It’s 1 o’clock in the morning and here I am, awake. I should have been asleep hours ago. But instead, I sit here alone in the tub. No, there isn’t anything so interesting to stay up for. No, I haven’t been so busy that I had to stay up late. But I am alone. Finally. Not only am I alone but it is quiet. I can hear myself think. It’s kind of nice sometimes (other times thinking to much gets me into trouble). I should be in bed, resting up for what tomorrow holds. But I don’t stand up – I don’t get out. I sit. Thinking – or not thinking. Just sitting. Because I know the moment I get in the bed, the day is over. Which is good because today was hard. Shouldn’t I be looking forward to bedtime? Dreaming of it all day. But I constantly find myself up till early in the morning because I can’t bear to let the day go. Because I know tomorrow could be as hard as – or harder – than today. I know tomorrow will come and I’ll wake up to those two happy, smiling faces that I love. But what also awaits me are tantrums and messes, dirty diapers, lessons in sharing and snotty noses. The hustle and bustle of the day that makes it almost impossible to sit back and enjoy the moment.
“It goes by so fast. Don’t blink.”
“I wish mine were that young again.”
“One day you will miss this.”
Those words are heard so often and are so meaningfully passed along. Just like everyone who told you to enjoy being young before you became an adult. You didn’t listen, did you? Because you just knew if you could get through this, freedom awaited you. Unfortunately, this is the same mindset of every mother of young children. “If I can just get through today…this week…this year.” Pretty soon, your babies are all grown up and you are saying those same things to someone else. We know this, yet it seems as though we can do nothing to fix it.
That’s because this stage of life is hard. For me, it is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I am constantly needed. “Pick me up, put me down, feed me, hold me.” I must stay constantly busy because if I waste too much time, I am left with two weeks of laundry, an empty pantry and dirty floors.
This stage is hard. Because you start every day with a to-do list a mile long and no way of ever getting it done. Messes happen, accidents happen and the unexpected always manages to throw your life into chaos – every day. Things are so hard sometimes that I miss my youth – and I’m only 27. Some days, I feel like an old, run down housewife with bags under my eyes, messy hair and the same clothes I’ve worn for days. Sometimes I wonder if I should have waited a little longer to let go of my much-anticipated adult freedom. I long for the days of being alone after work or sleeping until noon. I long for trips to the grocery store or even clothes shopping where I had no schedule to keep or toddlers to chase. Now, simple errands are exhausting.
Then, there are those moments – some days they are scarce – where you remember a post you read or something someone said and you get to stop. Stop and think about what’s actually going on in your life.
I am a mom. I have been given the greatest honor to raise my two beautiful children. To share in their memories and, if even for a little while, be their favorite person. I remember that post that said “you will never be this loved and needed again”. I have been run ragged today. I am tired but still have things to do before I can even consider bed. And as I tuck my son into bed for the 5th time and he asks me to “lay down please”, instead of telling him “goodnight” and closing the door, I do what he asked. I lay there and hold him and think about how lucky I am to know such a beautiful person. He wraps his arm around my neck and I remember that I will never be this loved again.
And some nights, I let my daughter cry a little to put herself to sleep. But sometimes, I pick her up and rock her. Because I can’t remember the last time I rocked my son. Because someone once told me “one day you will pick them, put them down and never pick them up again.”
And those are the short moments that get me through the long days. And although tomorrow, my attitude may be different and I may forget those precious moments amid my chaos, they are still there. My life is not perfect. Sometimes, I don’t handle things well. Sometimes I don’t control my temper – I yell (or cry). Some days I don’t feel like getting up to face the day. And some days, I don’t have a single moment of clarity or calm reflection. But sometimes … I DO.
And for me, those moments are worth every hard thing I face. Every difficult situation or exhausting day. Those moments, I believe, are the glue that holds us moms together. We must remember that God made us for this. And again, this is without a doubt the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. But if it weren’t for this, I would never have known how strong I can be. There’s a tingle of joy in me to know that God thinks I can handle this. How amazing to know that He has that much faith in me. After all, He made me this way.
So, I will go to sleep. I will sleep as long as my children will allow. Then, I will get up and start a new day. I will sing and dance and play with my children – while I still can.
I am not a perfect mom and I judge myself against how I see others. I know you do too. Just remember, every mom has felt the way you do right now. It’s a comfort to know that I’m not the only one that sneaks into the closet to eat her candy bar in peace. I hope you find comfort in knowing that we all go through it. And it ok if sometimes you don’t like this motherhood thing all that much because sometimes … you DO.