Despite the humor and sweet moments of parenthood, there are patches that are really tough. I think the lack of sleep and personal time doesn’t help matters any. We’re only human after all, and each of us has a breaking point.
During those long days, it can be hard to see the big picture. To remember that being a mom is precious and that moments with our little ones are all too fleeting. Because right here and now, hours feel long. Patience is running low. Anxiety levels are flaring. And exhaustion is taking its toll on your body.
Everything hurts, including your feelings.
You’ve cleaned up poop and pee, dealt with tantrums, utilized the time-out chair, and wiped down toddler-science-experiments-gone-wrong one too many times.
There was one moment in particular – a couple of weeks ago – that I just wondered how we were going to get through this. Like, was I really cut out to be a mom to two littles? The house looked like a bomb went off. Everything was a mess and needed scrubbing, never mind tidying. The cats were vomiting up hairballs. Nate was working a charter, so he wouldn’t be home until very late… Brady was innocently, yet quite successfully, destroying things in his effort to explore and play. And when I tried to guide him elsewhere, he’d angrily yell back and refuse to find satisfaction in the other activities I offered. (It was obvious to me that he was acting out due to wanting my attention, but Kaitlyn was having a rough morning and wouldn’t stop fussing. So I wasn’t able to hold him close the way he wanted to be, which resulted in toddler tantrums and mommy guilt).
I just sat in the middle of our home and wanted to throw my hands up in defeat. I wanted to admit to the world that I didn’t have this. I had no idea what I was doing. I was in over my head, and I wasn’t prepared to gently raise a strong-willed son and an emotional baby girl. My patience was at an all-time low! And, I’m not proud to admit, my attitude (and raised voice) was reflecting all the frustration and anxiety that I felt inside.
I just needed everyone to cooperate and to cooperate now! Mommy was DONE!
Then I received news that a dear friend of mine had passed the night before from cancer. And suddenly, everything was put into perspective for me. When you watch a family lose their mother, you are reminded of what truly matters and just how precious each day with your children truly is. I took in the chaos around me – the noise and the mess – and I realized just how blessed I am to have it. All those dirty dishes… The dust bunnies clinging to the bookcase… The toddler who needs a little bit more patience and a loving hand… The infant who stares up at me with such adoring eyes…
I will not have these forever, but I do have them now.
At the funeral of my friend, her son oh-so-eloquently spoke about the things that made his mother truly special. And never once did “a spotless house” or “keeping it all together” came up. He talked about her amazing laugh, her love of Christmas, activities they did as a family, and her always being there for him and his sister.
And honestly, that’s one of the greatest impacts she had on my life. Her love of being a mom. I don’t know that I’ve ever met a woman who never once complained about being a mother or a wife. She always told me that her goal in life was to enjoy every stage with her children, and she really did. She was proud of them – and her husband – beyond words, and she loved them without measure. To hear her talk about marriage or motherhood was to hear her brag about her soulmate or kids.
That always stuck with me and has been a challenge and a goal for me too. That despite the craziness and the chaos, I want to enjoy each stage. Because even if each stage moving forward does seem to get a little easier, the stage behind it is gone forever. I can never get it back, so it’s up to me to live in the moment now.
These kiddo’s? They’re treasures worth fighting for. They’re worth the sleepless nights, the waking up early, the never-ending struggle to keep life organized… They’re worth every bit of it.
I’m not saying that I haven’t still had bad days. (Last week, in particular, was pretty tough). I’m not saying that we should ignore just how hard being a mom is sometimes and pretend that life is always sunshine and roses. (I’m a firm believer in being real with each other, because we all go through tough patches and need the encouragement of others). But I also firmly believe that – despite the craziness of mom life – we can strive to flourish in the joy that God provides. We can grow and learn to parent with patience and love. We can choose to find beauty in every single day, overlooking the clutter to see the sparkle.
I am so thankful to God that I have my two kiddo’s. And although these recent days have been hard (because we moms ALL have those days), I want to try even harder to rise above and to not only treasure these moments, but to let my children see that I’m treasuring the moments.
That I’m’ treasuring them.