Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Praying for Grace

I have not been taking on the duties of a new mama gracefully.  My words have not always been kind and building up, my mood often grumpy.  The children's homeschooling, the house, and then we have this full time home business that I am an integral part of....  Oh, what about the animals and cooking and baking?    I have shed tears each day wondering how I can ever meet everyones' needs and all my duties.

Our beautiful new gift from God, sweet Emmy, is a baby that desires to be held a lot - which I understand and carry her around on the front carrier  as I go about our day.  But, she also has periods of intense crying where the only solution is to hold her "just so" and walk around and around until she calms herself down.  Thankfully, this is usually in the evenings, between the hours of 7:00 - 10:00 pm.  Practicing gratitude during those moments is what gets me through.  I remember how grateful I am to have a healthy baby, that is growing and gaining weight and now smiles back at us.    I also think about how much her brothers and sisters love her and truly enjoy holding her and spending time with her.

We bought a pacifier yesterday to see if that might help, something our babies have rarely used.  Last night she didn't want it, but we may try again.

Even before the birth of Emmy, I had been praying for some balance to my life, that God helps me to prioritize and find peace within my too filled brain.

So, for me - I need to -
1.  Spend time in prayer and reading the Bible each morning
2.  Put my husband and children before all us - get the homeschool planning done before wrapping up the business orders, for example.
3.  Care for our home - keep it neat and tidy and organized but don't fret over the dust and that for one day the laundry piles grows instead of shrinks.
4.  Remember that this is a season in my life and to enjoy the seconds as they pass so quickly; that the moments are all I have.

5.  Don't worry if I am not facilitating as many creative seasonal projects as I like to - The truth is I didn't even ask the children if they wanted to carve pumpkins, I was hoping they would forget.  But yesterday afternoon Sarah remembered and how could I possibly say no...

Thank you Ginny  for writing truthfully yesterday.  I know that I am not alone and there was one comment that really helped me to keep it all in perspective -
Sarah wrote, "- the MOST important thing you can give you children is that sweet little brother. Life may be overwhelming now, but Silas is a more valuable gift than all the messy crafts and math lessons in the world. Sleep will come eventually and until it does, slow down, savor the sweet baby and the turning leaves. Read to all the kids, snuggle your sweet little boy, and enjoy this short season. It will pass and your rhythm will return...."


  1. Oh Tonya, I can so relate! Some days I shed tears too, because there is just no way I can possibly get anything done. And I only have four children, and no animals!

    We almost didn't have any carved pumpkins at our house, either. They were done very last minute, along with some costumes we threw together! I am finding it so hard to have energy for craft projects when Amy (who is 7 months old now) has been waking up every hour at night, all night long. She is a darling during the day and rarely cries, but at night she just wants to eat and eat!

    One thing that has helped me is writing down a list of my priorities--the baby of course is first, then feeding everyone, then my personal hygiene, and so on. Our home business is actually at the bottom of the list! That means that sometimes it takes me 5 days to get a package out the door after someone buys it. But, it also means that I can feel sure I am always doing the most important thing at any given time, and that's reassuring.

    I also find it helpful when I have a "too filled brain" (boy do I know that feeling) to cut back on computer time, and also not to listen to the radio or even read, until I get the noise in my own head under control.

  2. I'm sorry to hear that you've been struggling, but it seems like you're very much on the right path now! All those little ones have soooo much grace surrounding them and you seem recognize that already, and tap into that when you find yourself hitting a low. Thanks for your honesty today--no worries, you seem like you're in very good hands! :)
    (But I'll keep your family in prayer anyway.) ;)

  3. oh thank you. this is something important for me to read before i give birth to #7. i need to remember this. praying for peace for you.

  4. Wow - I am glad my simple words could help you feel better! New babies are such a blessing!! I will keep you and all tired new mama's in my prayers - especially on this Feast of All Saints!

  5. I am a believer with a Martha spirit as well, always running. I had a colicky baby with my first but I didn't have the additional charges like you do. I pray that this season be brief and that whatever causes her to cry ceases this day, in Jesus' name! I pray you find balance, peace, and joy this season. You can't do everything, all the time. I am learning the same!

  6. Dear Tonya, this entire post resonates with me- thank you so much for sharing. My youngest is 15 months and I still have not managed to find that balance. Sometimes, I even think of the easy rhythm and peace we had before, which of course then makes me feel terribly guilty.
    Practicing gratitude, taking things slow, putting family first, all things important which I try to do! I find when I am able to do things things, I feel that peace and rhythm again.
    HUGS and love to you~ Melanie

  7. I really hear you too. My 6th baby who is now 8 months is a tremendous blessing but also challenging. It is very hard to do it all but it looks like you know what the priorities are. It's funny you are trying a pacifier for the first time, so did I and he never did like it. When Ezra was first born I always saw these happy babies everywhere I went, it was so hard not to feel like a failure. But each little one is so different and how they fit into our individual families is precious. But it does take time to find our rhythm again.

