I find it difficult being a mother. Very difficult sometimes.
And I feel guilty that I find it difficult!
There are some ladies who would give anything just to be a mum, others who have lost their children and those who would love to find a husband.
And yet I am relieved when my children are in bed for the night. I hate disciplining. I get so sick of changing dirty nappies! Sometimes I feel like I will scream if I hear another question!
Don't get me wrong. I do love being a Mum! I love my children to bits. I wouldn't swap places with anyone else. I am so thankful that I am able to have children.
But I do find it difficult.
Last night as I opened my Bible, after talking to my husband about a hard morning I had lately with my children being very difficult, I was feeling guilty and wondering why I find it so hard sometimes.
I looked at my Bible and the verse I saw spoke to me. I know it has nothing to do with motherhood, but God used it to encourage me as mother.
 Mark 2:17 When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Straight away my question was answered. I thought, "If I didn't find it hard I wouldn't feel my need for God so much. Just as those who don't realize they're sick don't see their need for a doctor, and those who don't believe they are sinners don't see their need for a Saviour, if I found mothering a piece of cake, I wouldn't need God! At least I wouldn't feel my need for Him. But when I find it hard, I am desperate for God's help.
So instead of feeling guilty, I am thankful that I do find it hard. Because it keeps me dependent upon God.
Also, if I didn't find it hard and didn't need so much encouragement myself, I would never have started this blog because I would have seen no need for it! :)
Self pity, complaining, discontent, impatience etc. is wrong and we should be ashamed of those things.
 But it's not wrong to find it difficult! 


An Attitude Adjustment

This last Saturday I was feeling like I needed a break from my children. But my husband had to go out all morning and couldn't take any children with him. After looking after them all week I felt like it was time for a break. I didn't like the idea of being home with them all morning by myself.
I started feeling sorry for myself! 
But then I realized that every evening after 7:00 -7:30 I get a break for a few hours. I also get a break every day for an hour when they have a rest.
I realized that I wanted a break, but I didn't need one! What I needed was an attitude adjustment!
When I got an attitude adjustment, I was able to look after my children with a thankful heart. It was still difficult, as my girls were at war with each other for half the morning! But having a good attitude definitely helped.
My husband ended up coming home later than planned, but the children played happily outside after lunch for a whole hour while I was able to get my baking done. God gives us what we need!
There are many things we do need, but sometimes... all we really need is an attitude adjustment!
(By the way, I don't like being honest and sharing my faults and failures on a public place like this. It's embarrassing! But it's difficult to share the significance of the lesson God taught me, without sharing why I needed to learn it!)


Tips to Simplify #2

I write a list each day of what needs to be done. Basics come first. Anything else is a bonus. I try and get as much done as possible while I still have energy. If washing isn't folded and put away before dinner, it waits till the next day.

Little by Little
I wrote a post about this principle not long ago.
I find deep cleaning a little overwhelming. Also, when I'm pregnant I can't do too much standing up without getting dizzy. So jobs are divided between doing things at the table, morning tea, etc. I can't do a whole lot of cleaning at once. And if I wait till I have a big gap of time to do it, it just never happens! But I'm learning that a little bit each day gets the job done.
Since my kitchen is the most used room in the house, it always feels dirty and cluttered to me. And I hardly ever have an uninterrupted hour to get stuck into cleaning. Also, it gets dirty again so fast! So over the last week I put this principle to use in my kitchen. Here's how it works. Since I wash dishes at least 3 times a day, every time I full up the sink with clean bubbly water, I soak the dishcloth in it while the water's fresh and clean and do a minute or two of cleaning while the sink is filling up. I either wipe down a cupboard, the fridge, the freezer, a window sill, a piece of the wall or a bit of the ceiling. It's amazing how much you can get done 'Little by little!' :)

Teach your children to help
Even little children can be a big help, and they need to learn to be responsible and clean up after themselves. At the time it can be quite time-consuming and so much easier to just do it yourself.
This week I made up a sticker chart for each for my girls with a few jobs for them to do each day. Getting to put a sticker on when they're done gives them a bit of extra motivation!

Online Shopping
This is not for everyone, but it's been a huge help to me since my last baby was born. I buy nearly all my groceries online and they get delivered to my door. It saves me the  time and hassle of taking 3 children shopping or the energy of going by myself at night. Although it may be slightly more expensive, I probably spend less, as I have more time to think about what I'm getting, I can remove things off my list (before I've put the order through), I can see exactly how much it's coming to so I can take something off if I'm going over my budget, and I don't see all the tempting specials etc.!
For me it's a lifesaver! I can do it while my children are having a rest. And the children have a ball opening up all the bags of food when they arrive!

Keep toys in the bedrooms instead of in the lounge
Again, this doesn't work for everyone, but in my house it does. I used to have all the toys in the lounge and it was such a big job to tidy up! Now, all the toys are in the bedrooms and the lounge is very easy to tidy. In fact it stays tidy a lot of the time, unless the children cart toys out to the lounge. The bedrooms have doors that can be shut and the bedrooms are not where my husband or visitors walk into when they arrive! :)

Tidy up with a washing basket
I use this for the lounge and kitchen. When there are toys and books scattered everywhere, it only takes a minute to pop them all into the basket and put them away where they belong. It's a lot easier than taking a few toys at a time. And if you don't have time to put them away right then, you can put the basket out of sight for the moment!

