Are you a mom who may or may not enjoy the preschool years? This week, I saw a dear, frazzled mama of three littles. She looked tired, weary, and was more than ready for nap time.
I imagined myself walking up to her saying, “It’s OK! Let me buy you a cup of tea.”
While I had seven children in 13 years, I had my first three children in three. My second child had significant developmental delays and was diagnosed days before my third child was born, so the moment I had three, it was all go-go-go not only with typical preschool stuff, but visits to doctors, therapists, evaluations, specialists, etc.
Saying I was tired and frustrated would be understatements! Some days I sat down with my son, and we cried together. He couldn’t communicate with us, and we couldn’t communicate with him. Plus I was nursing a newborn and making sure my oldest was entertained.
At some point during this wonderful chaos, I joined a local support group.
Many times gatherings culminated in moms complaining about their husbands, their children (I’ve written before that it felt as though they were competing to see who had the most annoying child), how they couldn’t wait to get their children off to school so they could “get their life back.” And if a mom didn’t have their child enrolled in preschool, she was likely weird.
As if the negative talk wasn’t enough, I often heard from older women, “Don’t worry. These are the most difficult years. Just do what it takes to get through it. The years will go quickly and then you can ship them out and have a nice, quiet house again and do whatever you want.”
Deep down, I knew in my mama-heart that something wasn’t right with the attitudes around me.
After speaking to a dear older friend, I had hope! Real hope!
If God had entrusted me with these little souls, then why should I eagerly await the time to “ship them out” and “do what it takes to get through” my days?
Guess what I learned.
I learned that mothering doesn’t end at the age of 5! I learned that it’s OK to respond to their needs without feeling guilt or that I’m spoiling them! I learned that YES, the preschool years are:
- crazy (especially when throwing a special needs child into the mix)
- and tiring.
I also learned the preschool years are:
Yes, those older women were correct–the preschool years do go by quickly.
Way too quickly.
One thing I’ve learned as the years have flown by is that their little hearts are the most impressionable when they’re young. These are formative years when they learn so much from us, even if only learning it through observation. Looking back, I realize that the very years when I had the potential to make a huge impact were the same years that negativity towards motherhood was fueled so strongly.
Yes the years when I only mothered preschoolers were tough, but now I look back on them with fond memories and miss the days when I packed everyone up to attend story hour or when everyone took a nap at the same time. 🙂 I miss seeing the fascination in my older children’s eyes as they discovered something brand new, and when school was simply cuddling on the couch to enjoy a story, sing a song, or do a finger play.
I still have preschoolers now, but it’s different. While I’m able to enjoy special moments with my 2 and 4-year-old, those former preschoolers have new needs which I’m learning to appreciate as well.
But to the mama who still has her many littles around her, yes there are days when it’ll be tough and you’ll be tired, and you’ll wonder just how far your patience can stretch; remember also that you have a tremendous mission and ministry within your grasp. You’re shaping the future with your very hands. Don’t allow others to steal your joy for mothering.
Enjoy these early years, because they do indeed come to an end.
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