How do you put motherhood into words?
It’s the battle of unreachable balance.
Of losing your identity as an autonomous individual, while trying to hold onto the you you were created to be.
It is the act of giving yourself away every minute of every day, while knowing that you still need a whole self to be able to give.
Much of motherhood is done in secret.
No matter what image you choose to show the world, most of motherhood is done behind closed doors.
And that is the rub.
That is the part where the lonely creeps in.
Where the questions gnaw at your mind.
Am I doing enough?
Or maybe too much?
Is this the right technique?
Will I scar my children forever?
If I have nothing to show for the day, does it still count?
The truth is the science will always change, and something good will be labeled bad. And something bad will be discovered to be good.
The trick is to stick with your instincts.
To trust what nature would agree with.
The days are long, but the years are short, and there is so much time to be wasted. And no matter how many times you can internalize that, you will still waste it.
There are certain facts about motherhood that take some getting used to: Like always carrying a diaper bag.
And wanting to leave your kids in the car when you run a short errand. Leaving a trail of crumbs everywhere you go.
Having a mound of snacks on hand at all times and when you go to the beach it looks like you’re moving in.
It taking at least an hour and a half to get out the door.
Always remembering to bring this or pack that or buy this at the store.
Not getting to care for just yourself anymore. Your brain now holds the belongings of many others.
Having to say no to outings because you can’t afford a babysitter/don’t want to burden a family member again.
Always feeling like a burden.
So many times the thoughts have run through my head: “Maybe I shouldn’t be here. Maybe I shouldn’t have brought the kids. Maybe we should just go.” The shame kicks in.
The trick is to laugh. Laugh when the poop is all over the floor and everyone is missing the other shoe. Because if you don’t laugh, you will probably cry. And laughing takes the power out of the pain.
Motherhood is about failing every day and learning to have grace for yourself because your kids are watching. Learning to apologize when you fail at “mom”ing. It’s about holding onto the future knowing “this too shall pass.”
Some days I remember this. Most days I forget.
Some days I love my body because it birthed two humans.
Other days I compare myself to all the women my age and I am jealous of their perfect figures. Nothing is sagging….they haven’t had kids yet.
Some days I want to take pride in my children’s abilities and behavior.
Other days I am reminded that if I take credit for their good behavior then I have to take credit for the bad.
Motherhood is about learning to see the world from your child’s eyes and being reminded of beauty again. To encourage creativity and even color outside the lines a little yourself.
It’s about trying to remember that your hormones are out of control. And if it took 9+ months to grow a baby, than it should take at least 9 months to get back to some sort of normalcy.
But normal is a facade because every day is different and every day your babies are changing into tiny human beings with distinct personalities, interests, giftings, and flaws. And just when you think you’ve got a hold on parenting, one of them throws a wrench in the whole thing and you’re back to learning and wrestling with the days, your children, the clock, and sometimes God.
Motherhood is about recognizing your finiteness and learning to ask for help, which is the very thing I am the worst at.
Mostly motherhood is about wrestling with your needs and emotions without staying stuck in bitterness. But the truth is, we only have our babies for a short 18 years, if we’re so fortunate, and we have the opportunity to shape how we see everyday and therefore shape whether theywill trust or fear the world.
The poop will get cleaned up, the shoes will probably never be found, and you can’t take anything to heaven with you, except your character and the impact you’ve made on those around you. Motherhood is about choosing to find gratitude amidst the chaos because there is always joy to be found.