The Overwhelming Year

Has anyone else been experiencing the Overwhelming Year?  It has been an interesting school year for us; it was hard for us to settle into a rhythm the first half of the year and then when we were finally settling in  my husband started to travel and I was solo.  It was the year when it became apparent that the activities my oldest child was involved in ramped up to levels that were beyond what I was capable of sustaining with the other small children. It was the year many of our friends’ family lives unraveled.  It was the year that things I wanted to get off my plate still remained.  It was the year I got asked back to work in physical therapy twice and I had to make the very difficult decision to not do that.  Twice.    It was the year things were not smooth; they were not always wonderful.

Yet, there were pockets of joy.  There have been times this year  I have acknowledged my weakest areas and met them head on.  There have been times of learning and growing and finding out about myself and delving more deeply into my values.    There have been times of connection and community that sustained me.  There have been people who have loved me just for being me.   I thank them.

In spite of times that are sometimes overwhelming, I  do not wish to  have a simple life.  I doubt my life will ever be simple; I am too enmeshed with raising small children and  helping mothers and  a myriad of other things for life to be simple.  Sometimes I  wish for balance, I always hope and look  for connection, but I do not  wish for things to be so simple that there is not striving.

If you are experiencing a complex year, an overwhelming year, I encourage you not to find the nearest exit and crawl out, but to work and strive to let these times mold you and shape you.  I encourage you to find humor, joy, truthfulness goodness and beauty.  I encourage you to find support in real-life people, not just the Internet.  I encourage you to become the expert on what YOU need and to become the expert regarding your own family and your own life.

Always striving, live big!


23 thoughts on “The Overwhelming Year

  1. Thank you for writing this. Your words were a blessing to me. I feel like it has been a bit of an overwhelming year in my house too. It is very important to remember to look for the joy, and all those other wonderful things you mentioned.

  2. Thank you, Carrie, for sharing bits of your own struggles. I so appreciate your honestly and it inspires me so much, especially when you remind us in that context to “live big.” Thank you, thank you. E.

  3. *crying* Gosh this is just what I needed to read. My children are all born quite close together (4 years between all 3) and I thought the baby years would be difficult. But I’m finding them at almost 6, 3 and a half and almost 2 to be very overwhelming. This rang so true for me

    “In spite of times that are sometimes overwhelming, I do not wish to have a simple life. I doubt my life will ever be simple; I am too enmeshed with raising small children and helping mothers and a myriad of other things for life to be simple. Sometimes I wish for balance, I always hope and look for connection, but I do not wish for things to be so simple that there is not striving.”


  4. Simplicity is living in a way that is inwardly rich. Our collective decision to focus on our children and our family is a simple choice we make that does have complex challenges like saying no to outward forces and of course, finding a way to live on less money since the salary for stay at home or homeschooling parents remains low.

    Still, those like us who value the time and development of our children and ourselves have a richness no amount of economic recovery will ever match.

  5. I also had an overwhelming year…thanks for the challenge to embrace the complexities and to invest in friendships. Good advice!

  6. You are incredibly balanced and true. Thank you for being an inspiration to me as a mother and teacher to my little ones. I find your insight and honesty invaluable. Thank you for being just who you are!

  7. Just wanted to thank you for this post and to let you know that your site has helped me tremendously during my own overwhelming year.

    Two things that struck me here:

    1. We don’t usually imagine that entire years will be overwhelming, but sometimes they are.

    2. We need to gives ourselves credit just for the striving. I certainly do this for my kids and spouse. Maybe I should with myself.

    Thanks again!

  8. Thanks for this post! I’ve had an overwhelming year too. It’s our first year of homeschooling and three days after we started, we got the call that we had been chosen to adopt a baby. So a few months later, new baby joined us. And now we are waiting to hear if we will be moving halfway across the country in the next few months (and if that happens, I will be solo with three kids for two months). But while the year has not been as I expected, and has been far more chaotic than I had hoped for, it has been a wonderful year, and I’ve felt more confirmation than ever that we are on the right path.

  9. Carrie,
    YES and YES.
    Being our authentic selves is possibly the best gift we can give our children. Your children are blessed to have you as their mother.
    Bravo and standing ovations.
    and a big HUG too,

  10. We have had a season of life recently that felt endless, for a variety of reasons (some of them happy, but even happy things can sometimes cause upheaval) It has been a long Winter, to say the least.

    So, I echo the voices of the others here thanking you for writing this post and sharing.

    Third grade. It has been an unexpected year. Some of my plans I’ve had to toss right out the window. And that has actually been okay. In some ways I feel like I’ve been given a chance to get to know my child all over again. I keep thinking about the phrase often used with parents of new babies “the baby IS the lesson” and how I suppose, for me anyway, this year has proven that “the nine year old IS the lesson” …. despite the challenges, I really have enjoyed this year.

    Okay, I’ve written you a novel 🙂 All this to say Thank you! It helps to share on this journey.

  11. Carrie,

    Thank you so much for writing this post! I have been feeling VERY overwhelmed with life lately, especially in the area of the “ideal of simplicity” versus my “not so simple reality”. I love how you said “I do not wish for things to be so simple that there is not striving.” That statement really helped put a few things in perspective for me.

    Your blog is like a good book that I take LOTS of notes on and I just want to thank you for the time you take to encourage the rest of us.


  12. Carrie,
    I can’t thank you enough for your sharing, honesty and the time you put into sharing your wisdom, thoughts and your journey with us. I REALLY needed to read this post after a year of big personal challenge where at times I have felt like I am going crazy. Your blog is such a constant rock for me.


  13. Pingback: The Antidote To The Overwhelming Year « The Parenting Passageway

  14. Pingback: Overflowing | The Parenting Passageway

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