  8. Oh dear Mama~ I understand and truly wish you peace. You are allowed to feel overwhelmed and you are allowed to just stop. Stop to breath and catch the wave of your rhythm once again when it is ready to be given back to you.

    A new born insists on time moving slowly, nurturing peacfully . Allow yourself this time Tonya. You have always been someone I admire and I send you all my love dear friend.

    Love to you

  9. Tonya, I only have 3 kids so I can only imagine how you manage. I'm glad you were able to figure out something that gives you some peace. I also had a couple of "fussy" babies that I had to hold "just so" and while there were times I literally cried, those days are gone now. And I miss them. Don't feel bad if you're not "perfect" because none of us are. We just do the best we can, one day at a time.

  10. I want to thank you for sharing such personal feelings with us. I find so much inspiration on your blog that sometimes it is easy to forget that everyone goes through the tough times. Sometimes I struggle very much with making sure my kids have "enough" when the to-do list is longer than my arm. Enough healthy, home made or home grown food rather than store bought, enough quality family time when other commitments creep in, enough support and understanding and help with daily things when there always seems to be too much on my plate. A few days ago, I came to the realization that I can only do what I can do, and there is no sense feeling bad about what doesn't get done...just pull up and continue to do the best I can.
    I will remind you, as I am sure you must do daily, that the days will pass, and things will in fact get easier a bit at a time. I spent the first 7 months of my oldest son's life carrying him everywhere for hours on end in what my brother-in-law called the "football hold" because it was one of the only things that would ease his stomach pains. He was up hourly at night. There were times I thought I would never last one more day. Now, he is a healthy happy almost teenage boy.
    So thank you again, for letting us know that you also struggle. I can think back on this post when I am feeling less than adequate and remember that we all have our moments when we have to let go and live each moment.

  11. Wow Tonya, our babies are so similar. Our wee one month old is seeming to be the fussiest baby of my bunch. She needs to be held nearly all the time, and is the grumpiest from 7-10pm! It's extra rough when I milk at 7pm every night & have to leave Little Miss Grumpy with her dad. She pretty much lives in my Maya Wrap (sling) while I go about my daily duties. If she's not in there she needs to be held facing downward in a kind of "football hold". And, we also just tried a pacifier 3 night ago! lol None of my others have been interested in them, but she is showing some interest. She actually took a nap off of my body yesterday, with the pacifier. I hope your little one finds some soothing with her pacifier as well.

    I also have moments of feeling totally overwhelmed just as you have as well. Homeschooling, milking & animal chores, endless cheesemaking or the milk will spoil, AND my husband was just laid off & is trying to come up with a home business that he wants my help with. AAAaaack! LOL

    I enjoy keeping the Christian radio station on during the day, and I hum hymns constantly. That really helps me keep calm & remember what's truly important. Actually as soon as I feel my blood pressure rising you'll hear me begin humming "I've got peace like a river in my soul..." or, "The joy of the Lord is my strength..".

    We didn't carve pumpkins this year for the first time ever! lol! I just couldn't bear to find the time or deal with clean up. And my laundry pile, OY. It's so time consuming, and I even have the luxuries of a washer & dryer. I think often of moms in the past that had to go down & wash in the river....

    And I too struggle with remembering to savor these moments & messes & what feels like chaos at times. These years are too fleeting & we'll be looking back at it all one day with a wistful tear. I remind myself to step back, look at the scenery around me be it my great kids or the country views outside, and marvel at the beauty God has surrounded me with. I like to repeat the words "radical gratitude" to myself (because I like the sound of it) and breath deep. Especially when strolling down to the barn for barn chores- the air is chilly & the views marvelous. I also love to kiss & kiss on that sweet new baby of mine even when she's crying her pink head off. :)

    Sigh. I wish I could come visit you! :)

  12. There could never be children in my home, so I marvel at what all you SAHM are able to accomplish. But raising your children is the best work you can do. With loads of prayers!

  13. dear Tonya,
    you have so much to give , to your husband and children, your family and friends nd even to our blog readers.
    Now it´s your part to care for yourself and thats what you do, be right where you are and do what has to be done. I share your feelings and felt and feel them at different parts of my life. God will led you through it, I´m sure.
    Sometimes I just keep praying inside to stop that thinking and just be there.
    Time goes by sooooooo fast, please, relax and stay calm, nothing bad will happen, everything is ok and God is in control.
    Thanks for beeing honest, that´s not for sure in blogger land.
    God bless you and your dear family.

