I so cherish the newborn phase. My sweet daughter turned two months old today, and I find myself wishing she was still brand new so I could relive each tender moment of new baby precious-ness. I love pressing her soft cheeks against mine and breathing in that baby-soft scent, feeling her chest rise and fall gently as I hold her close... these moments of new life are irreplaceable. And they are painfully fleeting.
But, sometimes, they are hard. Though I wish I could just spend the day snuggling my baby - there are tasks to be done, laundry to wash and fold, bathrooms to disinfect, meals to prepare, and four other munchkins to love and cherish and train. There are petty squabbles to break up, and homework to wrestle through, and owies to bandage.
I do so many things one-handed, it is sort of comical. My husband laughed at me the other day when I served him a ham and cheese sandwich with the cheese sliced in a ridiculously thick wedge - 'cause I had a sleeping infant in my arms when I cut it. I vacuum one-handed, and teach school one-handed, and scrub dishes one-handed. This stage is wonder-filled, delightful, and deeply treasured. It is also busy. And since I am an incurable perfectionist, I struggle with wanting to do everything well. I want to spend hours gazing into Malia's eyes and making silly faces to watch her smile. I want to have meaningful one-on-one time with all the older kids. I want to serve, love, and share intimacy with my wonderful husband. I want to manage our home perfectly so that every meal is well-balanced and every room is spotless.
But, I can't do all those things simultaneously. So, as I muddle through and strive for joy and laughter in the midst of often chaotic household, I have to sing a mantra over my feeble efforts. "Your grace is enough!" has become my daily refrain. God's grace will cover the missed opportunities, the mistakes, the lack of sleep (although my sweet girl is sleeping six hour stretches, so I am feeling rested and grateful!), the haphazard housecleaning, and the sometimes non-nutritive meals. When I am stretched a bit too thin and I can't meet everyone's needs all the time, and when the floor is gritty with grains of wheat farina cereal, and the countertops are caked with toothpaste, and the laundry is still waiting in the dryer at the end of the day... His grace is enough.
I am not perfect, and when the Holy Spirit convicts me of real sin, I need to respond with humble repentance. But I am learning there is a difference between conviction and self-condemnation where I berate myself for being unable to "do it all." I can't do it all, and if I am going to dance gracefully and with deep joy through this beautifully busy season, I have to stop grasping for perfection and accept His grace. I have to let go a bit - breathe, and enjoy each lively moment. Even if things are messy and noisy and my arm feels like it is going to fall off because I have been a one-handed mama for so many hours.:)
Truly, these days are a blessing. Malia is a chubby, happy, amazing baby. I love her smiles, her coos, and her irresistible softness. Raina is thriving in kindergarten at home, and Hope is full of three year old fun. Sadie is loving being a second grader and she is starting basketball this week. Elisa is currently missing school to be in hunting camp with her dad, grandpa, grandma, great-uncle, and second cousin. She actually shot her first grouse on Labor Day, and enjoyed learning how to prepare the breasts for tasty "wild nuggets." The three oldest ran a 5K last weekend.
So... tell me... how do you balance the desire to live fully in each miraculous moment with the necessity of chores, responsibilities, and tasks? What are your secrets for walking by faith and resting in God's grace as you try to "do it all" without stressing over having it all done?