This morning, my kids apparently couldn’t wait to remind me of my motherhood, because they woke up at 6am. I tried taking them back to bed with me to “snuggle” which looks a lot more like protecting my ribs and vital organs from the jabs and kicks of tiny little appendages.
So I had coffee instead.
Miles has a runny nose. Allergies, I think. The pollen has been flying and he loves to roll in freshly-cut grass. He was whining and I asked him if he was feeling bad “yep” he replied. “What hurts?” I asked, and he pointed to his toe. “Hm, err…what feels yucky?” I tried again. He then pointed to a glob of stuck-on food on the side of the table that had gone unnoticed to everyone over the height of 30”.
This is why motherhood is hard. Not the 6am part. Sometimes, those early-morning memories are the sweetest, while being the hardest to explain. One day I’ll miss snuggling with my little boys in my bed. One day they will be too old to want to be consoled by me when they fall.
The hardest part about motherhood is trying, every day, trying my very best to do this thing right, all the while knowing that I won’t. The hardest part is wanting to help my little guy with whatever is bothering him, and not being able to do so because his mouth doesn’t yet fully cooperate with the words in his head.
The hardest part about motherhood to me isn’t that our extra money goes to soccer and diapers, or the missed weekend parties for lack of a baby-sitter. It isn’t that i’ve been sleep-deprived for 5 years, that my robe serves as their personal kleenex, that I haven’t taken a shower alone for years, that my dining room floor could legitimately benefit from being mopped 3 times/day, that I haven’t finished an entire plate of food in a single sitting in years, that romantic moments with my husband may be interrupted by a misplaced duplo in our bed; or that my mother’s day card was joyfully presented this morning while I was on the toilet…
It is knowing that I will do things, unintentionally as their mother, that may wound them. Things that they will have to hash out over a double bourbon and bonfire with their friends as adults. Knowing that in the future, they will sit with their partner and say “My parents did this…let’s not do that.” It’s looking into their trusting eyes, knowing that I may fail to meet a need that they have.
I try to remind myself daily that if God expected my kids to turn out perfectly that he wouldn’t have given them to me. He would have just created fully-functioning adult humans every couple of seconds. It’s both the beauty and the pain of motherhood that we won’t get it all right, we can’t, and that we aren’t expected to.
The hardest part about motherhood, to me, is that there is nothing I want to do more perfectly than mothering my kids, and realizing daily that I can’t.
This is part of the reason I’ve stopped tackling some of these huge health issues on this blog. Because I suspect that most mothers are struggling with this same issue. We all are trying our best to be the best mothers we can, and the last thing we need is someone telling us another area in which we have failed.
Because we all have different convictions that shape our parenting. While I wouldn’t let my kids eat Lucky Charms or Doritos, I do let them play with toy guns, walk barefoot just about everywhere until around age 3, and pee in bushes in public.
There is a strong case to be made against allowing my kids to do these things but I’m not personally convicted by them.
So, as I’m writing this I have a chubby, precious, pantsless 2 year old sitting on my lap saying “play me mama.” My alarm just went off but I’ve been up for an hour. This is motherhood. The good part. The stuff that will last only a few short years, but that I will ache to have back when they are grown.
Hey. Mamas. You’re doing a wonderful job. You’re doing the best that you can with the time, resources, and knowledge that you have. That is worth celebrating.
Happy Mother’s Day.