Three years ago today, Anna posted about seeing the light at the end of the tunnel from the trenches, and this weekend, I’ve had the exact same realization that the balance has shifted in our home.
If you follow us on facebook, you might have seen my #realhousewivesofe2s update last week that mentioned we’d gotten home from vacation at 4 am (6 am in the time zone we left 15 hours before). It was nuts, absolutely nuts, and while my husband and I felt like zombies for several days, my kids amazingly just fell back into the rhythms of home life, did schoolwork, played with their new toys, and enjoyed the unheard-of spectacle of multiple rainy days in LA. I even had to drag them out that first afternoon to my doctor’s office, and all four of them sat quietly in the waiting room while I read Robin Hood aloud, trooped patiently into the hallway of the office while I got poked and prodded, and filed out, as sweet as you please, when I was done.
Lest you miss the point here, my kids were on the road for three weeks (right after mom and dad being incapacitated from a car accident for three weeks, right after passing around the stomach flu for a week), and they just came home and were fine. This trip was not only our first flight without a diaper bag in a decade; it was the first time, ever, that we asked our kids to step up and carry their own load (literally, through three airports), with severely reduced sleep, and they actually came out the experience more cheerful than before. It’s never going to be fun traveling with children, but this Christmas vacation, my kids were the easy part and the circumstances were the pain in the neck. I would rather not ever bring four children along to my doctor’s appointments, but it’s no longer a nightmare. I noticed the switch this weekend and am grateful for it.
Along the same lines, just as Anna said three years ago, there comes a time when your big kids are more of a net help than a net hindrance in the home. I’ve mentioned recently that I try to have high expectations for my kids as I train and prepare them to be responsible adults, and it totally pays off. We had a good Saturday morning housecleaning push this weekend, and all four of my kids were able to do real, helpful housework. It is now on me to make sure they keep helping me out, but knowing that they all are capable is a huge step out of the trenches for me. It’s no longer just me (and my husband in the evenings) against the accumulated mess of four tornadoes; we’re a team of six, fighting back against dust and clutter.
What warmed my heart the most, though, was looking over as I started dinner the other night and seeing my 7 and 5 year olds curled up on the couch together, with the big sister reading the little sister one of her new Christmas books. Later, the younger one mentioned that her big sister had read her the entire chapter book in one day because they had both gotten into the story and didn’t want to stop! My kids are reading aloud to each other. **happy sigh**
If you are still in the dark part of the tunnel with little ones who are not old enough to be helpful yet, hang in there. You are making progress, no matter how slowly your days seem to pass. The hard work you’re putting into parenting your children will indeed bear fruit! I’ll leave you with the same verse Anna did:
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9 NIV