Motherhood is filled with stories.
There’s stories of the amazing, unequivocal joy of raising children that might send you running for the nearest available method for obtaining a baby. There’s also stories of struggle and total complete meltdowns that might make you think twice before throwing away the birth control.
And of course, motherhood is both. You might not hear about all those ups every time, or all the downs every time, but they’re there. And somehow, even with all those downs, motherhood does what little else can: it grows and grows, filling our hearts with love and worry and joy and sorrow, which is all part of life itself. Motherhood simply magnifies it all.
So here are some of my personal joys and struggles of motherhood:
Bad news first: What tests me about motherhood
1. Broken sleep
I’m a heavy sleeper and heavy dreamer, from eyes closed all the way to my vibrating (or shouting children) alarm. The only times I used to wake at night were when I was on my period, sick, or uncomfortable for some reason. So when I’m waking multiple times at night, every single night for weeks and months on end, well–cue monster mom.
2. Leaving the house with kids
Gone are the days when I could grab something from the store in a heartbeat, attend some event without scrambling for a babysitter, or do something spontaneous. Now before heading out the door I first must feed, clean up, and dress four people; make sure I have all the kid stuff to keep everyone happy; and strap three kids into car seats. (Takes longer than it sounds.) And once we’re there, I need to rein them in the whole time. The entire shindig is exhausting. By the time I get home, and unbuckle the kids from their car seats, I can do nothing but enter my house and collapse on the couch . . . and then it’s lunchtime!
3. Cleaning certain bodily fluids
Between a shag carpet and tile flooring, cleaning up Number 1s and 2s is one of my absolute least favorite things in the world. An accident here and there, you know, I can handle. But if the child is regressing and unloading her night’s worth of liquids onto the bathroom floor morning after morning, it takes all I have not to explode and confine the child to the bathtub all day long. Instead I have to steer my anger and grief into furious texts sent to my husband at work, even though I know he can only respond with sympathy and sad emojis.
4. The lack of an emotional and mental break
Rest is important, but quite often, the physical break alone isn’t enough. I need to do more with my brain than answer need after need, pick this up or clean that, or referee little ones, all day long . . . how do I find the balance between kid time, hubby time, and “me” time? If I had just two hours a day free from my kids, I would exercise, write, or organize something without interruption. I would take myself to a quiet spot to be alone and just think. When my kids are in school, that time will come–but I may just lose my mind before then.
The good news: The best parts of motherhood
1. Freakin’ cute little kids
Kids and babies dish out cuteness in huge doses. From their babble and toddler speech to their innocent little ways, they are adorable. Even though I’ll never remember every cute thing they do (except what I catch in pictures and video), they melt my heart every day. God made babies and little humans cute for a reason, and all I can say is–thaaaank you!
2. Being their mom
I love having a baby to call “mine.” I love being the one whose lap my girls always want to sit in, the one who can always get all three kids to smile. I love being the one they hide behind when we meet new people–I am their comfort and protection. I love being the one who understands their needs. While my wonderful husband has the job of providing financially, my day job is a SAHM who provides security and guidance–which is my night job too, only my husband is also there to help with that. 🙂
3. When my children are happy
Baby giggles, playfully wicked chuckles, tickle laughs–I will treasure these moments forever. They’re happy when they’re playing, when their mommy or daddy snuggles them into bed, when they do something hard, and when they do something new all by themselves. I know now why parents wish they could take away their childrens’ struggles, and the hurt they’ll feel throughout their lives. Thing is, we just can’t. But I sure hope, no matter what happens in the future, that my children will always know the sheer joy I feel when they’re truly happy.
4. Seeing my children grow
Witnessing firsthand the development of babies and children is fascinating. It can make my day just chilling on the couch and listening to my four-year-old’s imagination run wild. I smiled as my 18-month-old imitated everyone and everything, and I smile now at a two-year-old experimenting with pretend play and her own personality. And nothing unites the family like cheering on the baby when he achieves his next milestone!