I’ve enjoyed my blog making you all laugh and smile at the hilarity that ensues every day in our crazy house. Today, on a more serious note, I have to tell you my thoughts on being a foster mother/being a mother of 4 toddlers so far.
It is hard. Wow. Way hard. Harder than I could have ever imagined. I always said I wanted to have 6 kids and people would laugh at me. Those who were already parents would say, “You’ll change your mind when you have one.” I knew that if I just had kids through biology I’d want to space them out atleast 3 years apart. I was never into that two under two thing. But, here I am. I think this was some kind of funny joke God decided to play on me asking me to care for 4 kids under 4.
The day in and day out is just busy, hectic, crazy, hard. We wake early in the morning to immediately changing three diapers and dressing 4 kids. Then, to screams of “I want to eat!” we put breakfast on the table and get them all fed. We have to wipe hands and faces, put on shoes, put on jackets and strap 4 into carseats. They can really do nothing for themselves. They are constantly fighting for my attention (or their favorite toy). Baby Girl hates being set down-wanting always to be held. I drive to and from the daycare three times a day-and in the few hours between I grocery shop, clean, run errands, oh, and try to have a life just by going to the gym twice a week (if I’m lucky) or something else that may come up with a friend.
Nothing is simple anymore. You can’t just “run out to the grocery store” or “meet a friend for lunch.” As evidenced by our week last week, you also can’t just “go out for date night.” And, even when you do, you wind up coming home early because you’re so darn tired! Even poor Jake has suffered from lack of walks. Can you imagine how insane it is to take 4 kids for a walk?
Sometimes I feel like I’m not even me anymore. I’m no one but “Mommy.” And yes, I know, that’s the greatest thing I could be. And, most days I feel that way. But then there are other days. Those are the days I feel like I’ve done nothing right. That they didn’t know what they were doing leaving these kids with me. I feel like I just want things to go back to normal. What was I thinking? How can I do this? When will it end?
There are endless appointments, visitations, court dates, doctor visits. One is always sick, tired, or hurt. I get frustrated, angry, sad, disappointed.
I know, though, that God is faithful. He knows the precise time to show His face to me in the midst of my downfall.
He’s faithful when I don’t think I can handle R’s behavior anymore and then, as he gets sleepy in the evening, all he wants to do is cuddle in my lap and stroke the hair that sits on my neck. He’s faithful when N gets in the car after I pick him up from school and he looks at Michael Paul and I and says, “I missed you.” He’s faithful when Baby Girl nearly leaps into my arms out of the arms of anyone else who is holding her. And He’s faithful when Michael goes in to get Michael Paul out of bed in the morning and he won’t get out until I come in to get him.
I know, too, that God is faithful because He hasn’t asked me to do this alone. I think one of the coolest things that’s come of the experience so far (this whole past year but specifically in these 2 months) is the strength of Michael and I’s marriage. Dads–you need to take lessons from Michael. He’s amazing with these kids. He loves them so much he aches when they are sad or especially sick. I love watching him with them, specifically during their special time outside when he gets home from work. Most Dads do not have the privilege of spending as much time with their kids as he does (thanks CCF!) and it shows. These kids adore him. Not to mention, he chips in and picks up my slack all the time. He even knows just what tasks are my least favorite and volunteers to do them every time! He is strong when I am not. He is the ROCK of this family (right, Krista and John?!) When I falter and question and doubt and want to give up, he picks me up out of my pity party and sets me right back on the path God has marked out for us. For that, I am grateful. My husband is like none other.
It’s not easy. It’s downright tough being the mom of 4, especially when 3 of those kids aren’t “technically” yours. But, I know God has called us here. He created me for just this purpose. These are “the least of these.” Something which seems so trivial to me like changing diapers or making bottles or wiping noses can and will become something eternal in His kingdom. But, do me a favor and, if you see me on what seems like a “rough” day, give me a hug. 🙂