Hi! My name is Cindy and I am the Mother of 8 grown children and 12 grandchildren. As my children have started their own families they have asked me many times, "Mom, how did you do it?" I have reflected back on that question and came to the realization that it was very hard but I learned some things along the way that might help other Mothers with young children:
1. Take time to fill your oil lamp. You are always giving of yourself emotionally, spiritually and physically as a mother. You need to take time for yourself at least once a week or you won't have anything good left for your family. Suggestions would be daily prayer or meditation, weekly date night with your husband, a girls night out with your friends, developing a good friend network so that you can trade babysitting with or just have a good friend who you can share your joys and sorrows with, some sort of exercise program, or develop a hobby.
2. Develop a plan of the day with your young children. They do a lot better if they have structure in their day and it makes your day better too. Examples would be: wake-up time, breakfast, teeth, straighten room, art time, singing time, outdoor play, lunch time, quiet time or nap time for an hour. This gives mom time to take a quick run through the house to clean-up and maybe read or work on your hobby. Run errands after nap, play time, have kids help you make dinner. They love to help in the kitchen. Family dinner at the table, talk about your day, and teach by example table manners, conversation and everyone have clean-up time together. Dad can spend time with kids so mom can work on things she needs to do. Team work is really important. Bedtime routine and them mom and dad time.
3. Don't take yourself to seriously. Relax, laugh a lot and play and sing with your children. They will remember those days with fondness as they get older. Build good memories and enjoy the journey. The dishes and laundry will get done but have fun doing it and include your children so that they can learn those life skills. Be positive and happy and your children will learn from you how to handle life's challenges by the way you handle them. They are the best little mimickers.
4. Remember that this time passes quickly and this is the most important thing that you can be doing NOW. You are developing young minds and helping to shape your children into loving, giving, productive members of society. Raising young children is exhausting and repetitious. Having the benefit of hindsight, I can now see that it was worth it. When you think they aren't listening or getting it, they are. If you teach now while they are young and sharpen the saw, it will be a lot easier on you when they become teenagers. Before you know it this time of your life will be over and then you will have lots of hours to do all the things you ever wanted to do. You will look back on this time with fondness and even miss it a little. The best thing is that your relationship changes with your children as they grow older and become adults and your friends.
5. Don't give up! You haven't failed until you quit trying. Be forgiving of yourself and don't judge yourself by what other mothers are doing but by your own personal progression. Say you're sorry to your children when you are wrong and they will learn to be forgiving. Let them know that you are learning just like them and that this is a journey you are taking together. Children will cut you a lot of slack when you can admit that mommy makes mistakes too.
6. The thing that helped me the most was a personal relationship with my Heavenly Father. My knees hit the floor first thing in the morning and I asked for help, patience, charity and strength each day. It's amazing what you can accomplish when you don't try to do it all alone. Things just seem to go better with the help of a loving Father-in Heaven, a good partner in your husband, and good family and friends. If you don't have family close by adopt them. I did, and they become a wonderful part of our life.
I am at a time in my life now where I actually miss those days. I have wonderful friends in my grown children and have the blessing of being able to be involved with my grandchildren. They are such a delight! Totally different then being a parent. I can just enjoy them and not feel all the responsibility of how they turn out. Having these relationships with my children, and the joy of all the family I have, has brought me great happiness and made that hard journey of raising children so worth it! I hope these things I have shared might make your journey a little easier. Happy traveling!