Get as much sleep as possible
Coping is so much easier when you're not tired! Especially if you're pregnant or have a baby, you need as much sleep as you can get. It's better to go to bed an hour earlier or get up an hour later and have a better day than to have a long tiring day.

These are a few tips that help me cope.
Do you have any tips to share?? :) 


Tips to Simplify #1

I have 3 children under 41/2 and another one on the way. Just to get the basics done can be a challenge sometimes! So one thing I am really learning is to simplify and find ways to still get things done.
I thought I would share a few tips that are helping me. I don't always stick to them, but life is easier when I do!

Plan meals.
I do my shopping every 2 weeks, so I plan two weeks meals at a time. I found it a bit overwhelming at first, but the next 3 tips make it easier.  It's so nice just to look on your menu and know what to cook.

Have freezer lists.
We have a few freezers--vegies and bread in one and meat etc. in the others. So I have 2 lists on my fridge with everything written down. When I take something out of the freezer, I cross it off. It saves searching through a freezer to see if you've got any chicken etc. left.
It also helps with menu planning, as you know exactly what you have.

Meal lists.
I have a folder that I use to plan meals. On one page I have 'chicken' written on top. All the different meals I make with chicken are written underneath. Next pages is sausages and what I make with sausages. And so on.
When I'm planning meals, I look through for ideas.

Make meals that last for 2 nights.
I have just started doing this and it is so nice! Yesterday I made a big silverbeet and bacon pasta bake. It's enough to last 2 meals, so I don't have to cook tonight. Yay! This week I will make Satay chicken, so I will use double chicken and 2 jars of sauce.
This is also great for meal planning, as you only have to plan half the amount of meals. You just have to make sure you buy enough ingredients eg. 2 jars of pasta sauce instead of one.
You can't do this for all types of meals, but there are lots you can.

Paper plates!! :)
I bought some bulk paper plates online and these cut down on dishes. We have no dishwasher and when I was first pregnant, I got overwhelmed with dishes! I like paper plates at lunchtime, then there's hardly any dishes.

Prepare meals early in the day
Since making dinner is a priority, when possible, I try and get it prepared early in the day. Slow cookers are great for this.  Yesterday I made my pasta bake in the morning and washed all the dishes after lunch. Then at 4:00 I slipped it in the oven for an hour. I love it when I can do this! The afternoon was stress free, with not many dishes after dinner. It's also helpful as my 1yr old is sometimes quite grumpy right before dinner.


God Understands

I had a difficult pregnancy day this week. I just didn't feel very well, so I rested as much as you possibly can when you have 3 little ones under 5 yrs. Instead of making muffins with my girls, we crawled into bed and read books! :) But after dinner I had 2 weeks worth of groceries to put away (that had been delivered), dishes to wash and dry, a lunchbox to fill, a house to tidy and three little children to get into bed. My husband had to go out straight after dinner, so I was on my own.  By 9 o'clock I was wasted and in tears just from being so tired. I climbed into bed. I knew I needed some encouragement from my Bible, but had no energy to sit up and read. But thankfully God brought a verse into my mind which is just what I needed.
1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
What hit me was not the fact that He cared. But the fact that He understands! My husband cares very much for me. But he doesn't understand what it's like to be pregnant and he never will! Other people care for us, but don't understand what we're going through. I listened to a sermon once about the woman with an issue of blood. The preacher made a comment about how Jesus understood her as a woman because He created women! I had never really thought about that before! Men and women are completely different, and we often don't understand each other. In fact, I sometimes don't even understand myself!!  But God understands us completely because he created women!
When I have a hard day, God sees every little annoying or difficult thing that happens. So He understands why I'm worn out or discouraged at the end. 
That was such a comfort to me as I lay in bed feeling tired and overwhelmed. Just the fact that God sees and understands all our difficulties and He invites us to tell Him all about it because He cares for us. All the hardness was worth it, just to feel God's love and presence!
 So whatever you are going through right now, God sees, understands completely and cares! There may be no one else who understands or who know about your problems, but God does. What a good God!
Psalm 147:5 Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite (limitless).  


Great Things are Done One Step at a Time

I have to remind myself of this quote often! Great things are done one step at a time. I know a song where the chorus goes: Little by little, inch by inch. By the yard it's hard, by the inch, what a cinch! Never stare up the stairs, just step up the steps. Little by little, inch by inch. I think the song was written for children but it's a big help to me!
So many things in life take a lot of small steps to get there. And because I can only take one small step at a time, it seems like I will never get there or it is so insignificant. Do you know the feeling?
Raising children is something that is done one step at a time. Hour by hour, day by day, week by week, year by year. We don't always see the fruit of all our work.
As a mother, I just find keeping the house and yard clean and tidy a big challenge! I have to remind myself, little by little, inch by inch! By the yard it's hard... I can't do a lot at a time, but if I do a little bit regularly, it does get done!
I am also writing a book, which is a long term project that takes A LOT of small steps. I have to encourage myself that I will get there one day if I keep taking steps!
I have been reading the Noah story to my children this week. It struck me how long it took Noah to build the ark! Talk about a long term project! When the ark was finished, there was still a lot to do--gathering food etc. He must have got discouraged sometimes and felt like giving up. But just aswell he didn't! :)