I was reading a post on a fellow blogger’s Facebook, about the struggles of having 3 kids, and of having parents or in-laws watch you barely surviving and telling you, “Want so many kids for what?”
So for those of you with multiple toddlers and struggling, this piece is for you.
I totally agree that the early years are difficult, even torturous maybe. I remember the time when all 5 of them (plus the hubs AND the helper) were ill with stomach flu and were vomiting all over the place, day and night, over the course of 3 weeks.
I was so sleep deprived, tired and frustrated from cleaning up and changing sheets that I wished I could just walk away. But I couldn’t. I still had to be there for them. I learnt to find my inner strength.
However, that is just a season. It will be over before you know it (yes, even though it doesn’t seem so).
The wonderful thing is, do you know what are the 3 greatest gifts I have received after becoming the mother to 6 little human persons?
1) I’ve got my priorities right
We race through life, chasing after so many things. This is just how our society is.
We don’t have time to pause to think.
But at the end of it all, did all those things bring us any lasting happiness?
Having so many kids, I didn’t have the luxury of time to do whatever I wanted. I had to scale down my lifestyle.
I was forced to sit down and think.
What exactly were my priorities?
What was important to me in life?
I realised that it was to have family and friends around me whom I care about dearly and who care for me.
I used to take my parents and in-laws for granted, but after going through many challenges myself, I can understand what they must have gone through.
I now attempt to spend more time with them, to be more patient with them and to do what will make them happy as they are on their last leg of life’s journey.
Now, I also much prefer having intimate chats with close friends as compared to gatherings in big groups, as we share our lives and our struggles and we listen and support one another through the ups and downs of life.
I’m also trying to find time to do more charity work as a family and to help others in any way we can.
2) I’ve learned to live
Have you ever watched kids playing in the rain?
They look like they have absolutely no cares in the world.
They radiate joy and happiness, laughing and having so much fun.
Just by being fully in the moment and enjoying whatever they are doing.
So simple yet profound.
We as adults have forgotten how to live.
We are doing, we are accumulating, but we are not living.
And we think, when we have that, when we have reached that point of success, (or for some of my single friends) when we find the right person and get married, things will be perfect and we will be happy.
How wrong we are.
Life is in the now.
After all the physical pain I have gone through with them; sitting with one at the A&E with a fractured arm, carrying one after an eye operation with both eyelids bleeding, rushing one to the clinic when an allergy almost killed her, all these re-focused me on what is important in life.
At times, I was so physically, mentally and emotionally drained that I didn’t know how I was going to carry on.
But you do, you just do.
And only when you are stretched, when you are pushed beyond your boundaries, do you grow.
Only by emptying of yourself are you fulfilled.
The irony of it all.
I have learnt that I have a capacity to love so deeply.
Having children makes you go beyond yourself.
Be it the ups and downs of life, the happiness or the sadness, I am now able to embrace all of it.
3) I’ve found true happiness
Yes, having so many kids have limited what I can do at the moment.
With little kids, my life slowed to a crawl.
But it was then that I learnt to appreciate the simple things in life.
Marvelling at the beauty of a flower, watching the ripples in the pond, sharing a mug of hot chocolate with an easily contented child.
All of which I would have never had the time to stop and appreciate, if not for the kids.
I dare say the memories of those precious times of sitting by the kerb, hearing the delighted voices of the kids sharing their joy of seeing yet another beautiful flower “Mom, look at this one! And this!” can rival my experiences of being at the Eiffel tower, sitting in a gondola in Venice, and even skiing in the mountains, all of which I did before I had kids.
It dawned on me that it’s not so much the place, but the people whom I am sharing the experience with, that counts.
I realised that true happiness comes from being with people you love.
And it comes from living for others. Your children, your family, strangers in need.
To be truly content, I only need my family by my side.
So take heart, as those early years are but a season.
A season where you struggle.
But in your difficulties, you learn to appreciate the simple things. I took so many things for granted before, even something simple like being able to walk, and it was only after going through difficult times that I learnt to appreciate the good times.
Before you know it, that season is gone.
No more constant cuddles and little feet climbing into your lap. No more “I wurve you mummy” every other minute.
No more having the cutest little face peeking up at you with some mischief up their sleeve.
No more hearing those belly laughs with no cares in the world.
My oldest is now 15, yet my job is far from done.
The early years of physical demands are over. Now it’s a mental challenge. Yup, the teenage years.
I hope that I can continue to raise them to be people of compassion, to have a good and kind heart to go out into the world and make a difference.
For them to embrace life, treasure it and go forth with passion.
To find their destiny and to fulfil it.
To grow into adults with the right values which they will pass on to their children.
That is the legacy I hope to leave behind.
I am far from it but at least I have charted my course and I will plod along one day at a time, never forgetting to pause and smell the flowers.
I am thankful beyond words to have the chance to enjoy another little being. I was too busy surviving to have really enjoyed the journey with the other 5.
With Kate, I will be more present to her.
Because I have realised that life is indeed made up of the little things.
Here’s to kids.
Here’s to life.
Lesson #5: Passion vs Family
Lesson #6: Finding our children’s gifts and talents
Lesson #7: Teach our children compassion by little actions
Lesson #9: What must kids do for us to stop pushing them over the edge?
Lesson #10: Who’s selfish? The kids or me?
Lesson #11: Confronting death teaches you about life
Lesson #12: To measure our lives in love
Lesson #13: The day they fly
Lesson #14: Do our kids even know we love them?