Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Willing to Submit

So this has been a crazy season in my life. Having five kids has been totally overwhelming me.
*sidenote. I hate writing posts like this because I am so richly blessed. There are SO many people that have it worse off than me. It's hard to imagine someone complaining who has five beautiful kids, a loving husband, a house for their family, running water, all the things. I know so many who suffer in major, life-changing ways. But I need to record these feelings, and these are the experiences that have been given to me.

-Frank was a totally fun baby. I knew after Frank there would be another, and I had visions of how fun my last baby would be, what a good attitude I would have. I would savor the baby stage, take cute newborn photos because it was my last, and just revel in the magic of having a baby in the house again one.last.time. If it was my last, I had to make it magical! But none of that has panned out. My dreams have been overtaken by how exhausted I am, tired, and overwhelmed I feel because there's always too much to get done.

-I have trouble nursing my babies, but for whatever reason I've been able to nurse more with Gretchen (although we still supplement, just less than normal at this point). While I am really glad, it has been so hard! My hormones are different than normal, I'm hungry and emotionally eat, and I'm just so much more attached (like can't leave) to my baby.

-Gretchen wants to be held most of the time. She doesn't sleep well during the day, and a lot of the time if she's not asleep she wants to be held. I haven't put her in a sling or a baby carrier because honestly I don't want to hold her all the time! I love my baby, but the constant stimulation is too much for me. Sometimes when Ben comes home I don't want to be touched because I've had somebody in my arms all.day.longggg

-Also yes tired. I'm tired from feeding Gretchen a couple times in the night and also go-go-going all day long with the summertime kids, and Ben is tired from working long hours and then taking over on the four older kids when he gets home (which was exhausting before we had a baby!). It's the kind of tired where you can't keep your eyes open past 9:30 and you fall asleep on the couch when you are reading to your kids during the day. The one saving grace is that at least I don't have to get up early every morning and make lunches for school anymore!

-Frank is well Frank. I love Frank, he is such a sweetheart, but if you know him he is busy. He's destructive, dangerous, a climber, all the things. It's exhausting to feed Gretchen all day, being tied to a chair and also wondering if Frank has scaled the fence in the backyard and is now running towards the road. At least it's summer and the other kids can (kind of) help. Cheyenne is actually the only kid strong enough to pick up Frank if she has to. And well if you've ever asked an 8-year-old to 'keep an eye on' another kid, you know how well that works.

-Speaking of the other kids, it's summer! Smile. To any mom with kids in school, you know how exhausting summer is. Trying to keep the kids occupied, trying to keep the house clean, trying to enforce chores, trying to keep up on the laundry (spoiler alert: I'm not), trying to feed everyone, trying to keep them from rotting their brains in front of screens, trying to keep them from fighting with each other, all while sitting in a chair feeding a baby most of the time is VERY hard to do! I am exhausted, overwhelmed, all of the things.


I've had four other kids so I know this season is temporary. It gives me peace that I will one day be 'normal' again, but it is still so hard to be 'out of sync' everyday. It hard to look at those piles of laundry and say, "We're all going to be ok." It's hard to see your husband fall asleep on the couch again and say, "This too shall pass."

But going through all this for the fifth time, and for it to be the hardest 'time' ever of baby time (for us), I know this is a service I am doing. My daughter NEEDS ME. She needs me to relax on screen time, to eat off paper plates for this season. She needs a mom, a family. We can all loosen up a little bit, sacrifice some of our comfort to take care of her in her time of need.

But sacrifice for mortals doesn't mean giving every last drop you have. You still have to take care of yourself, so you can take care of others. It means saying yes, Ben can hold Gretchen most of the time he's home so I can feel like a human again. It means choosing to stay up until 11:30pm just so I can write down some thoughts in the peace and quiet :). It means letting the baby take a few more bottles so I can go to the temple. It means sleeping in on Saturdays. It means exercising by myself. And it means chocolate because you made it to bedtime one more time!

I know someday I will look back on this time and not even remember the exhaustion, the tiredness, the overwhelm, because I can barely remember it with my other kids. But I know that right now I can choose my attitude, and that attitude can make my life harder or easier. It would make my life harder to complain and be frustrated and angry and grouchy. Not having the Holy Ghost is not a fun way to live. No I'm not sunny and smiling and always able to keep my emotions in check, but I can be willing to do the tasks that are laid out before me.

For the natural man is an enemy to God, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father. -Mosiah 3:19

'Willing to submit,' repentance, and praying DAILY for the Holy Ghost will get me through.


  1. I'm an older sister but don't have an older sister, and to me, you are one! Thank you for all your wisdom, perspective, and faith. You have reminded me of so many important things and I'm sure whenever our next baby comes, I'll be revisiting this post. I love your paper plates and screen time comment. Life won't always be like this and you are wise to give yourself lots and lots of grace during this season. Hang in there, Ashley! It will get easier!

    1. This means so much to me. Thanks Carly. The examples of my older sisters are so helpful to me, and the people in my life who act as older sisters to me too. And thanks for the encouragement. Today was a better day, so we'll get there!

  2. I love you, Ashley. You are a saint and a good mother, and I have a lot of empathy for you. Thanks for being honest. It can help struggling mothers out there. You are in my constant prayers. I admire you. Hang on.

  3. Ashley, You are right, I can't remember the utter exhaustion. I can remember being tired all the time and forcing myself to get up and fold laundry or start dinner. I can remember falling fast a sleep in a chair as I nursed my baby and just basically being sleep deprived. Now I can take naps if I want but if I do it will ruin my night. Life is never perfect. Mom