How To Fill Up as We Empty Out

This morning I handed my kids clothes fresh out of the dryer to put on, thinking it was a win because I wouldn’t have to fold them. Three seconds later, my almost three-year-old returned the leggings I’d given her, dripping wet, and asked me to wash them.

She had dropped them in the dog’s water bowl. The trenches of motherhood with small children cannot really be explained. We answer the endless stream of questions, we do not waver from the constant vigilance, and we spend years cutting every bite of food smaller than a dime. We treasure the snuggles, the precious smiles and giggles, and the silly misspoken phrases that give insight into how their little brains are processing the world around them. We know the privilege of being the only person in the whole world who can make a certain tiny human feel safe and at peace, but also the drain of being the only person in the world who can make her stop crying. We marvel and we feel a twinge of sadness as they grow into a new phase, share a favorite toy without trouble, brush their own hair, and walk confidently into a new classroom.

What fills us as we constantly empty ourselves into them? How do we care for ourselves enough to be able to grin and bear it when the hour from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. stretches endlessly before us? And the hour involves a toddler pulling down your pants while simultaneously spilling her cup of milk on the floor, all the while you attempt to prepare some sustenance for said toddler that is nutritious, delicious, but most importantly, approved by the tiny dictator so she will actually put it in her mouth.

Perhaps it’s sitting down at your MOPS table with friends who care about you to be immediately asked whether the little one is sleeping any better this week and how the highly anticipated OT appointment went. Maybe it’s a play date with a like-minded mom friend during which you share coffee and countless incomplete conversations because they are constantly interrupted by the needs of your children. Perhaps it’s a music class where you connect with families who share the same values and encourage you along the journey. For some, it’s time outside in the fresh air and sunshine, for others, it’s a few moments alone with a good book, finding 10 minutes to talk on the phone with a friend, or a drive by yourself listening to the music of your choice.

Our modern day society can be a bit isolating to mothers of young children. It’s human nature to crave connection, community, support and affirmation. My prayer for you is that you’ll get enough of whatever it is that fills YOU so you remember to breathe through the next tantrum, instead of dissolving into one yourself.

When my older daughter was learning how to talk, my husband and I were fairly adept at translating her toddler-ese, but there were some phrases that got the best of even us. One day she said something I did not understand. I could have nodded and smiled, but instead I took the time and finally deciphered her words, “God loves, Mama.” Cue heart melting. In Sing n’ Sprout class, we pause the music and take turns telling everyone in class that God loves them. My prayer for you is that you’ll be balanced enough to take pause, and allow God’s love in because he wants to reach you and fill you, so his love can overflow through you to your Lil’ Sprouts.

The right balance is different for everyone, and for some, what keeps motherhood balanced and healthy is finding purpose both inside and outside of our home. Consider becoming a Sing n’ Sprout teacher and starting classes in your own community. It is a wonderful way to build a business, tell others about God’s love and pour into the world around you on your own time. It will fill you, too. Visit our website and connect with us. We would love to have a conversation with you to explain our program and see if it is what God wants for you in this season of your life.