Sometimes i don't enjoy being a mother. Sometimes i feel like i don't even like my kids. There are moments where i want to give up and run away from home. There are days when i am convinced every other mom out there is doing a much better job than me. This mom to three boys thing is hard. I mean really, drain the life out of you hard. There are times of indescribable joy and love overflows in my heart, and there are times where life just plain sucks. A couple months ago when i first thought about writing this, i would have just left it at that, because that's where i was at. But thankfully, God never lets me stay in the valley for long. Even while i was there, i knew i wouldn't be there forever. Because of Him. Jesus. There's always hope in Jesus. When we struggle in our marriage, when i am tempted to worry about the future of my children in this world, when i am disgusted with my own ugliness on the inside that comes back again and again, i can hope, still. Nothing brings peace as He does, nothing brings about change as He can. I struggle with finding time for the Lord, and i MISS the quiet and the opportunities that i used to have. And i get frustrated with myself for choosing other things over Him. But still He waits for me. And i am encouraged by the longing in my heart to be in God's presence. It's when that feeling disappears that i get worried, because it's usually replaced by a subtle cynicism and doubting. I have to guard my heart intensely, so the responsibilities of life don't wear me down to the point of discouragement. Some days (actually every day) i feel like all i do is have my face in pee and poo. Joey thankfully manages his own wiping, but i've got the baby of course, and Ian, who seems to be taking about 5 mini-poops a day! Each time i hose him off in the tub with the power sprayer because that seems to get the job done much faster than wiping. Trying to change my tactic in getting super happy about him pooping since i was kinda turning into mean mommy with the whole issue for a while. But he's doing awesome with peeing. Joey's only hangup is staying dry at night. He's in underwear of course but still pees the bed almost every night. Unfortunately, everything i've read says that bedwetting is hereditary, so if a parent struggled with it as a child, one of your children will most likely too. Joe dealt with it his whole childhood, and i guess his mom did too. Pretty embarrassing for a kid. Neither of his brothers did, so it just depends on the child. Anyhoo, i'm just really over smelling pee on everything! As if i didn't have enough laundry. But i can't tell him that, i'm really not into humiliation parenting. My kids are healthy and we all have fully functioning limbs and a roof over our heads and food to fill our bellies, so i have more than enough to be thankful for. But this is still hard. I wish someone would have told me that this would be the most challenging job i'd ever had. I wish i'd have known that my kids wouldn't be perfect, that it's unrealistic for me to expect them to be, and that there would be times where i'd find them totally annoying. Maybe then i wouldn't have felt guilt for not enjoying every single second of time with them. I remember at my postpartum appt. with my midwife, her telling me that children are very opportunistic, meaning if they see a way to get more out of you, they will. And they will take and take until you've got no more to give (trying to stress the importance to me to get out and do some things by myself, even if it's just a trip to the store). Did i already write this, a long time ago? Sorry if this is a repeat! Anyway, nothing ever seems to get finished, chores are just one long continuing task after another. I asked joe recently if he felt like the days were getting shorter, but the to-do list just keeps on growing. How is that possible, we didn't have another kid in the last few months, but life just feels busier. He nodded as he folded a pair of pants. I also threw the question out recently when i was knee-deep in who knows what, "How can anyone possibly miss THIS?"
I take comfort in the stories i've heard from those who've survived this calling of parenthood. A dear old woman in my bible study years ago, said she sometimes would lay on her floor and just stare at the ceiling because it was the only place in her house where there wasn't a mess. My grandma told me a she had a friend that had recently given birth to her third child and confessed to my grandma, "I used to see your kids and wondered why they always seemed so dirty and their noses were always running, now i am amazed that you can even keep up with them!" There's an awesome couple at our church who recently became grandparents themselves and they teach in joey's Sunday school class. When we were pregnant with O and told them we were having our third boy, we asked if they had any advice, knowing they had survived raising three boys themselves. The husband said he wished he supported his wife more (to which she told him he did just fine), and the wife said to not waste time worrying about keeping the house spic and span. Then she added in an unnerving calm voice, "You will lose control." At that moment i felt like Mary when she brought Jesus to the temple as an infant, and the old man Simeon blessed the baby and said wonderful things about him, then looked into Mary's eyes, and told her, "and a sword will pierce your own soul too." And i pondered these things in my mind. Will i lose control over my kids, my own emotions, or just life in general? She stated it as fact, and yet it didn't sound like a negative thing, just something she thought i should quietly know in my heart. I also think of my own mother-in-law who seriously wanted to run away from home, for good. No for real, she had a plan to fake her own death, not joking. The amazing thing is, i'm pretty sure that all of these women would give anything to be back in that place and hold their precious babies again, to soak in all the chaos and laughter and even be comforted by the mess. As i look out into our hallway, i know someday they are going to seem eerily quiet. I am so looking forward to being an empty nester with Joe and the adventures we hope to have on our own, getting coffee together whenever we feel like it, reading the paper together on lazy mornings, going to see movies (if they haven't all totally turned to crap by then), taking road trips. Even so, i know deep down that when that day comes, i'm not going to remember all the fighting, the whining, my weariness, the lack of sleep, the feeling out of control, the constant pulling in all different directions. Because i'll be at Costco picking out a carton of eggs, alone, and have no one to check and "mell 'em" for me as the boys do painstakingly every time we're there. Or i'll be driving home and see some gorgeous trees and won't hear little voices telling me the red leaves are on fire. The most boring time of all though will be driving by construction sites and pointing out to no one all the excavators, bulldozers, front end loaders, scrapers, and cranes. And it's really no fun to drive down a hill and shout "WEEeeeeeeeeeee!" with no one else around.
So i'll take the chaos, and i'll love it, and i'll hate it, and i'll wish it was over with, and i'll painfully miss it when it's gone.