So, I’ve elaborated a little on how much I enjoy motherhood, and how parenting has proved to be way more fun than I expected, but what about the hard parts? ‘Cause, ya know, there ARE hard parts!
I’ll be honest, there wasn’t a lot about our firstborn son that was hard, during his babyhood. He ate, slept, grew and learned with equal ease and sweetness, aside from a handful of bad moments. And then there was William. William was hard. Not just because he was a second-born, or because he was a whopping 13 1/2 months younger than Jordan Jr. It was just part of who he was. He hated sleeping, unless in my arms and moving. He ate perpetually. He cried when he wasn’t eating or sleeping. It was a rough start to a little life.
But anyway…. I can’t speak for other jobs – never really had one – but I assume most jobs/careers come with difficulty and a certain degree of drudgery. Parenting is different because it demands %110, %100 of the time. You cannot simply clock in, do your time and walk away. As I often tell Jordan, “If it was only caring for the physical needs, it would be really easy!” But caring for a child is so much more, especially as a Christian. You are caring for their soul, shaping who they will be as an adult, and even impacting their eternity. And so, each little temper tantrum, or show of selfishness, or bout of whining is as big a deal as a dirty diaper or a hungry belly. And when I lash out at the 50th infraction in thirty minutes, the problem compounds itself with my sin, and their sin, and just a whole lot of sinfulness in general. This is serious stuff. You can’t take a break from fighting it, in yourself or in your kids. And that can be exhausting.
There are days, like today, when I find an excuse to get out of the house just so that the distraction of different scenery holds my kids’ attention long enough that I can have some mental space. The car ride here was fraught with toddler conversation about, “The dark, and the big truck, and Daddy prays, and Daddy teaches karate, and William drinks milk,” and part of me is just screaming for SPACE. LIFE. TIME TO BE ME! There is an aspect of that screaming that is a legitimate human need, but another aspect of it is embarrassingly selfish. MY space. MY time. MY decisions. Our marriage struggles have all revolved around that same core issue. I have learned that my own selfishness is the hardest part of parenting. Raising children tackles that selfishness head-on and doesn’t let go. I don’t enjoy that part of mommyhood, but I sure do appreciate it! One of these days, I hope to come out the other side with a halo around my head, glowing with angelic serenity and selflessness! 🙂