I’ve been a mother now for seven years. Which means I have learned a thing or two. Of course I have many years ahead and many more lessons. But in these first seven years, the lesson that I have learned over and over and over and over and over again is that everything is just a season. Every trial is just a season. Every hardship and challenge is just a season.

The trouble is that when you are sleep deprived and irritable then you forget that little fact. And you go down a familiar spiral that may sounds something like, “the babies don’t nap together anymore. Alden wakes up, Hattie goes down and then Hattie wakes up and Alden goes down. I’ll never have a minute to myself again! I will die at age 89 never having another minute to myself!”

It sounds silly to write it out, but in that downward spiral, it feels very rational and terrible.

This happened last Thursday night. And I felt terribly sorry for myself. And once again, I made sure my husband, Rory knew how sorry I felt for myself.

I went to bed and woke up every 3 hours with Alden and then it was Friday morning. Alden used to sleep long stretches through the night, but he must be growing, because the boy wakes and eats often again…

So Friday began and I wasn’t ready for it. I had made four casseroles the night before for Casserole Club and was getting everyone ready to head out the door to swap meals. (So brilliant: make four lasagnas, give three away, come home with three other large meals…) I jumped in the shower and for some reason decided to put on my big girl pants. Not actual pants. The figurative ones that tell a girl that she can find solutions in difficult seasons.

I got out of the shower and went to comb my hair, but all the combs we own were out of the bathroom. Like always. And we own a lot because of this exact situation. I opened the drawer for my brush and it was gone too. And if I hadn’t put on my big girl pants I may have come undone, but instead I went and found a paper and pen and wrote: build a high shelf for my comb and hairbrush. Then I went to put on my jeans that are too short and drive me nuts and I wrote down: shop for new jeans.

My entire day progressed this way. Emphasis on the PROGRESS in progressed. I made a list of tangible, attainable solutions to all my woes. And you know what? That afternoon I had a piece of scrap plywood screwed to the bathroom wall. When he was done Rory said, “well, sorry it’s not very pretty.” And I said it was beautiful. I still think it is. Because every time I go to grab my comb and brush, my comb and brush are still there.

It’s a good lesson. That you can pull back from your frustration and look for solutions.

The other reality is this. Rory and I were in the car for a long drive a few nights ago and I was telling him that things just feel challenging. And he reminded me, “yes, and they probably really are that challenging. When we said we wanted four kids, we knew it would come with a hard season. Winter was your hard season when Ivar and Elsie were the ages that Hattie and Alden are now. You probably need to just have more grace for yourself, say yes to less and go for more walks.”

It was amazing how hearing him just acknowledge that we’re in a challenging season felt comforting. I’m not sure why, but it really helped. So here we are. I’ve got a shelf for my hair brush. And I bought a new pair of jeans. And Rory and I are bringing a lot of grace to the winter season ahead.

Guest Contributor Becca Groves writes about the things she loves, her family and their hobby farm at http://www.joyfullybecca.com/.

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