Happy Monday! This post may seem like it’s for all the moms in the room, but I promise it’s for YOU too! If you’ve ever felt like you’re drowning and can’t catch your breath, this is for you. If you ever felt completely incapable or under qualified, this is for you. AND if you’re a mom of all the littles then of course, this is for you too. :)
Our sweet Elliott was born on December 16th. Anniston turned two on January 12th. That means for 27 days I was able to claim two under two and get all the sympathy I could muster. Just kidding… kinda. ;) Both of these girls are the ultimate blessings and you will NEVER catch me complaining about their little lives, but you will find me keeping it real over here. Blessings or not, some seasons are HARD. And ya know what, that’s okay to admit! (Something I’m still learning myself!)
But back to those 27 days. For 27 days I had two under two and let me tell ya, for those first 21 days I was not sure if I was going to make it. I’m pretty sure this has nothing to do with them being two under two and more to do with the fact that we added a member to our family party and a certain toddler had her world rocked a little bit… but claiming two under two sounds better. :)
I’ll try not to ramble here, but long story short, Anniston ADORES her baby sister. I mean it. I’m not just bragging on my kid. She straight up LOVES her. Does that mean she knows how to be gentle with her? Not necessarily, but she loves her nonetheless! We are so grateful that she doesn’t seem to carry any resentment to someone coming in and stealing the attention AND that she doesn’t seem to be upset with me at all for all of a sudden sharing my time with someone else. So our big fears did not come to fruition (insert all the praise hands), but her world still got rocked and we all noticed.
There were tantrums on tantrums. There was testing of boundaries. There were spankings and time outs.
I’ll just paint one little picture for you of ONE moment in ONE day in those 27 days. I’m sitting on the couch nursing Elliott while Anniston is sweetly playing on the floor in front of me. She notices I’m nursing and decides now is the time to climb up the far end of the couch, out of my reach, and try and jump off the back (all with the most mischievous smile on her face… this kid is too smart for her own good). I rip Elliott off my boob to grab Anniston before she falls. Breastmilk is spraying everywhere. Elliott is crying. Anniston is dying laughing. And I’m thinking… I CANNOT DO THIS. And that my friends is just ONE tiny example. :)
So when am I going to get to the point and explain how this relates to EVERYONE? Well in the new trend of picking a “word” for the new year, I picked one too (aka after lots of nagging from my super spiritual husband who MADE me pick a word… but I digress). I did cheat a little because I need two words to make it work.
My word(s): Dependently Capable
If you’ve been following me for awhile or go to our church then you have heard the story about how we got pregnant with Elliott after the Lord’s promise to me. (Read here) In a nutshell, I heard the Lord speak “You are capable because I am capable”. So “capable” has been all over my heart for about 10 months now as we prepared for and then welcomed Elliott into the world. But I was forgetting the main part… I am not capable on my own. No, I am capable because HE is capable. So not only must I be dependent on HIM for my capability, I have also felt called to be dependent on OTHERS for my capability.
If you know me well, you know I am fiercely independent. Just ask my mom. :) It’s not just hard, it is PAINFUL for me to ask for help. I like to do things on my own. Definitely my performance driven personality, but I like to prove, “Look at me! I did it all by myself!” (Now who is the toddler here? Ha!) So as I was praying over my word “capable” for the new year the Lord clearly added in the DEPENDENTLY part.
First and foremost, we most depend on HIM for our strength. To get us through the day. To give us patience. To give us peace. To sustain us. He is “our refuge and strength, an every-present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1) He is “my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.” (Psalm 54:4) He is completely capable and ALL powerful to see us through whatever comes our way.
BUT I believing He is calling me… and you too.. to depend on EACH OTHER! I’m not sure about you, but I don’t like asking for help. I feel like it is admitting defeat. But my thinking could not be more wrong.
A friend asked if she could come over and help with bedtime with the girls when she knew Miles was gone. My first natural instinct was to say no because I wanted to show Miles, everyone, and myself that I could do it on my own… no matter how much harder it would be or how much more exhausted I would be from it. For probably about the first time ever I thought, “Why would I say no? No one gets a gold star for doing it on their own!” I said “YES” and in just that first step of saying “yes” I felt a burden lift! I felt years worth of pressure to do it on my own start to fade. That sweet friend came and simply held Elliott so I could get Anniston down smoothly. Part of me felt so silly for having someone give up an hour and drive out of their way just to come hold my babe, but part of me felt SO at peace knowing I didn’t have to do it on my own. Help was there. I am NEVER in it alone.
I can safely say I wouldn’t have made it through those first 27 days of my “two under two” if I hadn’t accepted help. It took 21 days for me to figure it out, but I finally got there! Friends came and held my babies. They brought dinner and picked up groceries. They gave me alone time! As I started to accept help I felt the fog start to lift. I was able to be more intentional with my family. I was able to tend to all of the BIG feelings my very LITTLE toddler was feeling. And I think in some small way, modeling that mommy needs help may be showing her that she needs help too! She doesn’t have to do it on her own either! Mommy is here to help get the shoes on she so desperately wants to get on by herself and to wipe the tears that come when the feelings just get too big AND to save her from the big boo boos that would come if she did dive off the back of that couch. ;) And by day 21 of “two under two” I realized, we can do this. WE can make it. But only because there is a “we”!
Maybe you’re great at asking for help, but the more I’ve talked to friends, I realize I’m not so alone in struggling with this. I would challenge you to not only accept help when it is offered, but ASK for help. You’d be surprised at how much you are NOT being a burden and how much you may actually be a BLESSING by opening that door with someone! I also challenge you to BE the help for someone else! Can I grab coffee for you? Bring by lunch? Fold a load of laundry? Hold your babe so you can shower? Quiz you for that test? It doesn’t have to be much, but oh how one little task can go a LONG way as we build community together! We are not meant to live alone! “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” -Proverbs 27:17. “Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” -Romans 12:5.
This is a long one, and if you’ve stuck with me so far then I am praying for YOU. I am praying you open your hands and depend on the God of the universe for your strength today. I am praying you open your heart and welcome community into your life. I am praying you let go of your fierce independence and accept the help from others. I am praying you reach out and are the help. I am praying that throughout all of this you uncover peace that is only from above and true friendships that may be right in front of you!
Remember, YOU are capable because HE is capable. You CAN do this, BUT you don’t have to do it alone!
She took a pouty, post nap two year old and made some magic!
Chair - Pottery Barn Kids