crossing a parking lot means holding on tight but it also means letting go of "I can do this, I can do this" and trading it for "God, You are with me and You love them, too."

I need Him to help me trade my doing for His doing.

I need His patience.
I need His joy.
I need His love.

You know, I needed God when I had one and two children. But, I had all of this stuff - books and gear and Grannies and know-it-all voices and I had me.

So I flailed about amidst all of that and tried to raise my children in the Land of I Can Do This.

But, God has whittled away all of that other stuff. He's taught me that He loves my children more than I do, and He loves to hear my voice calling out to Him and letting Him fill me with strength and wisdom and love and joy for my children. I don't have it. But, He does.

So, Mommas of one or two littles afoot - when you ask me, "How do you do it?" - I know what you're asking. And, I know what you're feeling and what's behind your eyes and I walked in your shoes and you are doing the HARD, HARD stuff of motherhood.

It is not easier because you "only" have one child. Or two children.

But, as you find your way, and the more you let God be your strength and realize that you cannot in the many ways you think you can, it gets easier.

And, it gets so, so good.

422 comments:

  1. How I would like to have known you and listened to your wise advice 40 years ago. Took so much notice of what others felt I should do. Glad you are speaking out such wise words now and encouraging mums to enjoy their tinies.

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  2. Wow, thank you for this. This is perfect.

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  3. This is wonderful and so well put - thank you!

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  4. I'm a mom of 4 and this is true also the more you have the more they entertain and help with the others :)

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  5. I'm a mom of 4 and this is true also the more you have the more they entertain and help with the others :)

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  6. This blessed me in a way that I can't really communicate. These are the exact, and I do mean the very exact, words and thoughts I've been struggling through and processing lately. Thank you for this word, for this hope.

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  7. I loved the part when you mention crossing a parking lot! I get so much of "I can do it!" from my kids! And I have to because I literally have no other choice! Because there is only one of me! And so many times I find myself PRAYING "GOD! PLEASE PROTECT THEM WHEN I CAN NOT!"

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  8. Thank you! I have two right now and my husband and I are convinced we should leave # of children in God's hands. But lately I've been feeling scared of that since I feel overwhelmed b/w kids, working from home, homeschooling, house cleaning, etc. Your post is sooo refreshing and encouraging! I love your perspective!

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    1. Go for it! God will help you find your way. Children are a gift and you are a gift the them!

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    2. I also, work from home and home school and I just had #4, which is why I am awake at 2:40am! :) Half of my own family thinks I am crazy, but I know that I am doing what God has called ME to do, so who cares what anyone else thinks? HE will get you through it and bless you with it!

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  9. As a mother of two children, and a child of a large family - it's really just a way of being polite and sympathetic. Motherhood is hard - difficulty and challenge - is all relative. I can handle anything that comes my way because I am strong, I am woman and I am my mother's daughter. God didn't make me, my mother did.

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    1. Psalm 139:13,14 For Thou has possessed my inward parts; Thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are Thy works, and that my soul knoweth right well. Isaiah 44:2 Thus saith the Lord that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, who will help thee...

      Your mother helped shape your character and opinions, but she didn't make you. Only God gives life. We are nothing of ourselves...weak, without hope. God gives us His strength and His life and His hope of eternal life through Jesus Christ.

      Please be careful when attributing God's work to a mere human. He loves you and gave His only Son for you.

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    2. Please keep in mind that not everyone is religious -- We can agree to disagree about the source of life.

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    3. Thank you, Weadock Family -- We are NOTHING without GOD!!! He is the one who creates and forms each baby inside a mother's womb. You were so right in your reply.

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    4. I am not sure I can even take that comment serious with a login name like that.....just trying to ruffle feathers. Huh?

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    5. You mean "mefirstgimmegimme"? Is that in reference to the children or the mother?!? I see what you mean... primary example of our sin nature. We are all naturally self-centered, selfish, and sinners. That's where God comes in and makes us after His image. I, personally, can NOT do it on my own! I need God more and more each day as my two youngsters are entering ADULTHOOD!! WHoo-Hoo! I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!!

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    6. And yet- she had a very important point to make. Many times, when women ask this, it's not about the person asking, the person being asked, or the children. It is just a question people ask to make small talk.

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    7. Regardless of the login name, this woman makes a valid point. Kristina and Jennifer are also saying the same thing without the login name. Please tell me how a login name makes her comment any less valid than anyone else's. See, I was going to share this post with my friends - despite the religious nature at the end that I don't believe. However, the comments here have made me choose otherwise, because again, the nature of the religious undertones of this post have brought out the beast of judgement and condescending nature of those who follow this God who is supposed to be all inclusive and loving to all his creations. And here, we sit in this very thread on what is supposed to be an uplifting post and condemn someone for a difference of opinion. Well done, there, ladies. Way to represent your faith and drive more people away. I'm not trying to "ruffle feathers" here, I'm simply reminding you that you are not living your life according to the words you are so eloquently reciting. (PS. My login name will likely appear as my blog address, again, not to ruffle feathers, simply how I chose to login this comment.)

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    8. Exactly! She made a great point!

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  10. I'm a new mom of one 9 month old boy. It's been a rough few months filled with illness, teething, and letting him learn to do things on his own even though he gets oh so frustrated with himself. I needed to read that and I did, through tears. I've sat holding my screaming baby wondering while crying how on the earth am I going to get through this hour, this day, this week, and this month. I can do it, through God. Thank you for reminding me that, and for reminding me that each mother has been in my shoes and knows where I'm at. But most importantly, thank you for reminding me that God is with me, and He loves my son more than I do.

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    1. Hey, Christel. I read your post and just wanted you to know you aren't alone. I've got one child, 2 1/2 now, and i felt (some days still do) just like you. hang in there. praying for you tonight.

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  11. What a blessing to hear. Truly, the Lord has gifted you with His precious gifts because you are obedient to trusting Him! Thanks for the great encouragement!

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  12. Excellent, excellent!!! I only have two, but I have many friends with many more, and you are right. Excellent.

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  13. "there is no one way to do something."

    Amen!

    Since having a baby, I've learned that women are women's worst enemies. Sometimes, we totally pick on each other.

    You bottlefeed?
    What do you mean you are not going to homeschool?
    Don't you have your child on a schedule?
    My child fell asleep immediately. You mean yours doesn't?
    My child did *blank* at *blank* months. You mean yours doesn't do that yet?

    :)

    When other people try to tell me the "correct" way to do things, I try to smile and nod, but I have to admit, these are the people that I will probably be spending less time around. I like people who accept you for who you are. I don't have to agree with what you do to be your friend. If you wanna do XYZ, then great, as long as you don't tell me how to XYZ.

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  14. I really needed to hear this. I don't have children yet but for years I have let the fears of those first few questions keep me from trying I think. The fear of the unknown is what I call it. Not knowing how we can afford it. Will I be a bad mom if I have to work to make ends meet. How will I keep from losing my ever-loving mind. So to read this....it helps a lot. And I know the women you are talking about and I already see myself pulling away from them when the baby topic comes up between them and it's like they are comparing themselves to each other and I cannot take that at all and I don't even have a baby yet.

