When Motherhood is Hard

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! 🙂

Motherhood lately…

So, it’s not that I don’t have time to write.  It’s not that I no longer enjoy it.  I have many articles sitting in drafts, never to be published, I hope.  The problem lies in the fact that I have a hard time convincing myself I have anything worth saying.  I have so many thoughts, so many firmly held beliefs laying side by side with changing opinions and real experience, so much joy and difficulty.  And it all revolves around who I am now as a wife and mama, and who I hope to be one day.

You see, right now, I am a young wife of 3 years, with two years of motherhood experience.  Not much.  I have been handed an easy plate in life, so far, and while I am grateful for that, I know it will not always be so.  Mentally, I try to prepare myself for “real life” – whatever that is – when it hits.  But for now, there is so much ordinary happiness that I almost feel guilty for expressing it.  My sweet two year old, Jordan, is learning, and growing, and mimicking, and exploring adult life at an astonishing rate, and it is hilariously wonderful to watch, even when he has those moments of struggling with a new-found will and sin nature.  My feisty one year old, William, is equally a joy, although almost an exact opposite of his brother.  He is easily frustrated, highly competitive, determined and very affectionate.  He walks, runs, babbles, imitates, eats, screams and laughs with equally intensity.  I often sit back and watch my boys playing together and am amazed at…well, just how amazing they are. I wonder why I have been blessed with such incredible children?

We found out in July that God is blessing us with a third baby, and people now often comment on how hard I must have it.  I wish they knew.  I wish I could explain how the diapers, and the laundry, and the wiping tears and noses and assisting little hands and feet in living a life they are not yet big enough to tackle on their own, is not by any means the full story of young motherhood.  There is a lot of work.  Unless I were going to live the lazy life, any job would come with a lot of worth.  I have a hard time believing any other job could possibly come with the same level of joy that this job does!  My only complaint is that I often get bogged down in the details, or get lazy and try to do my own thing, instead of thoroughly investing myself in these children.

Another comment I hear a lot is about what a stress having little children can put on a marriage.  Jordan and I are both selfish people.  We needed kids.  We still do.  Both of us can say, whole-heartedly, that our children have strengthened us in ways we never knew we needed, and given us more joy as a couple, being parents together, than we had ever dreamed.

 

I say all of this, and then remember….I’ve only been doing this for three years.  I so enjoy it, I want to enjoy it, and yet I am afraid of being cocky, and giving myself the credit for all this goodness that can only have come from God.

And that is why I have not been writing (er, publishing).