  14. Tonya,
    Hugs to you! Hoping you have found some space and that re-ordering your priorities is helping. Thank you for sharing so honestly - I often wonder how everyone else does it!

  15. I think we have all been there at one time or another, and you are still a wonderful mama! My first has colic and spent 3 hours each evening wailing until he was about 4 months old. No matter how much you love them, those hours can seem like an eternity! Hoping you find your balance soon!

  16. A lot of people believe that God never gives us more than we can manage. But I wonder if we don't often try to manage more than God ever intended. There are seasons to our lives that we sometimes struggle with, I think because we think that we still have to get everything all done even though there is a big shift or life event that isn't making that easy. For myself, I have learned the hard way to let go and follow where God and this moment in time takes me. I wonder if you can't suspend some of your many tasks for a time. If you didn't do any lessons for 2 or 3 weeks, would your children's education suffer in the long run? Maybe this could just be a time to rest and relax for everyone, the way it would be if you were snowed in. Handle just the food and animals and then see what comes. I am always "go, go, go!" and I hit a big wall of bad health because my body has had enough. Now I HAVE to slow down and it's very hard, but it has been really great too. And I learned that the world keeps right on going whether or not I get done all that stuff I thought I HAD to do for my kids, my husband, and myself. And they are happier because I am calm and rested. Who knew?

  17. Dear Tonya,
    You have a new baby and a large family. Please be easy on yourself! This season will pass, although it seems endless now. Perhaps some lessons in laundry and household management will help your elder children as they help you. These real life lessons are as valuable as academics. Balance is what we all strive for, but it can be so elusive! Getting as much rest as possible (that is little enough!) is the best thing you can do right now for self and family. Blessings on you as you find your way with the reconfigured family.

  18. Oh sweet mama...those babies are a challenge and treat all in one. You are amazing, I'm sending thoughts your way.

  19. I will keep you and this challanging time of life in my prayers! May you feel His strength!

  20. What thoughtful, honest writing. I'm only a mother of three, but often hit those moments where I feel like I'm underwater. I need to learn to prioritize things in my mind like the list you have on this post.
    Praying for you--you are doing a great job, mama!

  21. Tonya, Tonya. Thank you. I am at a horrible place right now. I was going to blog about it but then felt I shouldn't after seeing Ginny's post. It seems a lot of us are pretty 'down' right now. I should go get some rest but I am too angry and upset with everything to do so. My house is a wreck, I can see Lucian's breath when he cries b/c it's so cold inside, the dogs are peeing everywhere, I have nothing done I need to get done, deadlines are up to my ears...AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!
    Anyways, thank you. I am finding myself closer and closer to getting this body into church. I am hoping that will help.
    SO MUCH LOVE TO YOU, you amazing, beautiful, inspring soul!!!!! XOXO

  22. Dear Tonya, I saw your comment on Ginny's blog, and had to reply to you there too. You know you have always been such an inspiration to me with your big wonderful family, and I know it is not always easy, but I also know that you do provide all that your children need, a nourishing home with true beauty and love. You may not feel balanced at the moment but I bet they do!
    Thinking of you often and sending love as always!
    Renee XO

  23. Dear Tonya...Heartfelt appreciation for being real. Despite what you may think right now, you are truly inspiring others. To be real with their emotions, to know these emotions are valid, to share the darker sides of this beautiful path so many of us are on. There isn't a mama out there who hasn't walked that road. The hardest part is recognizing that you are human, and to forgive yourself. It is an ongoing practice, for sure, and a wonderful example to show your children. Loving hugs to you right now, Tonya. Your children chose you for a reason, you are doing a good thing. Let yourself be real.
    xo Jules

  24. it is truly soetimes almost tooo much - i hear you. our son would be what is called 'colic' but now that i cut allergens his tummy is better. our natural health healers explained much colic is in the gut - perhaps if you tried cutting the major ones - wheat, dairy, nuts it would hellp her? these allergies/sensitivites are so incredibly common. i wish you quiet time and calm - i try for those (and grace) each day, sometimes i'm more successful than others for sure. oh, and there are lots of bpa-free soothers out there - at least they won't leach - we considered it for our little guy too... still are. warmly, jen

  25. Very beautiful post. I can definitely relate to what you are going through as my little girl who is 11 weeks old now. I love your blog. :)

  26. Adding my prayers and support to everyone else's...for your peace, well being, and surrender to this incredible tide in the ocean of your life. When I found myself overcome with caring for just one baby and three year old,I learned to let go of everything I possibly could. Also, I just want to add that when I restarted taking good prenatal vitamins and some fish oil, my mood became much stabler. And it's okay with me if you don't make all your christmas presents by hand this year! Sometimes just removing the pressure is all you need to feel renewed...
    Blessings to you,