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    1. My husband old co-worker asked when we were going to have children almost 8 years ago, we told her when our bills were paid off and we could afford one. She went on to tell us that you will never pay off all your bills, you will never be able to afford one, just have one and things will fall into place. I can honestly say that for our family that is what happened. When we first had our son I worked nights and my husband worked days, it was tough but it didn't last long. I was making somewhere around $100/week, to us it wasn't worth the money for me to be gone at night. I have been a SAHM for 5 1/2 years now and I have been loving it. Now don't get me wrong there are days when I want to pull my hair out, I think that it would be better for my sanity for me to get a 'job'...but then I think of my 3 beautiful children God has blessed us with and it wouldn't be beneficial for them for me to be working. Now I'm not saying that 'working' moms are harming their children at all I grew up in a family where both parents worked...I was what you might call a latch-key kid, I know for our family that is not what we wanted. At the same time you could work mothers hours and be home when they are home. You just need to figure out what works best for you and your family. Just like the article says...I suggest you pray about it :) Best of luck in whatever path you and your husband may choose.

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  15. I just learned that I am due with our first in March 2014 and to be honest I am scared out of my mind. Your post really helped me put some things in perspective. Thanks!

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    1. Ariel,
      I felt the same way when I had my first child. I came from a big family but knew nothing about babies nor had I ever been a big"baby/kid person". I had always been terrified of labor andall that goes with it! I can tell you that Gods grace is good! I now have a daughter and a son and I can't imagine life without them. You learn how to care for them and while the first few days at home aren't the easiest God gives strength and love to care for the little ones. Don't be afraid to ask for help either. It is ok to say you need time for you. God gave you this baby and he doesn't leave us to care for them by ourself- he is there! Hope that helps!

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    2. Ariel,
      I felt the same way when I had my first child. I came from a big family but knew nothing about babies nor had I ever been a big"baby/kid person". I had always been terrified of labor andall that goes with it! I can tell you that Gods grace is good! I now have a daughter and a son and I can't imagine life without them. You learn how to care for them and while the first few days at home aren't the easiest God gives strength and love to care for the little ones. Don't be afraid to ask for help either. It is ok to say you need time for you. God gave you this baby and he doesn't leave us to care for them by ourself- he is there! Hope that helps!

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  16. excellent wisdom! Thanks for sharing this - I always say - Mommy knows best - God gives each of us the wisdom we need for each child He blesses us with!

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  18. As a mom to seven I wholeheartly say Amen!

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  19. I am forwarding this to my three daughters, each with children of their own. Thanks for voicing how I've felt about my motherhood experience for years!

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  20. Such an encouraging post. Thank you for putting these thoughts out there. I've sent this post to so many people. Maria - maxed out mother of one

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  21. This was so encouraging. I'm a mom to one (hopefully many more down the road, God willing), but I've thought many times that I didn't know if I could handle having a lot more because it seems so hard just having one. Thanks for sharing! I especially loved what you said about how it gets easier if you let God get bigger. Amen! Isn't that true for all areas of our lives? Thanks for the reminder.

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  22. I was just posting on a similar topic. We need to be so much more encouraging as moms to each other. The secret is, there is no secret. You survive and let go. Great post.

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  23. You said it soooo well!!! My children are grown now, but I can so relate, and remember well that my hands were full w/ one, and then with the other four and 3 step-children God later gave to me. And He provided, and we survived, and it's been a good journey if not always easy. He is faithful every step of the way.

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  24. Great post! Thanks so much.
    - Mama of two-year-old-twin boys

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  25. Thanks you so much for the encouragement! - mom of two year old, and due in a few weeks

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  26. What a *perfect* way to phrase it! I get this comment a lot too, and as a mom of four, I completely agree! My 1st was diagnosed with ADHD at 2 (2!! Does that EVER happen? Oh yeah, it does when they're as crazy as mine ;) ) My 2nd was a complete Momma's boy who woke up every 2 hours til he was 8 months old. (Will I ever know what a full night's sleep is again?) and my 3rd is a Sensory Seeking SPD kiddo who slams into walls for fun and can't shut off for bedtime. My brother's exact words when I got pregnant with #4 were "Have you *met* Wyatt???" (#3) So every time people ask me how I cope with 4 I think, "well, it wasn't any easier with 1, so what's the difference?" ;) Thanks for this great way to appreciate families of EVERY size!

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  27. Thank you so much for this. I am a mom of one VERY active boy. You are so right when you look to God for your strength and help throughout the day. With out God I would be a emotional mess and having moved across the country last summer to a place unknown and not knowing many people makes my need for God even stronger. God Bless you and your family.

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  28. I kind of feel sorry for the one/two children parents. I have watched five children grow up and had the opportunity to celebrate so many events with each. Graduations, birthdays, weddings, births. Where do I stop?

    But the one/two child parents. It seems they are so deprived. One graduation. One wedding. One Birthday a year. And one or two grandchildren, if they are lucky.

    "Children are a gift from God. They are His reward." - The Bible somewhere.

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    1. I may be sensitive but this is insulting. I don't have a large family because of infertility. Don't judge those who have less kids. It may be by choice or circumstance beyond their control.

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    2. I may be sensitive but this is insulting. I don't have a large family because of infertility. Don't judge those who have less kids. It may be by choice or circumstance beyond their control.

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    3. I too did not care for this comment. I have only one child, although she constantly begs me for a brother or sister :), and I had her later in life. Even though we did not try to prevent getting pregnant, we did not have any other children. Now my husband has passed away recently, and having any more children with him is not an option. Yes there is adoption, but that may not happen as a single parent who is not a celebrity, not to mention we have not fully healed from our loss yet. So... do not feel sorry for me, as I am very blessed by God with the one child He allowed me to have with my husband before he was gone.

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    4. Wow, Gert, you sound (unfortunately) like one of those people that the author mentioned she can't be good friends with. Your comment is hurtful on many levels. I pray that you consider that.

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    5. Gert,

      Don't feel bad for the parents of one & two children, because you are not GOD to judge! Thank GOD you're not a friend of these parents. Remember, Sarah, Rebekah, Hannah, Elizabeth were godly barren women of the BIBLE that GOD used to produce prophets & powerful men of GOD that assigned to do mighty things in the kingdom of GOD. For your information they are not deprived, they are privileged to be used by the GOD of Israel! You better read and study the Bible very well.

      Rebekah

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    6. Please don't feel sorry for me, but a bit of compassion would wonderful! Like other women here, I have only one (living) child due to loss and infertility. My heart ached for more children, especially after our son passed away, but it wasn't what God had in store for our family. Even so, I am just as blessed a mom with one child as others are with five, and I think that's the authors point. God knows just what he's doing when he builds a family, and I can rest in that ;)

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    7. Some of us are grateful to God for the One graduation, One wedding, One birthday a year ... when there was a time we wondered if we would have ANY.
      The "given" and the "not given" ... all from the hand of God, in his time.
      Grace and peace to you, friend.

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    8. As the middle of five kids, I can speak from the CHILD's perspective and NOT the parent's here....which in the end, really matters. My life was filled with leftovers. Left over patience, left over gifts, left over clothing, left over attention, and left over love. Whatever was left. Because let's face it, dedicating the greater portion of your time/love/energy goes to God, then your husband, then your kids. In that order. I was reared in a Christian home and thankful for such, but I can tell you without hesitation, my parents were not Charles and Carolyn Ingalls. I love them, they did the best they could, but the nature of the beast living in a big family is that you have to roll with crowd and hope for the best. So Gert, I would rather you NOT feel sorry for me because I have 2 kids but rather because I was one of five children.

