It’s snow season here in St. Petersburg, Russia, and it is COLD! For a family of 6 living in a 2-bedroom apartment with 4 kids ages 9 and under, the frigid weather does not negate the need for getting out of the house to burn off energy. I feel like such a scrooge saying it, but if I’m honest, I really do not like snow. I agree that it is beautiful. I also agree that building snowmen, snowball fights, and sledding down hills are tremendous fun, but as soon as the snow piles up, my life as a mother during this season with little kids becomes infinitely more difficult.
|Snow mounds piled higher than the cars and into the trees!|
Yesterday my husband took 3 of our kids out sledding. Since I was only getting them ready instead of dressing them, as well as myself and my twenty-month-old, I took a moment to count every article of clothing that I had to ensure was on each of my children before they went outside. Do you know how many there were? 50. FIFTY!! And like I said, that was only 3 kids. Some of those 50 items also have to be paired, which means that between trips outdoors I have to keep each of those pairs clean and in a place that we can locate the both parts easily upon exit.
|Though bundling takes a ton of energy, I do have to admit that bundled babies are adorable.|
Then the bundling begins. Trying to get between 50 and 75 articles of clothing on my kids and self in a cramped, warm hallway before we can exit into the cool air is, shall I say, not the best part of anyone’s day. It takes forever, people are falling over each other as they try to find space, items get lost in the shuffle, inevitably the toddler begins undressing about as fast as I manage to try to get him clothed… Then there is coming inside and trying to get in the door without tracking snow into the house, and trying to remove the dozens upon dozens of clothing items and figuring out which items need drying, which hanging on the coat rack, which washing, which into drawers, etc.
|Success! The kids enjoying their reward from enduring the craziness of the bundling feat.|
Ok, so I don’t need to continue about this reality of life in this freezing land, but honestly, this is one of the truest physical and spiritual battles that I face on a daily basis. I struggle trying to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit to be patient and kind during the throes of the bundling phase. I battle to choose joy when simply going outside saps so much of my day’s limited portion of physical strength. I regularly need to ask the Lord for forgiveness for my attitude and frustration with the kids when I fail to control my emotions in the heat of the stress of just trying to get outside.
I often feel the need to relate to friends about this very real struggle in life that often lasts for literally about half of my year each year, but there are few people who can relate. My friends back “home” can’t relate because we’re not from a snowy part of the US. My Russian friends can’t relate because most of them have only one or perhaps two children, often spaced far apart. It is my missionary mom friends around me who can empathize and say,“Yes! It is so hard!” and then pray for me about this seemingly trivial but very real daily battle.
I wanted to ask you women, what is the hardest thing that you deal with as a mom where you are living? Do you have people who can relate to you in this struggle or do you feel alone in it? Would you take a moment to share what that hardship is like so that we can pray for you? It is likely that you will find women on this blog who live similar lives and share similar struggles, but even if not, we can all understand what it is like to have a very real daily life challenge that others might not understand. Let’s pray for one another in these challenges as missionary moms.