How Do You Do It?
by Heidi Swartzentruber
When my husband and I got married nearly four and a half years ago, I never dreamed that I would also become a mommy to four little boys in less than three years. I always wanted a big family and loved babies, but never thought it would happen so quickly. Twins and a super surprise baby were not in the plans, but apparently, God knew that was what our little family needed.
My days are full of changing pampers, potty training accidents, handing out snacks, lots of snuggles and hugs from little boy arms, discipline, and toys everywhere. Some days it feels like my dream life, and other days I just want to go off and hide and be with other adults and be known as someone other than Mommy.
Motherhood is a paradox of struggling to give up all of yourself for someone else, while being filled with such an overwhelming love that you would do anything for that someone else. It’s teaching another human how to be the best he can be, while learning the worst things about yourself. It’s so humbling to deal with your child lashing out at his sibling for stealing his toy, and then turning around and seeing that same anger in your own heart after your favorite plant gets shredded to pieces for the twenty-first time.
Some things I’ve learned since becoming a momma is that it’s okay to go cry. It’s okay to ask for help when you need a break. It’s even okay for your kids to see you frustrated and upset, as long as you also show them how to apologize and own up to your faults. It’s okay to sit on the couch and let your children run wild while you have “quiet” time, because it’s important for your children to see their momma spending time with Jesus.
I try to smile at my children a lot, and to laugh with them. There is nothing worse than a grouchy mom to make a day go horribly. My boys always pick up on my moods, and when a day seems to have gone from bad to worse, I can almost always track it back to me. When I’m on my phone too much, or prioritize my work and don’t stop and take the time to really notice my children, they feel it, and start being naughty and whiny.
My husband and I have noticed recently how much my eldest son is influenced by me. Whatever I say is gospel to him, and he immediately copies me and adopts my thinking as his own. For instance, I love thunder storms so much, and have taught him that they are fun and cozy, and he has never been scared of them. But I hate snakes with a passion, and in turn, he now hates them as well. “Kill it, Daddy! Kill it dead! HATE ‘nakes.” If I say something is gross and nasty, he won’t touch it because it is now obviously gross and nasty. It’s the dearest thing, but also sobering to know that I am being so devotedly watched.
A lifesaver for me in this busy season of life, has been taking time to talk with other moms. They may be other young moms, or moms that have much older children. They may be grandmas who are long removed from those child training years. No matter what stage they are in, they all have wisdom to give. And when they don’t have any advice to give, it just helps to have someone that listens to you, and gets what you are going through. Motherhood can be lonely, and finding a community of loyal friends is more important than I can say! When it’s hard to get out of the house with a bunch of young children, invite friends to your own house, and offer them something simple like iced coffee while you talk.
Do not forget your husband. He is still the most important person in your life, and you need to prioritize him. It’s something I’ve failed at in the past, and am working to do better. Yes, my children need me, but my husband does too. A hug when he comes home from work, stopping to appreciate a project he’s doing, keeping his tea glass filled during supper, smiling at him, leaving the house a bit of a mess occasionally in the evening and spending time with him instead, snuggling and holding hands while watching a movie.…small things that go a long way. I’ve been blessed with a husband that loves me well, and is an incredible daddy to our boys. I honestly do not know what I’d do without him.
As I get ready to meet our fourth baby boy in a few weeks, I have moments of terror as I wonder how on earth I am going to juggle everything and still be a good mom to all my boys. But at the same time, I am so excited about another sweet baby who will fill our home with his sweet cries and tiny waving fists, and I know that we soon will not be able to imagine our family without him. Things might be crazy for a while, but they will also be wonderful, and there is nowhere else I’d rather be. A mom of four boys is what I am meant to be, and by God’s grace, I will do the best I can.
Hi! I am a Northern girl, transplanted to the South, where I live with my dear, bearded husband and three boys (soon to be four in a few weeks). I love being a stay at home momma more then anything, but when I do have some spare time, I love spending it thrifting, organizing (it's the only way I stay sane in our little house with so many babies), or doing something creative, such as journaling, making a magnolia leaf wreath, and perfecting my typography. I also love photography and do photoshoots on the side. Friendships are so important to me, and random coffee dates fuel my soul. Instagram has become such a wonderful community for me as well, and I love all the friendships I've made with fellow mommas, who I would not have been able to "meet" otherwise. If you like, you can follow along @a_heidimarie.