So I haven't written a blog post in some time — not because I have nothing to write about. With kids, the content is always there. But since they’re not your kids, it could be a little boring to you - like looking at someone else’s “fabulous” vacation pictures. I mean do you really care that Eleanor decided her name is now Trixie and that Thatcher finally figured out how to use a sippy cup? (Bye-bye, bottles!)
If I’m being honest, I’ve been tired. So, so tired. If I’m lucky, I’m up at 4:30 and heading to the gym. I get home and that’s when my day starts. I used to LOVE mornings. In fact, I once called myself a “morning person.” (Discuss amongst yourselves.) If you’re a mom, it doesn’t matter how old your kids are; mornings are nuts. I mean, certifiably, hand-me-the-prozac crazy. It's your 3-year-old having a bad case of the Mondays every morning and your 1-year-old's prune-apple juice kicking in just before you walk out the door. We’ve all been there.
Then I head to work, which is usually a jam-packed day full of meetings, deadlines and conference calls. And of course I’m on a few nonprofit boards because I might have trouble saying NO. Once the day job ends, it’s time for the third shift of the day: the evening. You know how that goes. It’s playtime, then dinner, then baths. And I really wish my country upbringing had lent itself to wrestling with pigs. That’s what it’s like every night when I bathe and dress my 30-pound 1-year-old son. I’m all, “put a fork in me, I’m done” by 8:30.
To paraphrase, "These are the times that try moms' souls."
The other day, I was chatting with some coworkers, one who had kids and one who did not. After comparing war stories about our children, the one without kids said, "Please remind me WHY you had kids." I quickly recovered and defended myself and my children and went on and on about how much I love them. Did my words really sound like I wasn’t thankful for my children? What kind of monster was I? Was I not cut out to be a mother? I felt ashamed and full of mommy guilt.
Of course, I LOVE my kids. We ALL LOVE OUR KIDS. But at the end of some days, and especially the weekends, my nerves are shot. And that’s no lie. That’s real momma talk.
After a weekend of fighting naps, defiance, one who won't eat and one who won't stop and temper tantrums born out of an instinctive desire to go play outside, I look at my husband with a completely straight face and say, "We can't let them win."
And if I’m still being honest, while I unabashedly LOVE being a mother, I am so envious of all the time my single self wasted. And I think that’s okay. I think it’s a struggle we all have.
Today, I’m giving myself permission to miss my free time and the convivial lifestyle I once had. I miss all of the books I never read, all of the movies I never watched, all of the trips I never took. Today, I’m telling myself it’s okay to be tired and complain, just a little. I am reminded that I am human. Today, I’m giving myself hope for the future, knowing that one day they’ll be older and more independent. And I’m not foolish enough to think that I won’t someday miss their complete dependence on me.
Today, while I’m rejoicing and praising God for making me a mother, I continue to ask for the stamina and patience to carry on during those days that seem extra long. I know that it is the love of our children, God’s love, that helps us make it through and gives us strength. Today, I remind myself that it’s really not about me, and won’t be for some time. It’s letting go of selfish thoughts as we crave the “me” time that was once so plentiful. It's going outside, even when you don't feel like it because you realize that the silence of the outdoors combined with the smattering of your laughing children far outweighs any happiness a hobby once brought you.
For it is in those moments, we discover that the contentment of our children is what makes us
most content. And for that, I am thankful to be called, “Mama.”
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