Monday, August 20, 2012

Just keep swimming...

This summer, Cody and I were watching a comedian one night as he described what it's like to have four kids.  He said, "It's like you're drowning and someone hands you a baby."

This resonated with me so much, I literally had tears in my eyes...tears from laughing and tears from crying.  "This guy really gets it!" I thought. 

Just a few months earlier, those had been my words through tears on the phone to Cody, "I just really feel like I'm drowning all.the.time.  Having four kids is killing me."  I was so overwhelmed.   

It certainly doesn't take four kids to feel like you're drowning.  As life situations pile up, those emotions and feelings of helplessness can leave one feeling like they're drowning in a heartbeat. 

I knew I needed help.  I knew I needed encouragement.  I knew I needed accountability.

Thankfully, my husband and some very sweet friends helped me through that "drowning" time of my life.  You see, I had to realize something:  I couldn't do it all.  Simple, right?  But I liked to do it all.  It was a fun challenge before.  My friends were doing it all...or so it felt.

Cody really helped me prioritize and balance things in our lives so that I could function.  He reminded me where true strength and wisdom could be found.  And we made it...head above water the whole time!

Today, I joined in with 25 of my most favorite moms from Moms Up a Creek for the Hello Mornings Challenge.  

One year ago, the thought of doing this challenge would have paralyzed me.  Get up early before the kids?  Exercise?  Read my Bible?  Pray?  Prioritize my day?  No thanks. I think I'll claim every last minute of sleep and squeeze those things in during my day...because that always happens...never.
But all of those things happened this morning.  And it worked.

Here are just a few tips I thought of as I looked back on how I went from "drowning" to "swimming" in a year:

1.  Never be too proud to ask for advice from your husband.  Yes, God did seem to gift women in multitasking, BUT that does not mean we are to feel superior or proud in it.  Ask your husband if he has any time-saving, practical tips.  Ask him what he would like your priorities to willing to change them for him and let go of something you might be holding on to selfishly. 

2.  Look for ways to adapt things to your priorities.  The Hello Mornings Challenge provided a Bible Study to go along with the challenge.  However, I'm already trying to read through the Bible in a year.  Practically, I knew I could not do both things and do either one well.  I chose to save their Bible Study for another time and focus on my Bible reading.

3.  Don't be afraid to "kill two birds with one stone".  I love my iPhone.  (I think anyone who's ever met me probably knows this already.)  My Bible reading plan is on my YouVersion Bible app.  (By the way, they have several awesome reading plans for the whole Bible, the Gospels, Proverbs, etc.--check it out!)  My exercise plan is on my RunKeeper App.  (Don't be fooled, I'm only walking, People.)  When I walked out my front door this morning, I hit start on RunKeeper and play on my Bible.  Hello?  Exercising and listening to Scripture?  It was perfect!
This should also just say, "Don't be afraid".  I can be such a fearful person.  Should I walk alone?  You never know...kidnappers might want to nab this sleepy mom of four early in the morning... Don't be afraid.  Having a phone isn't like having a gun...but it's communication.  Keep it on you.

4.  Plan ahead.  I guess this one should have been earlier on my list...but I didn't plan ahead. Haha.  Last night, I laid out everything I would need this morning so I could sneak out quietly.  In case the kids woke early, they had clothes laid out and cereal in their bowls.  A bottle was ready in the refrigerator.  Everyone is going to be out for a few minutes in the morning; you will survive until she returns.

God has taken me from cries of drowning to confidently participating in an early morning challenge!

So Hello Mornings!

What's your best tip for staying afloat in motherhood?


sara said...

Oh I remember those days and those are great tips. Interestingly, those are great tips for one like me that is heading into empty nest too! Especially when we tend to "fill" our time all too soon and with too many things!

peter marie said...

Well, I never would have guessed that your were "drowning"! You do motherhood *beautifully* and are always such an inspiration for me!! Thanks for sharing your honesty though.

And duh, love the idea about downloading a bible app to listen to while I "run" (jog). Fantastic idea!! I'm so excited about this's exactly what I needed.

We should power walk together sometime!

peter marie said...

"duh" as in, why haven't I thought of that?!

une autre mère said...

Wow! I too, like Abby, would've never guessed you were drowning. You are such an amazing mother and always so on top of everything. Truly an inspiration to us all. Just like this post! :) Love the tip of listening to the Bible while exercising. I just may have to try that too! I'm also loving this challenge. It hasn't been the smoothest for me yet, with a certain little one waking up waaaay too early in tears about school and needing mommy to comfort her. But at least I'm already up when she comes in at 5:45! That's gotta count for something! :)

Jenn said...

What an inspiration. You make having 4 kids look easy! Thanks for the ideas of how to make it work. I can't use the "newborn crutch" forever.

H-Mama said...

that comedian's quote is the best. *giggle* some days, it's hard to imagine balancing more than my two... but somehow, we mamas make it all work. help is key... we really can't do it all. although we like to try, yes? ;) some great advice here, my friend.