We have all had those weeks. You know the one: where your husband’s schedule is so busy that you begin to feel like a single mom and simultaneously have to look at your wedding photo to remember what he looks like. (To you who are 24/7 single moms, and to you whose husbands are regularly gone for work or in service to our country, you have my highest respect. Can I buy you a coffee? Or a bottle of wine?) Anyway, that was last week for me.
And as the days (and nights, and bedtimes) wore on, I was wearing out and my patience was wearing thin. My loving voice became barking orders and by the end of the week I was ready to take off my cape and my Mom Badge and turn it all in for something at which I could be more successful. Because, clearly, I suck at mothering.
People, often say to enjoy them while they’re young because time goes by really fast. You blink and they’re grown. I know. I KNOW! But, since you’re the mothering guru, maybe YOU should come enjoy my kids while they’re young so I can just take a freaking nap! Pretty please?
I love my kids. I really REALLY do! But I will often say I am a mom, not a mommy – meaning I love my kids with my entire being, but they do not define me. I would not want my life without them in it – but they are not my whole life. And while I know it seems like it might for a season, my world does not revolve around them.
So, what do we do? On those really hard days (weeks? months? years?)? How do we get through? Here are 3 things I think are important to remember:
- Your Role As Mom Does Not Define You: You are your own person apart from your kids. You are first and foremost (hopefully) a daughter of God and co-heir with Christ. He has plans for you that don’t end when you have kids. You are also maybe a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a neighbor…there are many more things in your life than “just being a mom.” This also means that you can define your worth by more than just your successes and failures as a mom.
- Your Kids Are Not in the Way of Your Calling: Recently, God has begun to get me antsy about dreaming bigger. And I just keep thinking/saying, “I will be able to do so much more when they are in school!” Which is true. For starters, I will have much more time to write! But in the meantime, I cannot see them as a hindrance to living for God. He created them and has purposes for their little lives. They have callings of their own and I can only pray that I am not getting in their way! May God do with me what He wants both now, in this chapter of my life, and later when I have more unallocated time at my disposal.
- Prison is Not as Nice as it Sounds: Ok, obviously this is not a direction we are actually seeking out. I mean, three warm meals you don’t have to cook or clean up from or feed to anyone else, and a bed all to yourself, wait…maybe this is worth reconsidering? But on those days that you are tempted to throw that unruly child out a second-story window, take a deep breath and repeat after me “This is temporary and not worth 20 to life.”
It has often been said that it takes a village to raise a child. I think this is 100% true – but it is not for the benefit of the child. You, worn out momma, are the one who needs a village to rally around you, if for no other reason than the reality that some day you will finally come out of the hibernation season known as “mothering littles” and you will need to remember how to function in the adult world by doing seemingly simple things such as forming coherent sentences and putting on pants! So gather your girls, form your tribe, and stay the course. We are all in this together – you, me, and every other woman out there wandering the aisles of Target, bleary eyed, with a messy bun, yoga pants, and a blessed Starbucks latte (also known as our life blood!). Though life may be crazy now, we will make it. In the meantime, enjoy your babies, because I hear it goes by really fast!