1. Unloosed: http://www.feminagirls.com/2013/11/15/unloosed/
So many things about mothering are harder than I thought they would be. So many moments that didn’t sound hard in advance, didn’t sound hard at the time, and didn’t even sound hard when I was trying to explain them to my husband through tears. There are just so many opportunities to be surprised by your own weakness.
It wasn’t that I had a low view of motherhood coming into it – I knew it would be hard. I guess the thing that I didn’t realize was what kind of hard it was going to be. I got on this treadmill expecting a hard work out of running, and I had good shoes. I was ready! What I was not prepared for was being pelted with potatoes while I was running. I didn’t realize that the real struggle of motherhood is not the using of my own strength, but rather the exposing of my weakness.
I don’t think that this is unique to me. There is a reason that you hear mothers so often talking about being burned out, being tired, being lonely, feeling lost, being discouraged. There is a reason that women so often turn to doubting their worth as a mother or as a wife. There is a reason that we are so quick to feel inadequate, so quick to feel like we are doing the wrong things, and so quick to want to give up. There is a reason that we are so vulnerable to stupid fights about mothering methods, so quick to be threatened and hurt.
The things that we have come to believe about the value of life, the quality of life, the kind of work we should desire, and the kind of reward we should receive have been painstakingly imparted to us by the world. We are a generation of women who grew up in a world that corsets young women with selfish desires, shallow ideals, visions of unattainable beauty, and a false understanding of success.The kinds of muscles that we need to be a mother at home with a bunch of kids are seriously out of practice. How bizarre is it that a woman with a brood of little people growing up in her care, with her love can regularly wonder what it would be like to do something important? How is it possible that we can easily get discouraged and feel like this work – this work of being everything for other people – isn’t enough for us? What has gone wrong that we can actually feel hurt by a stranger counting our children or laughing at our pregnant bellies? We are simply finding that we are unable to sit up in bed without the encouragement of the world.
And this is what I mean when I say that the true challenge of motherhood is meeting your own weakness.
2. Frantic: http://www.feminagirls.com/2013/11/19/frantic/
But it wasn’t that long ago. Only a handful of years ago in our house, if playing in the toilet had come to a vote, I could have lost. The people could have spoken and called it all good fun. I was outnumbered, outsmarted, outrun, and seriously outdone. My days at home were blindingly tiring. I’m not exaggerating, and I know some of you are right with me here. Many of you are still in it. You are hanging on by a thread. You are puking in the bathroom for the 10th solid week in a row while little children whom you love dearly are running around the house largely unkempt and unruly. You are lying on the couch trying with all your might to eat a cracker and not smell anything. You are wary of people who smell like showers. Or onions. Or garlic in yesterday’s food. You resent people who talk about tortillas. You are holding your breath as you walk into the kitchen and fill a sippy cup against all odds. Or you might even be as desperate as I have been and tell children who certainly aren’t big enough to go ahead and pour themselves juice.
I recently spoke at a local MOPS group, and during the question and answers, a lady in the audience asked me about my coping mechanisms. And when I looked out to talk to this brave soul with her three under three, I saw it in her eyes. Oh, how I remember that time. It was a desperate time – and here I am, surprised as anyone to be looking back on it. But I want to write to you who are still in it and tell you a few things. Don’t believe that you have made a mistake that this is what your life is like. These little people were called by God to your house now. He knows what He has given to you to do, and in the middle of all this craziness is some profound mercy.