I’m struggling with motherhood.
I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for six years now, and I’m feeling restless. The days drag on much longer than my patience. I spend the hours preventing my newly-minted toddler from destroying the house or himself, and keeping my preschooler’s rage-filled meltdowns at bay. I fantasize daily about returning to work, where I could both have a break from my children and earn a paycheck.
I put the kids to bed each night and collapse in exhaustion and guilt. I’m tired, and tired leads to impatience, and impatience to yelling. The house is a mess, always such a mess. I clean, clean, and clean some more, but the tiny tornados blow through with their toys, and their laundry, and their cups. So. Many. Cups. I’m so defeated; is any of it making a difference? Am I actually raising people who are going to impact this world for good, or am I creating miniature psychopaths? Some days I’m not so sure.
Today was different.
The children all slept past 7:00 am. I actually enjoyed an entire cup of hot coffee before I had to wipe a single bottom.
My daughter, who has a complicated relationship with her older, special needs brother, kissed him goodbye as he was wheeled onto the school bus. Before we went inside, she picked a wildflower to save and give to him after he returned from school.
Thanks to the beautiful weather, we spent the morning in the backyard, drawing with chalk on the patio and playing with the hose.
We snuggled and read library books before lunch.
My daughter practiced her weekly Bible memory verse, and we worked on a coloring sheet together. Then I let her paint at the kitchen table, and she was delighted to experiment with the colors.
My one-year-old actually ate a vegetable with his lunch and then took a nearly three hour nap.
I washed, dried, and put away an entire load of laundry, and cleaned two toilets.
We took a walk to the neighborhood playground and got caught in the rain on the way home. We giggled as we splashed through the puddles despite being wet and stinky.
I didn’t resort to hiring my television as a babysitter, using my phone as a distraction instead of a tool, or drinking wine before 5 pm.
Today I pushed the reset button on motherhood.
Today, I actually enjoyed my children, and reflected on how grateful I am to spend my days with them. I’m not dusting off my Super Mom cape just yet, because not all days will run as smoothly as today. I will get discouraged, frustrated, and exhausted again. Grace found me today, and allowed me to do the job with the joy and passion of a brand new mom.
With renewed perspective, I see kindness in my daughter, and appreciate the creativity that blossoms amidst her endless messes and feisty personality. As I wash the dirt, food, and grime off my youngest, I see a visible symbol of his fearlessness and love of adventure. Then, when I breathe in the sweet scent of his freshly washed hair, it reminds me he is still my baby. As I snuggle and sing to my older son, I’m not focused on his disabilities, but his precious spirit and the fact that he’s still here with us to love.
In a season where I’m feeling discouraged, disillusioned, and drained by all that raising up little people entails, I needed today. Today was a day not just survived, but truly lived.