I know the Bible says to not boast, but I'm totally going to brag about my new backyard right now. (We moved in mid-May and purchased at the end of March, so we had low expectations of what we would find.) It's an oasis, to say the least. I wish I could have you all over to experience it because, gosh, pictures don't do it justice, especially right now when all of the summer flowers are in bloom. The previous owners put so much time and thought into the design of the garden. To say we feel extremely fortunate would be an understatement. All that to say, our backyard is an amazing place to relax. A few days after the move, my husband and I found ourselves hanging out on the deck while our boys were watching shows inside and it hit me: we're in a new boat now. To be honest, we've been in this boat for quite awhile but I didn't really recognize it until that day. I'm a big fan of analogies, so, of course, my mind ran with the "boat" concept but perhaps you prefer "new chapter" or "new...car?". I don't really know other examples of this, so I'm just sticking with boats. I'm not terribly far into my fleet but this is what I envision as my boat progression so far: Canoe, Rowboat, & Fishing boat (I told you that I'm a BIG fan of analogies). Also, let's not fall into the trap that progressing to the next step means the previous stage lacked beauty and joy and that the next step will lack challenge. I'm a firm believer that every stage of motherhood has beauty and challenge--it just looks different stage to stage and person to person.
The Canoe: The beginning stages of parenthood and, honestly, my least favorite boat (figuratively and literally---why canoe when you can kayak??). It was precarious and I felt like I could fall at any moment. I learned how to focus on the important things, how to be ok with a slower pace, and that I couldn't control life without help.
The Rowboat: There was still a lot of manual labor required here, but there was also more stability. I could handle more and the possibilities seemed a bit more expansive. My assistance was still greatly needed but it was simpler.
The Fishing boat (my current boat): Like I said before, I've been in this boat for at least a year, perhaps even two years, but I didn't full acknowledge that until a couple months ago. It feels like there are fewer menial tasks for me to complete and life is moving along at a quicker (hopefully not too quickly!) and slightly smoother pace.
My boys are five and almost eight and I have the pleasure of them being able to play unsupervised because no one is going to potentially swallow a LEGO piece or try to eat a crayon or pull down a lamp or bookcase while attempting to stand up independently. And if any of that does happen now, the amount of sympathy I can muster is minimal because, well, they know better by now. Yep, I totally just said that. I mean, come on. If my eight year old tries to eat a crayon....guys, seriously? He's just being an idiot at this point in the game.
I quite clearly remember the days when this was not the case. The days of helping with shoes and bathroom visits and diapers and feedings and what felt like every single little (and big) task--I'm exhausted just thinking about it. There were days where it felt like I'd be in a canoe forever and that fishing boat days would never come. Maybe you're feeling like that? Or maybe you even feel like you don't even have a boat and you're trying to just stay afloat in the water. I get that, too. I think we all do. No matter what boat we're currently in, those days do and will happen. That fact certainly doesn't make it easier but hopefully knowing that you aren't alone will.
And, hey, need a break? Come visit my backyard! It just might help. :-)
Until next time.
p.s. Feel like you're in the water without a boat today or just worn out from whatever stage of motherhood you're in? I'd love to offer you extra support and encouragement or simply just an opportunity to vent. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.