I can remember, when I was a teenager, praying for five sons. I had a friend who was one of six boys, and another friend/mentor who had five children. So maybe somewhere in the midst of all of that, I formed this prayer for five sons. Now I'm the mom of five sons and one daughter. Praise God, He threw in a "bonus" daughter that blesses my socks off.
I knew certain things about it, things I was prepared for. Cooler-looking vehicles stop fitting a family well around 3-4 kids. Boys eat a lot, I knew that. I knew that God can stretch income and that it didn't have to be as expensive to raise kids as "they" say. I knew some tricks about keeping toys tidy, and things like having a drink spot so we didn't go through a million cups a day.
One of the things I didn't know to expect with having a large family was how loud it would be.
Now, my crew are good kids. They really are. But it is STILL loud... crazy loud sometimes. I don't mean screaming and out of control; I just mean, eight people in one household-- at least four of whom are extroverts- is no small thing. And there is constantly someone in our family in the stage of learning not to interrupt, which only adds to the cacophony.
We have a lot of extroverts. I used to be one until I had kids! Now I question whether I'm really an extrovert; it takes me a good hour or so to relax in a group before I feel like talking. It just sometimes takes that long for my mind to unwind and find rest. I think I'm still an extrovert; I'm just a tired extrovert. (Yes, even as a Babywise devotee, I am tired, 11 years into parenting young children.)
What I've learned as a mom, especially in the last few years as my kids have gotten older and chattier, is that I have to steal away and use whatever time I'm given, thoughtfully. I can't just mindlessly do tasks and let time fritter away, and later complain about not having time to myself or time to think. It is so easy to either stumble through days without intentionally mentally engaging with God and His truth, or to be so busy thinking about other things (from homeschooling to busybodying about others to plans/dreams) that we don't intentionally engage with God and His truth.
But God has given each of us these 24 hour days... so what can I do with that? What should I do with that?
I've found myself more and more taking advantage of quiet alone time I'm given while mowing the lawn or washing the dishes or doing the grocery shopping.
Those moments where my mind is free to follow one thought for a good length of time without interruption are rare, but when they come, I jump on it without skipping a beat. I grab a book, turn on a sermon on youtube, sit down and write, speak out my prayers straight out to God, crank up the worship songs, whatever.
But I try to use that time thoughtfully and let God speak to and bless my heart through those rare moments of quiet. Because the quiet does come. Naptimes, time when they're coloring, building with Legos-- those times are precious and work like a healing salve for this tired mom. I just have to use it thoughtfully.
What sorts of things recharge you when you have those small patches of peace and quiet in you rday?