When Founded upon Christ, by Becca Riding

Cover me, I’m going in…

I am a mother of 4.

In Jim Gaffigan’s most recent stand-up routine he says “Want to know what it’s like having 4 kids? Just imagine you’re drowning…and someone hands you a baby.” Mother of Four is a new title for me, having only recently acquired that Fourth, and I’m still getting used to the water, as it were.

It is a Thursday. I get up bleary eyed and stumble to my kitchen to dig out some stale cereal for the hungry masses to eat for breakfast. There, on my kitchen counter, is a box of peaches waiting to be canned. Half a bushel. Staring me down. “Yes,” I think, “I will get to those today.”

Cue the shrill cry of a distressed newborn. I throw a handful of cereal in my mouth, take a gulp of milk, and go scoop her up. And what’s this? Crying baby…who….won’t open her eyes?? This is new. Four kids, and the surprises keep coming. Quick call to my pediatrician to take advantage of the fact that I’ve now paid enough co-pays to buy him a car. Baby who won’t open her eyes? He has no idea. So, you know, we’re figuring that out. As I’m talking on the phone, holding Baby Four in one arm, I’m using the other arm to wash peaches in the sink.

Until Three starts puking on the carpet, raising the question: What in the world did she eat so early in the morning that is THAT color purple??? Awesome. But at least it didn’t seem to bother her; she never even took her eyes off “Yo Gabba Gabba.” Plunk Baby Four in her bouncer to fend for herself for a bit. I am on my knees, humming as I scrub the carpet.  The peaches on the counter roll their eyes at me.

I am going to get those darn peaches canned.

Two trips to the doctor and several hours later, I have pawned One and Two off on a Christlike Protestant neighbor, but Three and Four are both screaming at the top of their lungs. They are miserable. They want to be held, by me and only me. They cannot be comforted, but I alternate between one and the other, back and forth, as they continue to shriek. My eardrums are, quite honestly, over it.  I am trying, very hard, not to lose it utterly.

Which is when I lay them oh so lovingly and gently on the carpet, wrap an apron around my courtesy-of-your-children waist, and bottle those peaches. Happy little slices, sprinkled with Fruit Fresh, and packed neatly into their gleaming jars.  Perfect. Just like the good little Mormon I am, I am canning to the sound of misery and outrage, the soundtrack of this moment in my life. And as I stand here, white knuckle gripping my sanity and pouring sugar syrup into each jar, I think “Oh, please. Just let the Savior cover this day. Let Him cover my inability to do and be everything I need to be and can’t be today. Please let the atonement cover it.”

And the greatest thing is? It does.

Becca Riding was born and raised in Utah but calls North Carolina home. She served a mission in Switzerland, married her very best friend, and has four kids. She recently completed her first-half mile jog, which she’s pretty excited about, and she seriously needs a nap.


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16 thoughts on “When Founded upon Christ, by Becca Riding

  1. Oh how I remember those days! I’ll pass on the advice of my older sister who said, when I asked her what she would do differently, “Make more happy memories!” Over the years that has proven to be the best advice ever. You are so right to turn to the Savior for the Atonement does cover EVERYTHING! Thanks so very much for sharing.

  2. Becca….I have soooooo been there! The good news is that, for me, about 6 months after the newborn comes I kind of settle into a routine and feel like I can breath…..until I add the next little one. Good news number 2: I thought the most difficult point of motherhood was having four little ones and no big ones to help out. Our first four were five years apart. Then the oldest suddenly was a real help. And when they were old enough to babysit???/ HEAVEN!!! and moments of peace and marital renewal!! Great post…thanks for sharing!

  3. Love it! I know that atonement prayer too. 🙂

    I concur with Carin, I also start to get into a groove when baby is about six months, and it does gets easier as the older ones are able to help a little more.

    And I concur with Jocelyn.

  4. I thought I commented on this the other day, but I just wanted to say:

    Yes. Yes yes yes yes yes.

    How much happier would we all be if we could really believe in the atonement this way, and apply it to all of our shortcomings – and especially motherhood, which is so important, and at the same time so hard. It is easy to get discouraged – but the atonement DOES cover all of it! Every single weakness, failure, annoyance, discouragement. The Savior is there. I feel Him picking up my broken attempts at motherhood every day, and He puts them back together. He is raising my children, not me – I am just a tool in His hands, and sometimes a not very good one – but it doesn’t matter, because He can work with broken tools. He can build castles and mansions with broken tools, and I see it happening every day in my life.

  5. I’m so there right now too! I have 4 kids: 5, 4, 16mo, and 6 weeks. We were surviving untill the 4 year old was doing acrobatics on the couch and hurt his arm. We thought it might be broken, so I had to take him to the instacare. He was in so much pain and just wanted his Mommy, but so did the newborn. Thanks for the reminder that the atonement can cover those days when I can’t do it all.

  6. Oh my goodness! My friend just emailed me this post. Thank you for sharing. You described my life perfectly. I had my fourth about a month ago, and I cry daily because they are all crying and fight over who I hold to comfort. Good for you for canning those peaches. I had zucchini that I needed to gate and freeze sitting on my counter staring me down every day. When I finally got to them they were all rotten. It’s funny to think I will miss these days one day…maybe.

  7. You have described many of the days in my life, with one difference. I have never put them down and canned the peaches. Why did I not think this was a possibility? I would have just sat there crying too, wishing that things were different. You opted for something far healthier and productive. Thought provoking. I am not advocating some sort of neglect, I just truly never considered that there might be a time when it would be ok to let them cry while I tended to something that was necessary. As a mother I tend to put things off til the moment when all is well and no one needs me-hence the fact that its after midnight and I am reading this. Anyway, I am grateful to have read this post.

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