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    9. No need to feel sorry for anyone with "only" one or two children. Everyone has their number. For some it's five, others three, and still others one. My number is ten. People might feel sorry for me, lol, but hey...it's MY number and I love it.

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    10. Gert, I do not want to judge what you said. Perhaps we have all misunderstood your intention. But if we have then you might want to explain or reword what you have said because it does come across as hurtful. I have three grown children. From the time I was a little girl I wanted lots and lots of babies/children. After our salvation, we felt we should leave the number of children we had to the Lord. We did, and He gave us two more and then, no more. Since as a child I desired many children it was very easy for me to "leave it to the Lord" and I often felt guilty for this.When you want at least six but actually alot more it is not hard to surrender control. God did give us the amount of children He intended for us, three wonderful children.Having as many children as the Lord wills does not necessarily mean having many children. Do you not think that the woman desperate to have a baby or more babies is not leaving it to God? She is begging God, pleading with Him to open her womb. I would be sinning if I felt God had not blessed my husband and me with our three. I know there are challenges in large families, but there are challenges in having none, one, two or three also. One of those challenges is having a desire for more but God saying, "No." We said in our hearts, "God, we will accept as many as you give us." And God essentially "said" to us in our hearts, "I give you three." Thank you, Lord! Christendom seems to err on the side of judging those of us with few or none, just as the world (and sometimes the Church, I am sad to say) judge those with 5 or more. Remember the women of old who were gifted one child. Ladies, please be careful what you say---you have no idea how even well-intentioned words can hurt.

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    11. Thank you, Kathi! I started this little thread about "feeling bad for people with 1 or 2 kids" immediately angry. My husband & I have 1 child (and 4 miscarries) and we have a child from a previous relationship (and 1 miscarry), and we are heart-broken. Especially since the last one ended in a ruptured, un-repairable Fallopian tube. I am defensive. I am heart-broken. I need to give it to God daily just to keep on keeping on. And I need to learn to hear God tell us we are where He wants us to be. My heart is a little bit softer now.

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    12. I have to admit that I read Gert's comments and felt hurt by them. I walked away, prayed and came back. I almost lost my own life when pregnant with our son. Our son passed away 8 days after being born. God gave us a miracle and we are now blessed with a daughter. In society's eyes, I am a mother of 1 because our son died. I did not have the option of having a 3rd child. The chances for my own survival during the pregnancy were slim. I would've loved to have 5 graduations, 5 weddings, etc. But God knows best. I would not trade the bond we have with our daughter. I love what God has created in our family. Having only 1 child at home is not easy. There is not a built in playgroup, you are the person to ride all the rides at the amusement park, go swimming and sacrifice starting supper for 10 more minutes of playing with Barbies. I applaud mother's of multiple children. Mother's with only 1 or 2 children should be applauded as well... just as the author stated.

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    13. I am sure that Gert was not trying to be hurtful, but emphasizing their appreciation for the bounty they were blessed with (although the poor wording may have struck others in an unintended way.) Let's give Gert a little grace and each rejoice in what the Lord has blessed us with, for truly "children are a gift from the Lord" (Ps 127:3), whether you have 1, or 20, or if you are just blessed to share in the gifts of others' children!

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    14. Thank you, Tami! That was exactly what I needed to hear. My heart is so full of gratitude. Thank you and thanks to the author!

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    15. Holly, I couldn't disagree with you more. I am from a family of five and have three children myself. We don't have a lot of money, but we have love! I loved getting hand me downs and never felt like I got leftovers because I am one of five. My heart goes out to those of you who struggle with fertility. We lost our first to miscarriage. We have been blessed with three but know many great mamas who would have loved five and could only have one. We have to be careful about judging how many children a family has, whether it is 1 or 10.

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    16. I agree that the comment about feeling sorry for people with few children was insensitive. But I want to address the biblical passage included with it. I just read it this morning in the Bible, before reading this thread, and I thought about how it could be difficult to read for people who experience infertility. But God is not insensitive to your pain. There are many passages in the Bible that show God's special tenderness toward people who struggle with infertility. This passage just happens to be directed toward people who do have children and are stressed out and struggling, to remind them in the midst of their chaos and fear that these little ones are a blessing and that He is going to provide for their needs. So I hope you won't mistake the insensitivity of the person who made the comment for insensitivity on God's part. He cares deeply about what each of his children is going through.

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    17. As a mother of only one child, I was hurt by some of those comments. Whether it's due to infertility, health issues, or not, some families just are not meant to be larger. That is all part of God's plan. That doesn't mean I am less called to be a mom or anything like that. It means that there are also other things that my husband and I are called to do. I treasure the one birthday a year, the one first day of Kindergarten, etc. I also treasure that because I have only one child she can spend quality time with other members of the family and have neat experiences that she might not otherwise have in a larger family. My small family of 3 has as much love as a much larger family.

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    18. From a child's perspective--my two older brothers were way older than me (I was an "end of the line" baby), and so they were grown before I turned seven years old. I LOVED being an "only child!" My mother asked me after they were grown if I wanted a baby brother or sister, and I was like "NO!!!" I loved having all of my parents' attention, and I loved being by myself and playing my own games and yes, not having to share. We had a big extended family so I had lots of cousins to play with if I got lonely--which was seldom. I had such a great time and developed such a great imagination from being left to my own devices; as well as extremely good social skills and a large vocabulary since I was frequently around adults and not children (when school wasn't in). I'm not saying having a big family is bad--believe me, I'm not--but I AM saying that sometimes God knows where a child should be in a family--for me, it was by myself. So don't feel sorry for kids who are "only-lies" or who only have one other sibling. Some of us like it that way. :D

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    19. It sounds like a lot of the respondents also feel some sorrow or loss at not being able to have more than one or two so I don't understand the dislike for Gert's comment. Multiple posters responded they wanted more children (as Gert suggests is a nice thing to have) but were unable to; some even seem to feel a bit sorry for themselves perhaps (as does Gert mention she is for them.) When I read it I see a person wants other people to be able to have the joy she did celebrating many birthdays, many graduations and then hopefully many grandchildren. I can understand the sentiment. I wanted a large family (coming from a small one) because I always loved the extended family with more people; it made celebrations seem more celebratory to me as a child.
      Also having more than two, two is easier in many ways. It's not that it isn't hard sometimes to have two, especially littles, and I know nothing of raising an only, but the multiple number does add to many things, the work and the love of course among them.
      Sure many people probably appreciate the one on one or one on two adult attention their kids are more likely to receive in a smaller family or the kids more new clothes, less sharing (who doesn't like less sharing at times)maybe even bigger birthday parties because there are fewer or just the idea that something is more special because it is rarer - the arguments for small or large families can be made either way as shown by the responses above.
      I think my take away from this article is to encourage mothers of small families first that God is able to supply and their sacrifices are not nullified just because others have more and manage, and secondly because God is able to supply moms of one or two or many do manage as God strengthens and grows and loves all of them. He is the ultimate mother hen for us and our children.

