A few days ago, as my children and I were taking a bike ride through the streets of our town, a woman a few years younger than I walked outside. She just had her first baby, a boy, and he is about 6 weeks old. This means he was born around the time of year Brayden was born. She came out in her pajamas and was calling her dog who was barking at us as we rode by.
I smiled as I thought back to those days with my first child. I remembered making it to the end of the day and realizing I hadn't yet had a chance to brush my teeth. I couldn't help but wonder what she thought as I rode by with my three children, all of us showered and dressed. I hoped she didn't feel discouraged. I wondered if she thought, "Some day, it will get easier."
Then I thought about the fact that it does not get easier per say, just different. My mind then led to when Kaitlyn was a newborn. When she was a newborn, I was showered, dressed, and teeth brushed all in the morning. When McKenna came along it was the same story. So why could I manage to get ready with three children, one being a newborn, but not with just one child?
My mind immediately jumped to a quote I had recently read. I had just taught a lesson in church on developing talents, and this quote was in the lesson:
“That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do; not that the nature of the thing is changed, but that our power to do is increased” -Heber J. Grant
This quote is from a man who overcame weakness after weakness to turn those weaknesses into talents. It hit me. Motherhood doesn't get easier because the nature of motherhood changes as our children get older. It gets easier because we have persisted, grown in our knowledge, and our power to be a mother has increased.
What power that realization has with it! I have talked a lot about enjoying the moment and finding things to appreciate now--because you will miss them some day. But with this quote applied to motherhood, it means that we don't need to wish away our time with our young children--them getting older isn't what makes life easier. Us getting to be better and more capable mothers is what makes it easier.
That is why women can accomplish more with 3 children--one being a newborn--than they could when they had only one child who was a newborn. Our capacity increases. Our talent for motherhood has grown.
Think of the parable of the talents found in Matthew 25. If you aren't familiar with it, I will briefly summarize. 3 men were given talents of different number by their master. The first was given five. He then went out and worked to increase it, gaining five more. The second was given two. Like the first, he worked and gained two more. The third was given one. He was afraid of the repercussions in possibly losing his talent, so he hid it.
When the master returned, he was please with the first two and displeased with the last. The conclusion to the parable is essentially that when you use what you have, you will be given more. When you don't, what you have will be taken away.
How can we apply this to ourselves as mothers? When we merely survive life, waiting for that blessed day in the future when things will get easier, which servant are we being like? The unprofitable servant. We are not increasing our capacity to be a mother in the least.
What about when we do our best to improve each day? When we do our best to enjoy what is before us? That is when we become profitable servants. That is when we increase our capacity to do what we are doing. Then we are making life easier for ourselves rather than waiting for it to magically happen one day.
Do not be discouraged. I don't intend to push you further than you can go. Being a new mom is hard. There are times you feel you are barely treading water. Do not try to do more than you can do. Just do the best with what you have. Your best is enough, and you know if you are giving it or not. Do not sit and wish away your months until life will be "easier." Move forward, enjoying each day as much as you can. Just put one foot in front of the other and you will improve your capacity.
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