We’re in the Hardest Part {And A Giveaway}

I hate daylight savings time. With a fiery passion I usually only reserve for Twilight, olives, and the weeds in my backyard. Why, you ask? Well, if you are asking, you probably don’t have kids. All three of my kids have been infants during the summer, during DST. All three of them are for some reason, very sensitive to the sunlight, leaving me with two infants who aren’t asleep for the night until about 10 p.m. (or later). Someday I’ll get to have a conversation with my husband, right? Someday we’ll get more than 15 minutes of down time at the end of the day, right? Right?

I was thinking about this the other day while scribbling in my gratitude journal and I almost wrote, “the longer days” as something I am grateful for. I am, because longer days means we can sometimes take a walk as a family after Atticus gets home from work and before bath and bedtime. I am, because some nights, like last night, Maggie played with a group of neighbor kids of all ages for most of an hour, entertaining themselves with chalk, sticks, and singing “let it go” much to everyone’s delight. I’m grateful for the extra light, but it also makes my life (and my job) a lot harder, keeping those babies up much later than they should be.

I think that parenting is like that, and to some extent, even our children. We love them, they bring us so much joy and help us grow in virtue, but yet, in a lot of ways they make life (and our job of raising them!) so very difficult sometimes, challenging us in ways we never imagined before they were given to us by God.

It’s one of the universal truths of parenthood that the hardest part of parenting comes, paradoxically, right at the beginning when you know the least.

Every mom (or dad) I’ve talked with in recent memory, no matter if they have 10 children or 1, has said that the hardest most draining aspect of parenting has been when you have little children at home (ages 4 and under) and ONLY little children at home. Even Michelle Duggar, mom of 19 living children, said that the hardest time in her parenting journey was when they had 5 kids 5 and under (including a set of twins!). Yet, so often we don’t realize that it won’t be like this forever. My babies are so literally helpless that I have to put the food in their mouth. My three year old is getting very independent, but she still needs me to wipe her you-know-what and help her pick out her clothes, bathe, brush her teeth, and fix her every meal. Children at this age have relentless, exhausting needs.  Between birth and age 4, there is strikingly little they can do for themselves. That’s just the truth. Anyone who tells you otherwise either has enough children now that they have older ones to help and they’ve forgotten, or they don’t yet have children.

So this post, today, is for the moms with only little ones. You might know them by the circles under their eyes, the extra large coffee mugs, the wild-eyed look of an Amish teen on Rumspringa when they finally have an evening to themselves. You also know them by the joy in their eyes as they rock a precious sleeping baby, the surprised smile when their little one wraps tiny arms around a softened waist, looking up at their mommy with adoration in her eyes.

This is the hardest part my sisters, my warrior mothers, my friends. We are in the hardest part. I see you. God sees you. Your children see you. Someday, they will wipe their own ass. I promise.

To that end, I’m doing a little giveaway. I picked up this super cute gratitude journal a few weeks ago on clearance and I am so excited to give it away to one of you lovely readers.


The front cover says “In everything, give thanks”

On the inside it has lined pages and beautiful quotes about gratitude and joy. I love it! One lucky reader can love it too. All you need to do to enter is to like the Fumbling Toward Grace facebook page. For an additional entry, you can follow me on Twitter and/or Pinterest. Those beautiful blue buttons on the top right of the page will take you to those pages. The giveaway opens this morning (6/10) and will close at midnight on Friday. To enter, click the link above for the FTG facebook page, and there you will see a tab for giveaways. Easy peasy.

May the odds be ever in your favor!

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  • http://Www.graceandpressure.blogspot.com Grace

    I just hung up three blackout curtains in my daughters room, all layered on top of each other, so I am totally with you! This was a lovely post, too.

  • Sarah

    Oh Sarah! There is so much truth in this post. I have 3 kids 6, 3 and 10 mths. I would do anything to see them smile or laugh. But, Sometimes you want to throw up your hands and run away screaming.

  • http://www.saintaffairs.com Erica Saint @ Saint Affairs

    Beautiful post! Because of my pcos/infertility I have only had one baby under 5 years old at a time, but it was definitely a tough job! I applaud you and all the moms with many little ones. I am not entering to win that beautiful journal, but I will definitely share your giveaway on my FB page to help get the word out! :)

  • http://gravatar.com/snaffy500 snaffy500

    We have an August birthday! Bed times come too early right now. The suns still out! It’s hard playing outside then coming in and we are both starving. Lots of cereal nights.

  • http://mylifeasafiremanswife.blogspot.com/ Mia

    This post is great! I have a 2 year old and an 8 month old, and life definitely is stressful at times with my littles. But at the same time, I LOVE their ages right now. O n good days I want them to stay this young forever. However, there are so many challenging days too. I could see why the majority of people stop having kids after having two. It’s not easy! But I also am excited to give these babies siblings!

  • http://michelle-endlessstrength.blogspot.com Michelle @ Endless Strength

    Yes, you are in the hard part. I haven’t forgotten — though I have moved on, Hallelujah. It’s a gratifying time, but it is definitely hard.

  • http://acatholicreversal.blogspot.com Christina

    Sarah, this post resonates with me so much! I have 3 “big kids” and 3 little kids. Everything you shared is so true and I do relish in the help and love my big girls share with the littles. It is a sweet but demanding time and I have learned to buy black out curtains!. May God continue to bless your famly!

  • http://revolutionofloveblog.com bobbi @ revolution of love

    Want to hear something funny, just the other day I wrote in my gratitude journal that I am thankful for our black out curtains! I’ve got three little guys 6, 4, &3 that go to bed at 7:30, which is hard since the sun isn’t setting until around 8:30. The black out curtains have saved my sanity!! Although, it took weeks to train them to stay in bed and not cry because they had to go to bed while the sun was still out. LOL. BTW, I tried to join the contest but it was over! Maybe next time you could make the contest run at least a week for us slackers that take forever to read their favorite blogs. :-)

  • https://www.facebook.com/nicole.m.riens Nicole Riens

    Cute giveaway item! I am trying so hard to remember how lucky I am!

  • Pat

    Thank you for writing. I agree with everything you say. It is the hardest time.