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  29. Love this...I had 4 kiddos in 3 years and I get the loaded question constantly...and I always want them to know it is no easier/harder with less...motherhood is tough stuff but it has totally grown my relationship with the Lord. Beautifully written :)

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  30. Five children raised. Twelve grands with one on the way. One of my five not married yet so I could end up with a few more grands. :)
    You are right. God is able.
    I realized early on that my unique gift to the Kingdom of God was my children. 1 girl and 4 boys. I really wanted another girl, but I prayed that God would give me the child He needed in His Kingdom.
    What this world needs now is more families raising more kids to love and serve Jesus.

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    1. "I prayed that God would give me the child He needed in His Kingdom." This is very profound to me and I will be praying it from now on. Thank you so much:)

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    2. Oh, yes, I will start praying this, too. With my first, I prayed for an easy baby because I didn't think I could handle a high-needs one, and I'm kind of glad I did because he was an easy child in a difficult season and it felt like all I was able to manage. But I don't feel quite right about praying a prayer like that for my second, I feel like I need to trust that God knows what I need, and if a high-needs or challenging child is what I need to grow, or what the Kingdom needs, like you said, then I don't want to wish for less than God's best.

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  31. Thank You, great reminder. Brought peace to my heart today. I have 3 that I am currently struggling with. I still feel like there is one more but this year I guess instead of having a baby I get to be Mrs. U.S. Ambassador with my motivational speaking program for youth Iam creating. Trying to balance business and parenting has been hard, I haven't figured it out yet. But I know I will get it. God had big plans for my life that involved more then just being a mommy. So he will help me. HUGS~Tina

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  32. Can we be friends??!!!! The best blog post I may have ever read!!!!! My first two were 19 months apart and it was SUPER hard! Then I lost a baby girl, then had twins, then had a singleton ... 5 boys in 6 years. Everything you wrote is MY LIFE EXACTLY. And the most important part... I really needed the reminder that God is with me and helping me. I know that and I want that but too often I try it on my own. Seriously, lets be friends. ;) Thanks again!

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  33. Thank you! As a mother of four I get asked the same question and feel the same way! Thanks for sharing!

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  34. Thank you. I have a singleton 6yo girl. I go to bed each night thinking of all my failures with her. To be honest, I contantly think I should be "fine" because I have one child, and most likely she will always be an only child because I am 46. I compare myself to families with lots (2+) of kids and sometimes feel insecure. Both hubby and I come from families of 5+ so I just never thought it would be this way.

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    1. Every family is unique and so often our plans come out so different from what we had envisioned. Our society is extremely guilt oriented and its easy to lay awake and think of the failures in the day. If it's making you a better Mom, then you have balance. If it's adding stress in your life, find a way to let go. Here's two things I found helpful because I struggle with insecurity too. They helped my parenting tremendously. Follow Sarah's advice about friends. Stop reading parenting magazines! Like Sarah said, find your own way and listen to your pediatrician of course. There is too much focus on what we need to buy and what we need to do to have perfect children. Really, just love your sweet singleton. Nurture her. Comfort her. Then there will be a cushion of grace for all the other "life" that happens to her. Take advantage of all the benefits that having a singleton offers you and DO NOT feel guilty about that. Enjoy her and don't look back. Many blessings to you!

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  35. PS. I have never read ANYONE write about one kid. Thank you.

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    1. Read the book "One Child By Choice". It is great to hear from all perspectives. A family is a family no matter what the size.

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    2. I'm writing about one kid right now. My blog is full of this one kid. The only kid we will be having. Your trials and worries are the same as any mother, with any number of kids, Kat. Don't be insecure, your family is what you make it. Love your child and let that child know they are as unique and special as your family. All parents are worried and guilty they aren't doing right by their children. In the end, no one parent is perfect and no one family fits all people. It doesn't matter the number of children you have in your family the trials and triumphs may be different, but they are the same quantity and quality for us all. Take comfort in the fact that you are a mother and enjoy the moments so many people yearn for and can't have.

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  36. Wonderful insight into motherhood and how "we" do it. Only by God's strength and mercy! I am a mom of 5 too! Love it! I am blessed to have several friends with "large" families (4-6 kids) and that helps with having a sounding board or getting ideas on what they are doing. God Bless you and your family.

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  38. Perfect. I've often thought about how to write out the answer to this question myself, but from now own, I will just send folks a link to this post. Love it. Thank you!
    ~Sherri

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  39. thank you for this. i needed it today as i put my almost 9 month old and almost 3 year old in the same room hoping they would take a nap and just shut the door. i am begging the lord to spare me from the trial of an afternoon with children who havent napped. im tired and theyre active. i cry and they cry. and i just heard soemthing fall in their room.

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    1. Ester honey!!!!
      I've been there! I have 2.5 year old twin girls. Hang in there sweetie!!! You can try putting one down in the room to sleep or for quiet time with some toys and you can take one downstairs with you to watch a movie on the couch so you can put your feet up and head back! In the morning, try and get out and get them physically tired. Go to a local playground, have a play date with another momma, or get them out in the stroller and go for a walk! Tire them out with physical activity. Visit www.mops.org! Find a local group of Mothers Of Pre-Schoolers. Get connected honey! You are NOT alone!!! Here is the direct link to their page where you can put your zip code in to find a group. http://www.mops.org/groupsearch/

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  40. I needed this today!! I have 3 children ages 6, almost 5, and 2 1/2 and am expecting number 4 in November. I am a people pleaser, and it has been hard learning that it doesn't matter what other people think about how I am raising my children as long as I am raising them for God.

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  41. I love this so much! As a Mom to four little girls, I couldn't agree with you more. The Lord and I worked.it.out. during my first couple of children and oh yea, we're still working it out! ;) Thankful for your encouraging voice today!!

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  42. As a mother of 8, ages 37-15 years old, I can testify that you can ONLY do it with God's help. How you do the actual day to day you will do accordingly as this article says. But one thing I can say is you can't do it without God!

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  43. That was very encouraging, thank you! We've got four boys, 2 still in diapers and I've been feeling that tug to have another recently. I look at my crew and wonder sometimes if I really have lost my mind; I'm tapped right now! Tapped for energy, tapped for time, tapped for patience, etc. But if God chooses to bless us with another one, or ten, or whatever, it'll be the greatest blessing and honor of my life. And if He gives us more kids, He'll also provide all we need to raise them to be healthy well-adjusted and godly adults. I needed to be reminded of that today!

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  44. A friend shared this with me because it made her think of me. I can see why. I have 5 boys all 6 years old and under, and I hear that question a lot, but you answered it better than I ever could. I'll be sharing this and sending Mom friends your way. Feel free to visit me over at www.fancylittlethings.com where I write on marriage and family life.

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  45. oh my goodness - thank GOD in Heaven for you and sharing this truth. I have a 2 1/2 year old and a 10 month old - they are 23 months and 1 day apart. My blessings that I prayed for, cried for and longed for. My oldest had reflux and did NOT sleep for more than 20 to 40 minutes for almost 7 months and cried through his first 4... and yet we started trying for a second at 5 months! We now laughingly wonder at ourselves! God in HIS wisdom waited until my son was 14 months to send us a 2nd pregnancy! But I thought I "had it" by the time my oldest was 1 - a routine, a schedule, a rhythm to our dance as mother and child. And now, 10 months in to being a mother of 2 (as of today) I keep waiting to find that "new normal" and this post says it all!! Praise God for using other Mamas who have been there to encourage us all as we walk in the trenches, stewarding these young lives! Thank you!

