You know the old saying that in order to truly understand someone else you have to “walk a mile in their shoes”? It’s about perspective. Perspective is everything. The definition of perspective is “a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.” It is amazing what a change in perspective can do.
Any parent who has two children can tell you that they thought having only one child was tough until they had their second child, and then all of the sudden having only one child seems like a walk in the park. It’s not something you can understand until you’ve experienced it for yourself; until you’ve had the opportunity to change your perspective. I remember a few years back, when I just had my two girls, feeling like this whole parenting thing was just SO HARD. I remember feeling so overwhelmed and busy all the time. I remember fighting with my husband over responsibilities, and feeling like these hard days with a baby and a toddler were never going to end. I remember being beyond exhausted and wondering how anyone in their right mind could possibly have more than two children. I remember it all so well.
When I was pregnant with my third daughter, I was speaking to another woman who was the mother to four boys and I was absolutely blown away by this. I was so nervous to embark on my new role as Mommy-of-three and I just couldn’t wrap my head around the idea of someone being able to survive life with FOUR children. I asked her how she did it, and she replied with a shrug and a smile and simply answered, “well, I didn’t have them all at once, we grew into the family that we are now and it was a natural progression”.
At that point, her words made sense, but they did not really resonate with me. I just knew my reality was that having two children was tough, and the fact that I was about to have a third was daunting, I could not imagine how difficult it would be to walk a mile in her shoes.
With each child our family grew a little more, our responsibilities grew a little more, and our routines adjusted a little bit to accommodate for the new addition. So we didn’t really notice the difference, it just became our new normal. Every time we welcomed a new baby into our family, things got a little harder, but going from no children to four children was gradual so the difference didn’t feel substantial.
But this past week, my two older girls went on a vacation with their Grandma and Grandpa for nine days, and from this, I have had the ability to gain a new perspective. From this, I have realized that the difference between two children and four children is substantial. Now that we are used to being parents of four, it seems easy to have only two. Similar to how It feels when you go from two to one. It feels like a break. There have been a few times this week that my husband and I have looked at each other and said, “why did we ever think it was difficult having only two children?”
It’s all a matter of perspective. When my two older children come home and I begin to feel overwhelmed and overworked and stressed to the max, I’m going to imagine what it must be like for the mothers who have five or six children, and then maybe having only four won’t seem to be so difficult.