it was harder then...

I remember what it was like having just one child. Though it was a brief five months with Lily before we learned we were expecting a second, it was over a year before we actually had two in our charge. I can tell you with absolute confidence that the days with just baby Lily never seemed easy. The early days were extremely difficult - I maintain that your first go at parenting is going to be your hardest simply because everything is SO new. And as the months passed and we learned more about parenting and our daughter, it did get easier, but it never felt necessarily easy. So let me just say that before I say what I'm going to say next!

the day I became a mom.
This week, Brad is away finishing a course for his MDiv in Louisville, KY, so I'm here by myself, but Lily is also gone (camping with my parents and sister), so it's just Oli and I. And guys, IT IS SO EASY. Weird, right?

First of all, Oli wasn't an easier baby than Lily was. He was actually significantly harder! But I knew much more. I had more confidence as a mom, I trusted my instincts, I knew what to expect, and I'd walked those roads before. Though having just Lily in my care seemed difficult years ago when it was just her, this week having just Oli in my care seems simple.

the day I became a mom of two. Lily was 14.5 months old.
Why else? Because your capacity grows. Grows in leaps and heaps! I follow a few blogs where brave, loving, and capable mamas care incredibly for their many many children (anyone else read Mockabee 7? Moments with Love?) and I forget that. I think, "how do they do it!?" but then I remember having just one little baby and feeling like the world was on my shoulders. With one, I felt like there was never enough hours in the day. Never enough sleep. Never enough solitude. That I never fully knew what I was doing. And if you have one baby and you feel that way, take heart! It's NORMAL. You're learning and your baby is learning and it makes sense. One baby is a lot more baby than no babies, and it's a HUGE adjustment.

Lily a few months before Oli was born.
When I was juggling Lily and a pregnancy, I felt even more overwhelmed. My physicality was limited but my toddler was active and needy. How will I handle two babies? I thought this so often, though we were sure it was what we wanted. And then Oli was born and we just sort of worked it out. Made room in our little city condo. Made room in our ever changing, and hopefully sanctifying hearts. And yes, it was hard and challenging and I'd still feel tired and overwhelmed at times (particularly 4-6pm, amen?) but on the whole, it felt easier. Even though the work had technically doubled and the day's hours had not.

life with the two.
With this third pregnancy, I've marveled at how God has grown my capacity to mother my littles. Again, there are certainly days where I feel over my head and at my whit's end. But mostly, we have a handle on things and mothering two rarely feels difficult. Though I'm very pregnant, though they're very active, though our home is small, and though the darn day's hours refuse to extend past 24.

I have only wondered how I'll handle three babies a handful of times. Not because I'm supermom or because my kids are easy, but because I learned when we added Oli that your capacity and your know how and your wherewithal and your heart GROWS. It's like an elastic band, and God keeps letting it bend as long as he keeps blessing us with children.

This week with just Oli has felt like a vacation. A true blessing in the third trimester of pregnancy. I can rest more and still be more hands-on with my son than I usually can when I've got Lily to love on too. It definitely feels harder at times when he wants a playmate 24/7, a role Lily fits perfectly! I often reflect on how grateful I am that Lily and Oli are so close in age because they have always had each other for as long as they can remember, and their dependence on each other has weaned them from complete dependence on Mom and Dad. So not only does it get easier the more kids you have and the longer you parent because YOU know more and God stretches your abilities, but siblings also grow in capacity and love and ability.

A lot of factors would have to change for us to have a truly LARGE family like those of some of the blogs I read (5-9 kids). Our hope is to add a forth child via adoption to our brood in the years to come, and likely call it a day after that. And four kids is no joke, but I know God would carry us through it and that he's preparing us even now as he's slowly stretching and growing us for our third.

One thing is for certain - it was harder back then. The early days and the first days were the hardest of all, and it's been a process of refining and sanctifying and growing ever since. I love this road.


  1. Hi Emily! We have 2 little boys, only 15 months apart (though yours sound even closer!) and I often tell people that it is easier with two. That I am a better mom to two children because I appreciate all the moments so much more. I also have learned that as my heart expands with each child, it has more places to break and that more children is more vulnerability. But I wouldn't change that for the world. Every time my heart aches for our little guys, I consider how God's heart aches for all the children and I am increasingly compelled to work for the glory of his Kingdom.

    Thank you for sharing!

  2. This was such a great post. I'm so thankful to be in this adventure with you!

    1. from me, obviously :-)

  3. Anonymous24.7.13

    But you know, love grows best in little houses,
    With fewer walls to separate,
    Where you eat and sleep so close together.
    You can't help but communicate,
    Oh, and if we had more room between us, think of all we'd miss.
    Love grows best, in houses just like this

    -(country song)by Doug Stone

    It sounds like you are doing a fabulous job being open to the Spirit as He grows your family and your capacity to love each stage and phase!