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  46. From a mother of five to a mother of five...this is beautiful! I can't wait to share this! :-)

    ~Sarah

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  47. BRAVO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (clapping). This is just fantastic and beautiful. (hugs) - from a mom with only one. <3

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  48. As a homeschooling mom of one I read lots of things from both ends of the #-of-kids spectrum. I was prepared for a certain level of condescension from the title, but you give much grace. "One (or two) is not 'easier' or 'harder' ... just different" -- has been my mantra and you exemplify it beautifully. Another personal favorite quote: "Where God guides, He always provides." Whether He gives one or two or a dozen ... HE alone provides what a mom needs to be up to the task (and the grace to fill in where there is so much failure on this mom's part!).

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  49. Thank you. I have a 2 year old and a 5 month old, and sometimes I just have to go sit outside and have a nice cry and a talk with God, and myself. Taking a little bit of "me" time outdoors makes all the screaming/fits/crying-for-5-months-straight seem so little and gives me time to breathe. I can't imagine having any more children, but at the same time I can't imagine NOT being blessed with more. God is good.

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  50. I have seven children. And yes, every single day, no matter what is going on in your life, you are maxed out. God gives us MORE than we can handle so we will rely on Him.

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  51. I have seven children. And yes, every single day, no matter what is going on in your life, you are maxed out. God gives us MORE than we can handle so we will rely on Him.

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  52. Thank you for being so kind and expressing the need for grace and God's sufficiency, regardless of our particular situation in life. I have to say, when I read the first part, I thought it was going to be something where you talk about how easy those with fewer children have, and that we should stop making comments. Thank you for being in the journey with all of us. The world is better because you are in it. : )

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  53. I have 2. An almost 13 yo boy and an almost 2 1/2 yo boy. I babysat for a friend recently a 3 yo old boy and a 3 mo girl. They were really good for me but still I am convinced that having a bunch of children (and closer in age) is just not for me. I commend those who have 3, 4, 5 or more! All moms do great work for sure but I know my limits and I know what I can handle. So I am at peace with my 2 boys even 10 1/2 years apart :) I don't know if we will decide to have more or not but I know if we do I have to be ready because raising kids is hard work ya'll ;) I love this post!

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  54. Just had my 5th child, and I cry everyday asking Him for help because I can't possibly do it all. I thank Him too, because I didn't think I WANTED 5 kids, but He showed me that I NEEDED 5 kids to keep my eyes on HIM! This was a great answer to all those questions I get daily-just hope I am not too sleep deprived to answer with as much grace and love as you did!

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  55. Thank you! As a mom of ONE 12 year old I can feel very alone. (I have no friends with ONLY one child.) I can not cry out to my friends when I feel overwhelmed and struggling. Why should I complain? My motherhood experience should be all sunshine and roses, and I really have no idea how hard parenting REALLY is. Oh, if I only knew, I would never dare to complain... Why, I'm not sure I even count as a REAL mother... Sunshine and roses...

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    1. I'm really really hoping this is sarcasm, Kerrye. You are a real mother. No matter the number of children you have, you can feel overwhelmed and your mothering experience does not have to be smaller than someone's with numerous children.

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  56. Your third point has been something I have really been tossing around lately. I think sometimes we get confused about why our children are a blessing from the Lord. We think of them as blessings because of their hugs, laughter and slobbery kisses or for many other light-hearted reasons. All those things are certainly blessings. But I find that sometimes I am the most "blessed" when I have had a hard day with my kids. Through those hard days, I learn to rely on God more and more, and the Holy Spirit is able to work through me to develop Fruit in my life. Thank you so much for sharing!

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  57. Ahhhhhh......... so refreshing...

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  58. Very sage advice. My first two are 11 months apart. Those were very hard days. Mothering is just a hard job.

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  59. Thank you so much for writing this! As a mom of one, I really appreciate your point of view. It really touched my heart.

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  60. I am a mom to one, and soon to be 2 (soon as in next 6 weeks soon) and your post just gave me an incredible about of encouragement and hope. We are currently potty-training baby girl, well, toddler girl now, #1 and I have at time thought "What am I doing bringing another helpless baby into my world?" But you just reminded me of one of the great truths - He can fill me up, and He loves my babies more than I ever could.

    Thank you for these precious reminders and the encouragement you give to mothers. It is more appreciated than you know.

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  61. Very well said. I remember being so much more overwhelmed as a new mom of 1, then 2 as well. But, as you said, I was so focused on doing everything by the book, instead of by the Book. Now, also a mom with 5, I can nod along with everything you have written here. God makes motherhood, not only doable, but joyful. Without Him, well, I just can't imagine "it".

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  62. You're amazing & I really hope my daughter marries one of your boys. I don't know how it will happen but I can wish! The other day at work I was "bragging" about how cute your dolly I mean Holly is. I even pulled you up on fb to show her pics.

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  63. I had 5 kids, 4 of them born in 5.5 yrs and only 6.5 yrs after I was married. #5 came 5 years later. I have no idea how I did it but it did not seem unusual to do. I heard the same thing as you, how do you do it? For one thing, it stretches you and helps you not be so self centered (even if you thought you never were). I do know one thing, I made it, mine are grown and I now have 24 grand kids! By the way, I am the oldest of 8.

    To all the mothers of one and two, stretch yourself, it is well worth it.

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  64. Love this! Well written and so true! I think we could be cry-on-your-shoulder friends ;)

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  65. Thank you so much for this post. If I could ask you, how did you get beyond two kids? I have two kids and feel overwhelmed like you described, that it makes me not want to have any more kids. So what encouraged you to going?

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  66. Thanks so much for this! It is exactly what I needed to hear :) I just started homeschooling our 6 year old in a classical education and I have an eight month old. Between the baby not taking good naps, the housework, cooking and not feeling well it was so good to read this today.

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  67. *So what encouraged you to keep going?

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  68. What an insightful, thoughtful, helpful post. Yes, I'm one of those who wish I'd had this advice 35 years ago when I was raising children (and for a time as a single parent). Now I have an empty nest with all our children/grandchildren living great distances away, a retired husband with several medical issues, and my own aging body. Yet I find your advice helpful for me even NOW. I cannot face any day without God's grace, His love, His patience, His joy, His strength.
    I cannot live LIFE without the Lord. Thank you for this timely reminder.

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  69. What an insightful, thoughtful, helpful post. Yes, I'm one of those who wish I'd had this advice 35 years ago when I was raising children (and for a time as a single parent). Now I have an empty nest with all our children/grandchildren living great distances away, a retired husband with several medical issues, and my own aging body. Yet I find your advice helpful for me even NOW. I cannot face any day without God's grace, His love, His patience, His joy, His strength.
    I cannot live LIFE without the Lord. Thank you for this timely reminder.

