I got an interesting comment the other morning. The person said, “I’ve just been reading your blog. Final verdict: parenthood sounds hard.” It was in the middle of a good-natured comment from an old friend, but still took me a little off guard. My first reaction is “Duh! An hour at my house is the only birth control you’ll ever need!” But then, I wondered if I hadn’t been portraying my life the right way. Am I posting too many things that are frustrating or annoying or hard or sad? Should I be glossing over those difficult parts and highlighting only the good? I don’t want anyone to think I have an unusually difficult time with my kids. But I don’t want you to think I have an unusually easy time, either. I just want to be real. Encouraging, but real. (My thoughts on that a little more in depth here.)
Parenthood can look like all sorts of things at different times, different seasons, and to different people. Motherhood can look wonderful. It can look hectic. It can look easy. It can look good, bad, crazy, scary, or sad, depending on the moment. There are times full of snuggles and smiles and eating all the food on their plate and going to bed on time. There are times of skipping naps, toddler tantrums, picky eating, snotty noses, poop-splosions (read about those here) and breaking down to cry. It’s ridiculous how quickly you can go from thinking, “Awesome! I’m doing it! This is great!” to “I can’t wait for Hubby to get home so I can sit down.” or “When does school start back, again?”
In the moments when my toddler has finally fallen asleep, and I’m still laying in her bed, spooning her, for fear she’ll wake up if I move, I drink in the snuggles. I thank God for the moments like this, when she turns back into a baby again, blanket in her mouth (gross, I know) and face softened to chubby cheeks and eyelashes. And maybe I cry a little bit, because I yelled when I shouldn’t have, or I had to harp on her too many times to share with her brother, or I simply was so busy with work and errands that I barely saw her until bedtime. Finding the grace to forgive yourself isn’t easy when you feel like you didn’t do the best you could possibly do. But you know what? I always make time for smooches and snuggles and she’s always fed and rested and clean. If those things are true, my day wasn’t a complete fail.
Sometimes, when one or both of the babes has gotten up in the night, I’m a zombie, and several cups of coffee don’t seem to be giving me the boost I need, we park it in front of the tv for longer than I’d like to admit. We eat whatever is the easiest thing to scrounge up for our meals and snacks, or we pile in the car and get drive-thru burgers and fries. I do no laundry, no dishes, and the only thing I clean is baby bottoms. Talk about the mom version of an under achiever, right? But those days aren’t the norm. They aren’t even common. But sometimes they are necessary to a tired family. When we all take naps on the couch watching some awful Netflix movie like Turtle Tale, it’s not likely I’ll complain that much. Sometimes those are the days that bedtimes come a little easier and less crying jags happen. On days when I “accomplish a lot”, I’ve been vacuuming instead of playing, and there are groceries in the fridge because I lugged my kids through the grocery store… Those are sometimes the ones that there are more frustrating than rewarding.
But what’s the formula here? Is there a way to ensure that my kids have a great day every day, and sleep well every night? I bet not. I bet there isn’t even a formula to ensure that they don’t have a good day and don’t sleep well. I just do the best I can; I love on them, try to teach them right from wrong, feed them (as healthily as I can), help them get rest (even if it means napping with them), foster learning and love of learning (whenever possible), bathe them (sometimes more than once a day), and pray for them. I don’t know how it looks from the outside. Maybe it looks hard to you, or maybe it looks fun! Maybe it looks rewarding, or like something you aren’t ready for right now. All those answers can be the right one. It’s looked like all of those things from the inside, too. But from where I sit, the mama of two adorable (however crazy) kiddos, I have a blessed life, and I try to bless those kids in return. It’s looking pretty sweet to me.