What being a mom of two is teaching me

by Andrea Cooley

boy in the sunlightThe last few months have been hard.

I don’t think I assumed being home with two little ones would be easy, but I definitely didn’t think it would be this hard. I thought I had things figured out with Emerson, so, naively, I thought adding another little human to the mix would be no big deal.

Seven months later I know differently.

I’m here to say that yes, having two kids, no matter how far apart they are is a lot of work. But you probably already knew that. Now that I’ve accepted this, I can finally start to find my new normal. I only wish I had figured this out sooner!

Does anyone else hate to admit when things are hard?

Even though it isn’t easy to admit that I’m struggling with something, it feels good to have it out in the open. There is power in saying something is hard and owning it, even embracing it.

I am learning that the main reason I don’t like to admit that something is hard is pride.

If I’m honest, I don’t want anyone to know that I don’t have everything figured out. I’m not super mom. I don’t have it all together. There are weeks when I can’t remember the last time I showered, let alone washed my hair or wore a bra (nursing tanks don’t count).

Never mind the fact that if you’ve seen me in person or seen a rare photo of me from the last 7 months you know I’m tired. Worn thin. If you take a minute to look past that quick smile I put on when I see you and quickly say I’m fine, you know there are days when I feel like I’m hanging on by a thread.

brothersI don’t say this to make you feel sorry for me. But there I go again with trying to make it seem like I have it all together. I have a constant need to justify how I’m feeling. To qualify it. To keep you at arm’s length. To compare my situation to someone else’s and tell myself that I shouldn’t complain. It’s like I’m saying, ‘Yes, life is hard, but I don’t need your help. I can do it on my own.’

That’s what it is. I have such a hard time accepting help. And that is so selfish of me. So prideful. I am quick to offer you help, so why won’t I accept yours? Is it because somehow I think I’m better than you? That I don’t deserve it? Those are lies. But even though I know they are lies, my actions say I believe them.

When I try to do everything on my own, I’m actually worse off than you. I isolate myself when I hide behind a façade of having it all together. I build up walls that make it hard for anyone to really know me. And I’m tired of living that way.

I was so convicted when I read Lisa-Jo Baker’s post How to uncomplicated being a good neighbor on (in)courage last week. She described my feelings so well! When someone offers to help, my first response is usually to brush it off, and say, “No thanks, we’re fine.” When in reality we’re not fine. But accepting help would mean admitting that I’m not OK.

One thing I’ve learned in the last few months is that I don’t want to wish away these hard days while waiting for a “good” day.

It’s so easy to put everything on hold waiting for a good day or a good week or for when we move Emerson to a big boy bed, or get him potty trained, or Foster is sleeping through the night, or is done teething. There will always be something that we are waiting for. As hard as the days can be, and as many times as I wish we were past this stage, I know don’t want to forget the sweet moments. And there are so many sweet moments.

Like when I go to get Foster when he wakes up from a nap and he’s all smiles, grabbing at my face, loving me unconditionally and looking at me like I’m the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen. He doesn’t care that my hair is in a greasy ponytail, I have spit up stains on my shirt, and dark circles under my eyes. All he sees is his mama and he loves me.

Or the countless times a day Emerson calls out “Mommy, mommy, mommy!” So excited to show me his trucks, hold my hand when we walk downstairs, or look at books together.

brothersTheir love is unconditional. And that’s more energizing than the biggest cup of coffee.

As any mom knows, every day is full of ups and downs (and if I’m honest, even the hardest days have more good times than hard times). When I choose to focus on the ups, the long days become a little shorter and the sleepless nights a little less exhausting.

I know God is working on me through these hard days. In many ways I feel like he’s stripping away all the extra, unnecessary things in my life. He’s refining me, and it’s not easy, but I know it’s for the best. He’s making me decide what is most important and what my priorities are. Whether it’s a TV show that I just don’t have time to watch any more, books I’ve been waiting to read but don’t even pick up at the library because I know I’ll never finish them in 3 weeks, to making weekend plans or committing to big work projects.

This is a season. And even though it feels unending, I look at families with kids who are 3-5 years older than ours and I know we will get there. There will be a time when we can take a weekend trip and not dread figuring out how to coordinate nap schedules and early bed times. We will be able to eat in a restaurant or go to the zoo without holding our breath and hoping no one has a meltdown.

I hesitated to even share these things. I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining. But I want to be honest. Even though we are in a hard, tired, busy season, we have so much to be thankful for. Our boys are healthy. I am able to stay home with them and still do a little work on the side, not because I have to, but because I want to. Adam is an amazing dad and husband and works so hard to support us.

This is one of those posts that I’ve been writing in my head for weeks and finally I just had to put it out here. I try not to have any expectations for who reads the blog, but in the end, I decided I needed to be honest about where I am and I wanted to share this with the hope that it is encouraging to even one other tired momma out there.

If you’re still reading, I’m impressed. I’ll leave you with these verses from Lamentations 3:22-23 that I find hope and encouragement in:

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;

His mercies never come to an end;

They are new every morning;

Great is your faithfulness.”

You can do this! No matter how many kids you have, how little sleep you’ve gotten, or how overwhelmed you feel. Set aside your pride, let down your guard and ask for help. When you realize you don’t have to do everything by yourself, your load is instantly lighter.

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Andrea Cooley

  1. Big hugs! I’m super anxious about becoming a family of four in October because I know how hard it’s going to be, but this is a season and if we can support each other and validate those feelings of overwhelmed-ness we can thrive!

  2. Joanna Linberg April 1, 2015 at 11:20 am

    This was so full of truth and encouragement. Even if it’s hard to write, it’s good to be honest. It fed me this morning, so thank you!

  3. Dear Andrea, If you could have heard me talk at the last MOPS meeting of last year, you would have heard me say the very same thing you wrote about me coming to a place of admitting how incredibly hard being a mom of 2 had become, and how freeing it was to just say it out loud and embrace the difficulty! Which paved the way for being (more) ok with the reality of how challenging it can be caring for 3 – as I have come to say when people ask me, “How’s it going with the 3?” I say, “EVERY day has it’s challenges and blessings.” Because it’s 100% true. No day is without challenges. And no day is without many blessings if I can just think about them. Thank you for sharing where you are at:)

  4. aboundingabundance April 2, 2015 at 8:29 am

    Thanks for sharing your heart Andrea. Having two and being back to work, well, life is hard. I’m sure having the longest running cold doesn’t help, but it feels like we’re drowning here. I’m trying to embrace these little days, these days of chaos, but it’s supremely hard. Hang in there girl. We’re in this together. I have this hanging in my cube at work “May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.”

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