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  70. I LOVE this and you are AWESOME. Thank you so much for writing this. <3

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  71. wow a massive THANK YOU for this honest, encouraging blog. More mothers need to communicate like this to those of us who need to hear it. I have a 3 year old and am pregnant with my 2nd child, and slightly terrified of just how maxed out I'm going to be - balancing them with leadership and worship ministry among many other things. But this has helped me remember, I can't, but HE can. Thank you so much.

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  72. I have a 4 month old. Thank you. Thank you.

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  73. This is exactly what I need today. Thank you for sharing. Made me laugh, about made me cry. Im a working mama with an 18 month old and we are just starting the "second baby?" discussions. Kinda scary. But your words have been an encouragement to me and reminded me that the Lord has an amazong plan and He is waaaaaay bigger than what I think I can do.

    And I'm with you on the friends thing...boy howdy!

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  74. This is exactly what I need today. Thank you for sharing. Made me laugh, about made me cry. Im a working mama with an 18 month old and we are just starting the "second baby?" discussions. Kinda scary. But your words have been an encouragement to me and reminded me that the Lord has an amazong plan and He is waaaaaay bigger than what I think I can do.

    And I'm with you on the friends thing...boy howdy!

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  75. Thank you for this beautifully written piece. I have printed it out for encouragement on the hard days, lol. I have just the two at the moment and sometimes I do compare myself with friends (most of whom seem to have 4+) even though the Bible warns that 'comparing themselves among themselves' is unwise. You are so right, God will never lead us where His grace cannot keep us!

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  76. Thank you for ministering to my spirit :) I had just had a ROUGH afternoon with my third and only boy, and sent him to bed early, and I was very unloving to him, but this is a gentle reminder for me of my failure to call out IN THE MOMENT to the Lord for patience :( I will, as a righteous woman, get back up again and try tomorrow to allow Him to come to my aid, because He is able!

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  77. Good, good stuff!!! Thank you for posting this! It's all so very true. After my first child, TWO people told me that "it doesn't get any easier"...so, not true! It gets easier and better every day when I rely on our precious Jesus!!!

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  78. I'm with Laura- what motivated you to continue on after two? I have 1 and 3 yr old boys, and I always thought 2 was the perfect #, however, deep down I'm questioning what life would look like w 3. My husband only wants 2, so this is a scary subject, and some days it seems we are motivated by fear- financially mostly. Thoughts?

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    1. I just had my 3rd baby in less than 4 years. This timing was not our original plan at all, but three times, we felt a strong nudge to get off birth control, and I got pregnant immediately. How to know if you should have more? Pray. Listen to God's leading. If you keep thinking about another child, that may be a good indication that you're called to have more. I have several friend who also felt a definite call to be done having children. After this third baby, (who's 3 months old), we're already feeling the nudge for more (which again- is NOT my original plan.) I would describe it as "missing somebody." It's how I felt before each of my pregnancies. I would look around our family and feel like we were missing someone- like we just weren't complete yet.

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  79. I have 4 kids and get the same comments. I was as if you wrote what I am always thinking. Thank you.

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  80. Wow! My first visit to your blog...and I am fighting back tears. God is so good for giving us the encouragement we need in a perfect moment. Thank you for blessing us with your honesty and your williness to lift us up! Our cross country move with 2 and 4 year old girls has had a deeper impact that I expected. This mama was crazy tired last night but even more desperate for help. With puffy eyes swollen from crying, a voice sad from shouting, I am now the proud new owner of $150 in parenting books. And today? Better but still overwhelmed. Your words provided just the view I needed from the trenches. I can't keep all my plates spinning...and what a blessing to know I don't have to. Sharing your words on Facebook with my girlfriends and family. Thanks be to God for peeps who listen and encourage instead of judge. Hugs!

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  81. LOVE this! How beautiful and true! Letting go of our children means remembering God loves them more than we do and never sleeps for a moment as He watches over them! I've had to remind myself of this truth over and over, and I'm so thankful for it!!

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  82. Great post! Thanks for sharing! God bless you! All of you! : )

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  83. Great article! Although I do feel much less overwhelmed than my friends/siblings who even have two kids! I have one right now, and I honestly don't feel "maxed out" and I love having the energy to go do things with my husband and friends (bringing my son along of course!) I really enjoy the flexibility of having one child, and how easy it is to wrangle him into the car. My three nieces just recently visited and they are amazing, but extremely energetic and never slow down! My parents (who were watching them) looked way more exhausted than I did all week! I guess it just depends on your children's personalities and your personal energy level if you get maxed out with one child.

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  84. Loved this post! It does get better and better... Love the teens years even more! -Momma of 5 teens (19, 18, 17, 14, 13). Keep writing...

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    1. Everyone says that the teen years are so hard, but I am so excited for them!!! Thanks for the encouragement!

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  85. Thank you. You are a very wise women and I can learn a lot from you. Thanks for teaching me this perspective.

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  86. You just help me in so manny levels! God bless you!

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  87. Thank you for writing this. I had twins first, and I didn't think I could handle any more. But God had different plans. Bigger plans. And I am so grateful. And even though we are still in the trenches (1 year old and two 4 year olds) it is absolutely getting easier as I begin to trust God more.

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  88. im seriously sitting here crying...as we prepare for another little to enter our family via adoption, I am infinitely excited, and infinitely terrified. Anytime I take my toddler anywhere these days, I "game plan" on how I will do it with two. And now I realize, I just will. Somehow.

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  89. Love this! I think that all the time about having more kids. This was so encouraging. Thank you!

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  90. This is amazing. Every mom can relate to this. Bless you for writing this!

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  91. I am a mom of two who has serious baby fever, but honestly, HOW IN THE WORLD would I do it? I needed this reminder. Thank you.

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  92. Well said my dear.........I'm a mother of 7, now a grandmother of 9 :) When the kids all come home there are 23 of us :) I'm in a new stage of life, looking back. Without the grace of God I would have given up many times over. I barely remember who the President of the United States of America was in the 80's. Oh but now..........the memories...BEAUTIFUL, PRICELESS MEMORIES. I have to be honest though......the worry, the sleepless nights, the "did I say the right thing?", never goes away. Being a grandmother is just an extension of the most wonderful calling God has given a woman "A Mother" Hang in there, it's soooo worth it!

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  93. This is awesome! I only have 1 at the moment. I wanted more but the Lord knew better. I became a single mom when my daughter was 4. Recently got married again so we will see what He has in mind! I hear from people (usually ones without kids) that I should have more time bc I have 1.Like someone else said with 1 you don't have built in playmates-you are the playmate. My daughter is now almost 10 & bc it's only her she gets to do more extra curricular activities-youth cheerleading, multiple dance classes, girl scouts. I get asked how I remember what night each activity is!

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  94. I am a mother of 11 and I have been asked that same question numerous times. I came up with the very same answer you have. I found women felt as though they had to explain why they had a smaller family size. I would be mystified that they would think I ever judged them or ever even thought that their family size was any of my business! I had always wanted a dozen children. I was grateful I was given the opportunity to have the large family I wanted. I did not ever look at other families and think that they should chose as I had chosen! I wanted the freedom to do as I wished, and I totally allowed everyone the same freedom to choose. It is just in my nature not to judge, but, it was so very sad to me that others did think that I was judging them. I never said anything negative, in fact, I would tell everyone that I did not seek to know, nor did I even think about why others did or did not have children. I have been the object of misjudgements and so, I have never ever wanted anyone to feel as I had. These are very personal choices, and it is not something anyone else can or should decide for you. You have expressed the very things I have thought and shared, but, far better than I could. I appreciate your comments and am so grateful you have taken the time to share. God Bless YOU and your sweet family!

