Since the school year has started these are actual thoughts that have run through my head:
“How many times can a cup of coffee with milk be reheated before it will make me sick?”
“How in the world do all 3 kids have only left shoes, on the exact same day, at the same time? ”
“Sweet Jesus, what made you think I had the patience for motherhood?”- This one was kindof a prayer. Sweat had begun to bead as the school bell rang and we were STILL TRYING TO GET IN THE CAR. (Yes, I can hear the bell from my house. Yes, we are almost always barely on time.)
As I sat down to draft ideas for this post and do some much needed paperwork, I took a bite of my lunch. I had been looking forward to it all day. My favorite, leftover spaghetti. Cold, it was still cold. I didn’t have what it took to get up and heat it, again, to eat it warm. Real motherhood is eating the cold spaghetti. It wasn’t half bad.
Later that night my husband and I tag teamed our kids. It still took an hour to get them all in bed at the same time and stop the madness of the day. As has become our custom (since, ya know, actual date nights are hilarious dreams) my husband brought out my favorite ice cream and his. Those Individual little cartons are our guilty pleasure. We sat down to watch Netflix.
Our house is built in such a way that when we open the door to our downstairs it completely blocks the hallway to the bedrooms. This allows us a little safeguarded privacy to watch something that doesn’t involve headache inducing cartoon voices or animation.
On this particular night it was now 8:30 PM. We should’ve been in the clear.
Then we heard it…
The creak of the door followed by little feet.
*Pause the show. Hide the ice cream!*
“Mommy, I gotta go potty.”
Let me tell ya friends, it’s a good thing they are so stinkin’ cute. She is 3, partially potty trained and by that I mean, she wears a pull-up because, although she has been using a toilet for over a year to poop, she REFUSES to pee on the toilet during the day.
But, at night…well, she has to pee on the potty… and here we go.
*8:45 PM, back in bed, TV on, ice cream out. It’s a little melty, but doesn’t hurt my teeth as badly. Perfect, still time for an episode of our favorite show.*
“Mommy, I can’t sleep because sis is making noise.”
Man, he is so cute in his undies and oversized shirt, with his worn puppy under his arm.
Carrying him back to bed I breathe in his little boy smell and I realize it’s barely there. That sweet baby smell is almost gone from my little boy. He is 5 now, reluctantly in kindergarten. I am both relieved and sad it went by so fast.
Goodnight tuck-ins and a “Hush now sis, brother needs to sleep.”
During this time my husband has paid some bills and packed the lunches. God, bless this man I married. Seriously, cutting meat into little squares and making sure that the bread looks “all the way like a heart” just might be the last straw!
*9pm. Barely enough time for 1 episode but, we can make it.*
The show starts up and I hear my frustrated 8 year old say, “KeEEEEndyllllllllllLLLLL, you need to be quiet. I am tired and you keep waking me up!”
Settting down my ice cream, again, I say a little prayer “God, let me be patient, and loving”
I go. I tuck 3 year old back in, find “pink owl” because “blue owl and nightimte owl are not my friend tonight”, diffuser , star lamp, and singing teddy all turned on. “Goodnight girls. sleep well. I will see you IN.THE.MORNING.” said firmly. Exit room
*9:17 PM. Ice cream soup.*
I have expensive ice cream soup and tears.
Because, I already ate cold spaghetti.
Because, I don’t remember where we were in the show anyway.
*mindless channel surfing for 20 minutes then bed*
Do it all again.
I realized that night that I can’t do it anymore. Not the way I had been.
Sometimes, being a mom is just really hard work. It’s going to be that way for a while, but recently I was reminded of how quickly that can change. Actually, I am often reminded. It is rare my oldest to wake and ask for me in the night. I miss her and her baby smell. There are pictures on my walls of friends who have lost children, or were never able to have them at all. There are pictures of children I desperatly love who live too far away for me to watch them grow. My children are a gift to me and although sometimes I struggle I want to choose to remember this gift.
My oldest is both my opponent and my team mate. She is my sparkle and my drama and very often my encouragement.
My son, he is most like me. Disorder makes him crazy. He would rather have his teeth pulled than be stuck in a crowd of strangers. He is also my rule follower and always willing hugger. He’s ready to get dirty for a reason and my adventure seeker.
My youngest is my gift of grace, my sweet surprise. She is quirky with a personality full of contradicitons. Tutu-ed pirate or sparkling princess? She is the one who ALWAYS runs with open arms a huge smile. She is the one who says “Mom, you’re back!”, when I have been gone- for 5 minutes or 5 hours or 5 days. She treats me like I am THE best thing in her world.
Moms: take heart. These children, be it 1 or 10 are a gift. Trust me. There are times that this mothering thing feels overwhelming. You are not alone in that. Not even a little.
Join with me to pray for peace this school year. For patient mamas and obedient kids. Pray that all of us, even our littlest can be Jesus for someone today.
Be proactive. I am doing this by making myself be a more organized mom. No more left shoe only mornings.
I want to leave you with this encouragement: you ARE the PERFECT mom for your kiddos. However you have come by them, however many you have- whether it be in your arms or in your heart – you were made for this. Go about this motherhood fiercely, with me.
Oh, and when you buy ice cream, buy 2. You never know when you might need a fresh carton.
Kayla Wells is a member of Bigfork MOPS and former MOPS leader. She is married to Dan and is a mom to three. You can find her at Mommy’s Soapbox.