Hey there mama, this one is for you….and actually for myself because I needed to hear this this week, so I wrote it for me and for you.
I don’t know about you, but motherhood for me is a cycle. I go and read a great devotional or blog or have an awesome outing with the kids and I’m on top of my world saying “Being a mom is AWESOME! This is the best thing I can be doing right now, I feel fantastic about being a mom! I got this! Moms rule!”…and then I get caught up in toddler tantrums, weeks of rainy days, postpartum acne and weight issues, household chores and doubting myself and I starting feeling like “Man, this is tough. Is it supposed to be this hard? Do other people struggle? Maybe I’m not cut out for this. The kids deserve better than me.”
Mommin’ is hard. Its hard even if it is something you dreamed about for years like me, with glossy ideas of a serene and color-coordinated nursery. A snuggly and sweet-smelling baby that wanted to cuddle all day and slept a peaceful and angelic sleep all night long. Mommy and Me play dates. Healthy food and a nice rosy glow over your day. You would be strong, decisive, effective and capable. Your children would pop out of the womb respectful, conscientious and kind. But the truth of it is, this job is 24/7/365 and you will be tired. You child will smell terrible at times and hate you at others, and to be fair, you will also smell and hate you sometimes too. You will never be able to go to the bathroom by yourself, and you can just forget trying to take a shower! You will repeat yourself 87,935 times today alone. Your child will not sleep through the night until she is 32 and is about as cuddly as an octopus on steroids. You will feed them puffs off the floor and try to remember to feed them vegetables, if you remembered to actually buy some at the store. Your serene nursery looks more like a primary-colored tornado touched down and wreaked havoc for 4 days straight. If this is your job, you find that you cannot communicate effectively to your employees (…or to your tiny boss(es), depending on the day and who is running the house). Explaining what you do all day or why you are tired to your husband, or to friends without kids is nearly impossible. You will relish your time alone if you happen to get some, and then start to think you are crazy as you miss your kids as soon as you are away from them. You may think you are failing. You may think you are not as good as the other moms who take their kids to 3 playdates a week and reading time at the library. You may be worried that other people think you are a mess. You may be second guessing your calling to be a mom.
Guess what. God’s plan is perfect, and He made you perfect for your kids, even on days when you are not feeling perfect. He knew your name and your kids’ names before you were born and this is all apart of His divine plan. You are human and have weaknesses just like everyone else – your mom life and home will not be perfect, but get yourself off of Facebook or Instagram or whatever other tool you are using to measure yourself because, guess what? You are enough, and those people are not perfect either. They simply had it together for the 30 seconds it took to take a photo and write a glowing post. They also struggle and have days of doubt. Their toddlers also hit and bite and scream like banshees. Their laundry also piles up and their fridge also has an unidentifiable sticky residue on the bottom.
You are the only mom your kids know, and they love you. They never notice all the ways we swear we are failing! If you ask most grownups what they remember about their moms, they won’t tell you that she should have lost about 15 pounds, or she lost her temper on a Friday afternoon once a month like clockwork (ahem, me) or that she sometimes only had cereal for dinner and forgot to clean the bathroom for a whole month. They will remember that she made things fun or that she had the best hugs, that she could make any moment funny or that she sang Disney songs with her stupid dance moves to make you smile when you were sad. That she drove you around to every event you wanted to go to, and made Christmas and birthdays magical. That her chocolate chip cookies were to die for, and that she was always willing to share anything with anyone.
So, loosen up. Live, and enjoy the crazy, the quiet, and everything in between. If you feel like watching movies all day today and eating puffs with the kids, then do it. If you feel like deep cleaning the house and getting in a HIIT workout while they nap, then do it. If you are a planner and a doer and that makes you happy, then plan and do, just remember that the beautiful chaos surrounding you is foremost, and your plan may fall by the wayside – that the kids are your priority, and the to-do list will always be there.
I have also found that in the midst of your crazy kids and the unknown and the chaos is a beautiful space where you will often meet Jesus. When they push you away and drive you nuts, but you still want to hug them 5 minutes later, you will finally understand God’s unconditional love for you and His relentless pursuit of you. When one more tantrum comes down the pike and you’re looking longingly at the door, you will understand the verse “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13) and look to God alone for your strength. When you face ingratitude or don’t feel appreciated at home for what you do, you are reminded that you are ministering to your family in the name of Jesus, and that we are called to do all things as unto the Lord. When you feel like you honestly cannot take another moment of doing for everyone and not for yourself, be reminded of the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus and how we can only try to be like Him by serving those around us.
It is all worth it – and that’s something a mom heart knows about another mom heart. We get frustrated, tired and impatient, but at the end of the day, we would choose it again in a heartbeat. (In fact, we love it so much, we keep on having kids! ) Children are a blessing from the Lord and give us life — If you don’t have a friend that knows that about you, get one. Its life changing to have a friend who knows that at your soul, you would choose your life and your kids every single time. That when you text them on a hard day to say you’re about to sell your toddler, they offer theirs as a 2 for 1 deal instead of judging you and questioning if you are a fit and sane mother, and then they simply ask you how they can help. A mama support system is a must for all of us!
We can do this, and do it well, through the strength of God, and living in His grace to cover our mistakes. Our babies and our homes are in His hands; just do all things in love, fully relying on Him alone, and you will make it just fine. Moms rule!