Friday, March 23, 2007

Logic You Might Not Have Heard Of...

It seems logical. The more kids you have, the more difficult it will be, right? More diapers, more discipline, more baths, more doctor visits, more noise, more general chaos. OK, there's no denying it, every time your family grows, all of that grows too. But, as our family has grown, I've seen that although the above list and innumerable other things that fall under the category of "general crazy life stuff" do increase, it's actually so much easier to be a mom, parents, a family. It's so much more enjoyable, so much more relaxed, so much more fun, so much more fruitful. In general, being a family becomes more and more awesome with every child God gives us.

With each new Koch comes a time to transition and adjust, time to more than happily make room for one more to come and live life with us. It seems that with each new transition I, we, are compelled to give up a little (a lot) more of what doesn't matter, what doesn't need to be here, in order to make more room for what does matter, what we do need. And all the while, it seems, the space available for all those things that are best and good, that bear fruit and make us more like Jesus is ever-expanding. It seems those things are more than welcome to come in, to grow here and in us and to make their home here for good. But that other stuff, the stuff that causes stress and worry, unnecessary arguments and complications, hurt feelings and broken spirits-- that stuff has got to go. And so it seems, with each increase in our family, those good things come in more abundance and the old things are shoved clean away.

How does life change? I remember when I had just Grace. I like to be organized, I like to be in control. When given the opportunity, I tend to micromanage my surroundings, and the lives of the people around me. (I'm not saying that's OK, but it is a fact.) When I only had one child, I could do just that. I had a blast. I loved it. I had the time for all the things that matter, and as icing on the cake I could micromanage our home and family, caring about the little details that don't eternally matter at all. I had time to enjoy my daughter, love her and care for her, bless her heart with things it needed all day long. I also had the time and energy to make sure my house was always clean (really clean) and my child's clothes were always perfectly coordinated, right down to the hair accessories that were perfectly placed in her freshly washed hair. And she was never, ever dirty. I loved it, and I was also stressed out way more often than I needed to be. If something wasn't right, or Jim dressed Grace in clothes that didn't match, etc, watch out. There was often worry and stress in my own life that no one created but me, really. Things were great, but there were so many times that my own desire to have things my way really kept me and my family from getting to just relax and enjoy life. Well, Jim did a lot more relaxing than me, graciously putting up with my moods and calmly letting me know when I was going too far and just needed to let up some control. I rarely took the advice.

Once we had Patie, I could still do all those things I loved to do- the ones that matter and don't, but I saw that it was more of a strain. It was easy to miss good opportunities while I was busy with other things. I saw that I needed more time carved out in the day for those moments that are planned and the spontaneous, where real life and loving happens. If I was to hold on to those times I needed to slowly decide what I could put off or give up, all those things that can wait while I'm loving and serving my children and Jim. That was a pretty smooth process. After all, it's not so hard to give up on extra cleaning and planning when it means more time with your favorite people.

After we had Lily, so much more changed. Having one or two kids for us was pretty simple, they just came along for the ride, whatever we were doing. Once we had three, and Grace and Patie got a little older, we needed to be home even more, we needed even more time together, to do all the things kids love to do, learning letters and playing at the park, just being funny together and being a family. That meant spending significantly less time doing the other stuff. It was a big change for me because I had to realize that I needed to completely reinvent what mom success looked like for me. It used to mean having a quality relationship with our girls first, but also having everything else in my home and life just how I wanted it. I had to let go of a lot of old expectations, and decide to hold even more tightly to the standards we'd never compromise on. My bathroom floor is rarely spotless now, but my children can have long conversations with me about whatever is on their minds without suspecting that I'm worrying about the bathroom floor being dirty instead of listening to them. To me, that's success now. The floor will get clean eventually, but after Jim and the girls get my best time.

I've changed so much in 4 years and I know the changes are just beginning. I see how much of a better wife and mother I am with each new child we're given, with each decision to make room for real life and throw away the things that tear my focus away from it. As our family grows, my children may wear spotless clothing less and live in a slightly dirtier house, but it's a house where love comes before appearances more with each passing season. We are so excited to add one more Koch to the house by the end of the summer. Many people sound so concerned for us and our sanity as we approach a lifestyle with four children four and under (ha!), but we're just thrilled. Honestly we haven't had a fear for our sanity yet as we've grown in anticipation to meet the newest Koch.


Ashley said...

I'm mostly just checking in to say hi, but I wanted to add that your blog brought a smile to my face. While it's not something I can personally identify with, I think my own mom would nod and laugh ... Just want you to know that you (and the other expecting moms at Fountain Springs) are being thought of and prayed for over here! Have a good weekend!

Anonymous said...

Hello Megan,

It was a joy to meet you and Jim and your darlings girls. Thank you for taking good care of Jennifer. I loved reading your blog. You are wise beyond your years! Blessings, Cheryl Bruce