She asked if I ever just didn’t like being a mom.
If I ever just wished for a different life that was grander, more beautiful, quieter, better.
Whispered of a life free from a five year-old crumpling on the floor with piercing screams because you won’t let him have a piece of gum at 7:13 in the morning. Where babies don’t explode poop and spit up all over more than half of their wardrobe before breakfast. Where daughters don’t hiss out words that break your heart and nobody’s whining that it’s not fair and that the other is touching them or looking at them or taking their stuff or gazing out their window.
She brought words to the question that I tucked away years ago in the secret places of my soul – What if I just don’t like being a mommy today?
Her heart so tender, so vulnerable, so genuine.
As she shyly glimpsed up from gazing at her now cooling café latte, I saw in her eyes a deep love for her children. And the words started tumbling of how they had spent months trying and hoping and praying and praying and praying to get pregnant. And of how she would give of her life if it meant saving theirs. How her daughter made her smile with her giggles and “I wuv yous” and her hugs that squeezed as tightly as her two-year old arms could handle. How she loved to feel the flutter of the baby in her womb. How she knew the sickness and sleepless nights would all be worth it.
And her head dropped in her hands as she mumbled of the long, monotonous days that started with her little one throwing a tantrum on the floor – with one eye peeking out to see if anyone was watching. And the dishes always piling. And the bills needing to be paid. And putting her daughter back to bed over and over and over when she was so-very-tired. How could she look around and think that this was just not how things were suppose to be? Not what she expected? And why was she the only one who seemed to feel this way? And because she didn’t like every moment with these gifts that God had given her – did that make her a total and complete failure?
Her heart all raw and aching – I knew I couldn’t keep quiet.
For the very vulnerable, very sensitive moments and seasons of not liking motherhood are oh, so real and painful – and I’ve been there too!
Everyone tells us to cherish each moment. And we get that, we do. We feel the tug in our hearts that these precious children of ours are only little for a very short amount of time, and that these monotonous days filled with sticky hands and slobbery kisses will be gone in a blink. And so we hug them a bit closer and breathe in the fresh scent of their newly shampooed hair – and then we witness meltdown number forty-two of the week, get thrown up on our shirt and have no time for a shower.
We wonder – What if I just don’t like being a mommy today?
Oh, I’d love to sit with you – you sipping your caramel macchiato (or other favorite drink) and me with my vanilla steamer (that this non-coffee drinker fell in love with in college), and speak to your heart about these not-liking-being-a-mommy-seasons.
For I want you to know that you are not alone! And really it is quite normal.
And there probably isn’t a mother out there who, if she were truly honest, hasn’t been there too.
I know that this oversaturated with information culture of ours has made this romanticized role of moms who are always happy with kids that act perfectly and eat their vegetables without complaining and the bread is baking in the oven and the kitchen is always clean and everyone is smiling and wearing color-coordinated outfits with fresh cut flowers on the table – which can leave us moms in the mess feeling a bit disheartened.
But that’s not real.
Real is knowing that some days are so delightful. The sun is shining, the kids play nicely together, the baby is sleeping, your quiet-time goes uninterrupted, there’s a sweet song on your lips, and you even have time for that cute project on Pinterest.
But most days are just normal, tedious, hard-working motherhood days. Where joy and satisfaction are found in the mundane of everyday life.
And then there are the pull your hair out, everything is falling apart days. And we all have them.
And us moms that are looking back in nostalgia on those baby days or toddler days or preschool days or any days that have passed, have forgotten a bit of the struggles and tears that by God’s grace alone we got through.
The moments of exhaustion and confusion don’t seem so hard when we’re no longer living them, or have new difficult paths that God is walking us through.
No, dear mamma, you are not alone.
And if you were to weep with words of failure, I would want you to know-
You are not failing if you do not love every single moment of motherhood.
You are not failing if your daughter (who has long since passed the terrible-twos’ stage) throws a tantrum at home… in the middle of the store… or at church.
You are not failing if you say no to that craft project because you don’t want to clean up the mess.
You are not failing if you forget to help those little ones brush their teeth for days in a row.
You are not failing if you declare that everyone must not make a peep for the next thirty minutes.
You are not failing if you are longing for nap time to come a lot sooner.
You are not failing if you need to call someone to come help you.
You are not failing if you don’t make everything organic and from scratch; you are not failing if you do.
You are not failing if you work, or if you stay home… if you homeschool, or if you send your kids to school… if your child brings home F’s or A’s… if he’s the bully or the angel.
You are not failing when you realize how hard being a mommy really is, and there are some parts of it that you really, truly do not like doing.
No, sweet mammas in the trenches, those things do not make us failures.
They show that we have limits and are dependent on Jesus.
But we cannot stay there either – staring at our child thinking how much we don’t like this. We must keep going, keep praying, keep seeking out His strength and guidance and grace and beauty.
Because if we wallow in self-pity or complain, complain, complain on our Facebook wall- the days will only get darker, and we’ll bring others down with us.
It’s a choice we must make to find joy in the ashes, to keep loving when it’s hard, and to do the things we just don’t like doing.
For sometimes it’s in the things that we least like doing – that we can most bring glory to God.
But it takes work on our part to keep going when we want to crumble to the floor with our toddler. To choose to have a heart of gratitude when we often don’t see the beauty until we’re looking back. To worship Christ in the challenges of everyday motherhood.
So keep going, dear mammas. Keep looking to Him in those early morning minutes and late night hours so that you see through the eyes of Jesus. Keep scooping little ones off the floor to whisper loving words in their ears. Keep washing off the mud prints and cooking dinner from scraps in the pantry. Keep kissing those owies and reading those books and putting cool washcloths on feverish heads. Keep cranking up the music and singing praise songs to God and keep tucking them back into bed again and again and again. Keep listening to their stories and driving them from place to place and pouring out truth and grace in those not-liking-being-a-mommy moments. Keep making snowmen in this snowy winter and letting those little ones snuggle next to you as you’re reading your Bible. Keep training and disciplining and giving and praying and loving. Keep forgiving and saying you’re sorry and asking God to work in you and taking time to rest when you need it. Keep smiling until it reaches your heart. Keep pointing them to Jesus. And keep loving on those other moms you see with tears trickling down their faces.
And when you see that little one sound asleep hanging half off her bed, or the little boy standing proudly cooking with his dad – take a moment to breathe in the sweet moments and praise God for the beauty amidst another day. Write them down – fill pages – so that when those tantrums come or you get thrown up on your shirt, you’ll be able to find something… anything to praise God for in the moment.
Maybe you’ve had a delightful day. Maybe it’s been just normal. Maybe you’re really struggling to like motherhood today.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
Keep going – it may not be grand and may not seem beautiful – but it is here, it is now – finding grace in the moment.
You are not alone.
I am praying for you today.