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  95. Thank you so much for this post. I have really been struggling with this very thing lately. This is just what I needed to hear!!!

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  96. I'm a foster momma of a precious 5 year old. I'm single and know God called me to fostering. However, there are days I'm so overwhelmed I can barely see straight. Thank you for this reminder. Thank you for telling me it's okay to feel this way. I'm crying and tired and overwhelmed...and, well, I just needed this reminder. Thank you!

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  97. Thank you for writing this. I needed to read this so badly today.

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  99. Thank you so much for this blog...it's tender, yet powerful!

    I'm the youngest of nine kids. I can't tell you how many times ladies asked my mom "How DO you do it?"

    I learned to anticipate her answers, like when she'd pat on my head and say "I've got good help!" or "It gets easier as they get older" and every variation thereof.

    But I will never forget the day she answered the question with a question, "How do I do WHAT?"

    The woman rattled off a whole list...the large family and all their activities, run your family business, etc.

    Mom quipped "Oh, that? Let me tell ya...I've got other interests!"

    Little did I know, I, too, would be blessed with 9 children. And I, too, well..."I've got other interests" : )

    Thanks, Mom!

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  100. All I can say is - Thank you!

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  101. My mom has always said that children are the Lord's refining tools in us. that's why he gave her 5 kids, cause she needed alot of refining!lol

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  102. Amen! About to have my fifth and you echoed my sentiments exactly!

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  103. How about using birth control, considering overpopulation and the environment, and not having 5 kids to begin with? That would fix the problem too.

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  104. You women need to be more productive with your lives

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  105. Such a great post! I've got triplet daughters who will be 2 years old in a couple weeks and I get this question ALL THE TIME. The truth is that it's God's strength, not my own. From the beginning I've had to acknowledge that even though I can't do it, He has called me to and He enables me to. Every moment, every day. And since the vast majority of people's advice simply does not apply to us, I've been winging it since day 1. So grateful for my little blessings!

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  106. Sharing this with my wife. Because with our now 4 year old and 9 month old we both feel maxed out. The only person sleeping around here is our 4 year old!

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  107. Thanks for sharing! I have 4 kiddos and feel the same way! I am thankful for GOD in so many ways! Without him, I would be no-where!

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  108. Your children are a true blessing from God and you to them.

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  109. Thank you. Just - thank you. x

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  110. I have 10 children now. 21, 20, 18, 16, 13, 11, 9, 6, 3, 6 months. My first two were 18 months apart as well.
    Whole article is perfect! Now looking back, my hardest stagest were with two kids and then with 5, but my fifth child is strong willed and contrary (but brilliant), so that may have been part of it. It got easier after that though and the older kids began to actually dote on me with my latter pregnancies, all of which went pretty well. Jesus has to be the center, though. I am certain that it would not have gotten easier if I hadn't daily sought to be in His Presence.

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  112. As a mom to one child, I really appreciate this perspective. On many occasions, moms I know with 3, 4, 5+ kids have commented about how "easy" I have it with "only" one child. I hear things like "If you think it's hard now, just wait till..." Honestly, it can be really discouraging and had been making me hesitant to have more children. If they think I have it really easy with one child and I sometimes feel like I'm barely treading water with my head just above the surface, something is wrong with this picture. Either I'm doing it all wrong, or I'm just not cut out to have more children...

    Thanks for the encouragement and validation. Thank you for giving me permission to feel that it *IS* hard to be a momma to one child, figuring it all out for the first time. I'm making a mental note right now that if God blesses us with more children, I need to be mindful of what I say to mommas with one child. I need to remember what "normal" felt like back then and how heavy the burden of trudging through uncharted territory can feel. I hadn't processed how much those comments from other moms were affecting and discouraging me until I read this. Thanks for that blessing!

    I think sometimes what moms of one or two may mean when they say "How do you do it?!" is "You seem to really have it all together! Please tell me it's ok for me to feel like this is really tough with only a fraction of the number of kids you have. Please tell me I'm not a failure. And while you're at it, I would love some tips from a pro like you!" :)

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    1. I agree, Jennifer. It's hard not to assume that parenting more kids is harder than parenting fewer, and if we're having such a hard time with fewer, the fear is that there is something wrong with us and we're not cut out to have more. If we were stronger people or better moms, then having one would not be so hard, and we'd be able to handle more. That's the thought process we go through, isn't it? And it undermines our confidence even more. That's why a reminder like this is so important, that it IS hard, that it DOES get easier, and that we are strongest in our weakness if it drives us to a greater dependence on God.

      "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

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  113. as a mom of five---i related to each part of this. i agree that the early years of one and two were the most challenging. and every time i thought about (which pretty much all it took to get pregnant...a thought), having another baby, i was completely overwhelmed. there was NO WAY i could give more. yet each time, i did. only because GOD gave me more. more love, more strength, more patience. and i am SUCH a work in progress. i wouldn't trade a moment of the madness.

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  114. Thank you, thank you for these words which I so needed to hear today! I have 2 girls are are my joy but they are all I can handle. And then I realize that I'm trying to do it in my own strength when what I really need is more of God Himself.

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  115. God is a figment of your imagination. God doesn't give you anymore strength to care for your children. Your biological make up and hormones continue to drive you...its called science. Not some make believe idea for weak people to find "strength" that doesn't exist.

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  116. Thanks for sharing. I linked to you here: ourookies.blogspot.com

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  117. I am a mom of 4, 4yrs and younger :)
    This article is WONDERFUL!!!

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  118. Thank you, thank you, thank you! It's wonderful to hear these sage words from someone who knows how it feels to have kids, no matter the number. I feel a little more encouraged this morning now that I've read this. It's also a wonderful reminder that no one mother is capable of "doing it all" -- that we really do need God's guidance and grace to survive.

    Wonderful article. Thank you for sharing!!

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  119. Amazing article - thank you SO much. God bless you. May God be glorified through our parenting.

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  120. It's like you knew exactly what is going on in my life! This is perfect! Just what I needed to hear....I love it when God directs me to the places I need to go so I can hear His words. Thanks :)

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  121. I guess it is all in how you look at it from day one. I thoroughly enjoyed having my granny Ida advise me to things while my first child was so little. It gave me a sense of security knowing I was being tutored by a woman who had given birth to 10 children herself. She was never pushy and I hung on to every word. I have 2 beautiful daughters and 3 beautiful grandchildren. I try not to interfere with my children's home life but if they ask for advise, I am always there for them. I see myself in both of my girls so I don't think I did too bad... or maybe it is Granny Ida didn't too bad either. :)

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  122. A timely word. I'm thankful my friend shared this post with me. :)

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  123. My daughter-in-law shared this post on Facebook and I'm so glad she did. As a grandmother, I still have it fresh in my memory how as a mother of two small boys (14 months apart), everyone else knew what was best for our family. Your advice is so right. It is YOUR family and you and your husband figure out how to make it work from day to day. When God gives us the blessing of children, He also gives us the ability to show them His love through us. Each person is unique. Each family is unique. It may be on-the-job training, but since that is His design, what a great way to depend on Him every day for guidance. Thanks so much for sharing of yourself in this post.

