I want to introduce you to Melinda from Auntie Em’s Guide to Life. She’s amazing! Her post today is exactly what I think a lot of us moms of young children need to hear. Jump over and visit her blog too. She has loads of great advice.
As I thought and prayed about what to write for Kelly’s readers, I thought about who they were– most likely young mothers with children still at home– and thought about why I started Auntie Em– to be a Titus 2 woman, to teach younger women lessons I learned from my experiences, to speak encouragement into their lives.
Then I saw all the “letters to my 16-year-old self” going around, and got the idea of a letter to that young mother that I was at about age 28.
I had 3 young children, ages 2, 3, and 6; I spent my days washing loads of laundry, lots of dishes (by hand, no dishwasher), and children; I was exhausted, and often frustrated because we had very little money in spite of my having a college degree. You see, I was staying home, HOPING that it would make a difference. I thought maybe many of you are in the same place, wondering if all the time and effort you’re pouring into your family will pay off. I’m here to tell you, it will.
You’re making the best parenting decision you ever made to sit on your degree for 7 years while your kids are preschoolers. You always had ENOUGH money; you just had to be careful, and it taught you, and you taught the children, to prioritize, plan, avoid impulse buying, and be creative about having fun. Taking “field trips” to free museums and libraries, having picnics, going to the library weekly for as many books as possible, built memories and created voracious readers to this day.
The good news is, you finished your degree before Baby #2 was born. Even though you never planned to work outside the home, your husband will go back to school; you will become a teacher to support the family and love it. After he graduates and you have two professional jobs in the family, however, your family will continue its frugal habits learned from necessity, and about 20 years down the road you will pay for 2 weddings in 3 months without breaking a sweat. Your house and cars will be paid for and you will take wonderful vacations. You will have more pretty things than you ever dreamed you would; you will be able to give to people and organizations above your tithe to your church, and invest regularly into retirement, and (probably) retire by age 55.
To make a long story short– Solomon was right when he said “To everything there is a season.” You are in a “pouring out” season right now, and sometimes you think you will be emptied out before reaching the next season. Hang in there. Sooner than you can imagine, those kids will be grown and gone, and you will have a great relationship with them because they learned to be responsible and independent. (You were smart to give them chores and responsibilities too!)
One thing I would encourage you to do differently, though– be very careful not to neglect your husband. When you are the primary caregiver for 3 little people, it’s hard to find anything to give to him, but you must remember that he is your #1 relational priority. The kids will leave home. He will not, and because the two of you let your relationship slip for first priority, you’ll have some rebuilding to do. Fortunately, you are both Believers, and God provided an Owner’s Manual for marriage!