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  124. I love this article! Thank you so much for sharing :) I'm a stay at home mom to 2 boys, ages 5 and 7. We homeschool. It's quite challenging at times! LOL Thank God for HIS strength and love.

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  125. This is WONDERFUL!!! I just had my fifth baby two and a half weeks ago and so I feel like I'm back on the "what was I thinking?" And the "How will I ever get anything done?" stage again. My mom and mother-in-law and good friends have given advice, but like you said...I need to find my own way and I'm slowly getting there.

    As to the question, "How do you do it?" For the most part I get that question from moms/women of 0-3 kids. They see 5+ kids and think "no way I can do that." What I've figured out is that, for me, the kids came one at a time and each time I had to figure it out again and work it out my own way. Three or four kids ago could I comprehend having, dealing with, managing FIVE kids, a husband, a house, a life outside of the kids? Absolutely not. But one by one we got here and I wouldn't trade it for the world!

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  126. This post just made my day! I have 2 boys, 5 and 2, and boy, are they BOYS! I have been trying to convince my husband for #3, but he is feeling overwhelmed with the ones we have and he doesn't think we can afford it. This is something worth showing him! thank you from the bottom of my heart!

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  127. This is one of the best things I've read in a long time! I wish that I could carry copies with me and hand them out to all the moms who stop me when I'm out and ask me "how do you do it?" (I have 7 and get asked that a lot). You are right about all of it and have expressed the truth so beautifully. Thank you for this!

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  128. I have six children filling my home with noise and dirt and strange mystery odors... and laughter and love.

    My first two are 18 months apart. It was hard. Then #3 came along only 14 months after #2. I was exhausted and at the end of my rope. I had three kids all in diapers. Yes, my oldest was over 3 before being done with diapers.

    Then when #3 had just turned one I found out I was pregnant with #4.

    Yes, things are crazy around here. The youngest will be 2 this month. The oldest is 15. And people tell us all the time "I don't know how you do it." We don't always know either. But it works out somehow, by the grace of God.

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  129. Mom of 6 here...
    Amen and thanks for the laugh. The key to a large family to always remember to laugh. And let the small stuff go!

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  130. I so needed this today! I was laughing and crying at the same time...I adore my four littles (6,4,2,1) and with my husband on the road a lot I hear the how do you do it question a lot, especially when I take them all out. I just do it...with a lot of faith.

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  131. Great Job! I'm a mom of 1 and feel very overwhelmed sometimes. I used to work full time and becoming a stay at home mom has been a HUGE adjustment for me. Thanks for writing. It's good to hear that it gets easier and that there's always going to be difficult moments....but this too shall pass.

    http://frommywindowseat.blogspot.com/2013/07/confessions-of-stay-at-home-mom.html?showComment=1374094541057#c2415899144692948669

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  132. An awesome wonderful story. Thank you! I am currently pregnant with our fifth and final child (vasectomy scheduled next week). Four boys currently, and expecting a daughter in mid October. I cried a lot when I learned I was pregnant again (on Valentine's Day). My husband now says he's glad we are having one more. I love my boys, all of them, but finding out this one is a girl saved my sanity. I'm near 29 weeks, and I still am not mentally prepared to start over with a new baby, the infant carrier, diapers, breastfeeding, diaper bag to tote, on top of my other four children. Currently my youngest just turned 4 last month. I was so happy last summer when we finished with diapers and I literally said "no more diapers until we have grandkids." Boy, was I wrong. He we go again, for the last time. Finally getting that vasectomy he promised me in the delivery room of our last child (only four years and another pregnancy later). I keep telling him I'm too old to have babies anymore, that might be because he is four years older than me and I'm running it in to him turning 40 this month. I do feel to old though, but I know God has given us this little princess growing inside me for a reason and he knows we can handle ALL of the GIFTS he has given us. When I'm at my wits end I try to walk away and collect myself with Him. Also knowing school starts two weeks from today adds some joy to my days. I'm a stay at home mom (who could afford child care for four and five children?) I'm with my children 24/7 and have had two date nights with my husband in the last year, of which we conceived this little princess on one. We were happy to be alone and took advantage, but our birth control failed. We have little to no help (mostly no help ever) as far as sending kids to spend the night with someone so hubs and I can spend time together. Finding anyone to watch some while taking another to the pediatrician is impossible. Life is tough with this many kids, but we manage and some days I'm happy that they are all tucked safely in their beds and still breathing. ;)
    They fight and argue, and wrestle all the time. My house isn't spotless, it's lived in and we make memories here. We always try to instill good values and morals. Things will change fairly drastically (I believe) when there is a little girl among all if these boys, but the boys are excited to have a baby sister coming (especially the four year old, he hugs, kisses and songs to get through my belly everyday, incredibly sweet). We are excited to welcome our new arrival, and praying that this Mommy can and will handle ALL of the demands of new baby again and the boys' needs too.
    Again thank you for this, it's inspiring and helps to know we aren't alone in this crazy world of MANY children. When I was pregnant with #4 I would say "four and no more". After becoming pregnant this time, I simply scheduled the vasectomy! LOL

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  133. Thank you for this beautiful post! We're expecting our third daughter, and I really appreciate your encouraging words, because - though it might be crazy - I'm excited to enter a new season of having to let go and rely on God more than ever. I know it will be hard (it always is, trusting Him), but it helps a lot to be reminded that relinquishing our self-reliance is part of the blessing of motherhood--no matter how many children we have.

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  134. beautifully said, inspiring and encouraging. thanks

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  135. What a wonderful article! It literally brought tears to my eyes. As a Mother of 9 beautiful, wonderful children, I feel that I could have written this. I have been asked so many times "How do you do it all?" I always look right at the inquirer and tell them "I don't do it 'all'. I work hard, and do what I can, but I don't do it 'all'." I appreciate that you gave Mothers the permission to do things their way, and to let go of what does not work for them. I so remember being burned out with 1 and 2 children, but as time went by, I did find my way, with the help of the Lord. My 3 oldest children are now parents themselves, and I am humbled as I watch them navigate the same storms I did. Hang in there, good parents. As the years go by, you will have a lot of 'paydays'. They make everything worth it!

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  136. Its like you took the words right out of my mouth! Blessed Mom of 5 girls and counting! Give it all to Jesus. Tried to do everything in my own strength with the first two and failed miserably until I realized I needed to give my life to Christ. We too have decided to let God determine our family size. He is the answer to every question of how I do "it". Wonderful article!

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  139. Your blog was shared with me by a friend on Facebook. I recently started my own blog for women to inspire them and lift them up. What you have written is what I wanted to post next on my blog. Thank you so much! Do you mind if I post it on my blog to share with others?

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  140. Simply love the ones that you have. I have six children (four adopted from China) and people ask me all the time aren't you tired? Yes I am tired. There are 8 people in China that I am taking care of and raising their children due to their unfortunate circumstances. My children are all alive because of these parents wanting them to live and not perish. God is my source of energy, humor, patience, and all the other good things that come along. Just LOVE THE ONES YOU HAVE. Very scriptural and simple

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