So lately I seem to be reading a lot of blogs written by moms and dads alike, about the daily struggles of parenthood. I wish I was a better writer but a lot of things they said were exactly how I felt. I've struggled sharing my thoughts because I'm afraid people will look down on me, judge me, or even question why I'm a mother. In fact, I've even had someone tell me that maybe I shouldn't be a Mom. Imagine the nerve. I am pretty open about sharing a lot of my feelings, the good and the bad. It seems like people don't always want to read the bad. Like they just want to see those great family pictures and family vacations, etc. But what about the day to day things? I like to see people post a little of everything: their meals, vacations, kids going to school, kids games, rough days, tired days...it means they're human like me. I think some people like to just display their good side to the world. And keep the hard or ugly things hidden. Some things truly are tmi (too much information) or private, I get that. But for a mom, a stay-at-home Mom...it kind of helps to know others are roughing it too. That some days they can't wait for their kids to go to bed, that they are struggling to discipline their child, that their child had a major meltdown in the store...it's normal. Refreshingly so.
Before I was a Mom I probably would have scanned over those posts. But now...I DEVOUR them. I breathe them in. It gives me a sigh of relief. Thank you to those moms for sharing your hard times too. I can't thank you enough. On the days when I don't know how to explain my feelings, you say it just right for me. You get it. You understand. I admire moms and dads whether they work or not, whether they have one kid or ten, or whether their house is clean or not. I have learned to keep an open mind and to really try hard not to judge. I don't know their situation. I will be kind. I am not perfect, but that is my goal. So when I see the others people in the grocery store wince at me when my kid is whining and I'm ignoring them...you get it. Right? Because sometimes, you are so tired and just need to get in and out of the store. You just need a few things. And please, heaven forbid, your children will behave so you can get out. But no, sometimes they do freak out and sometimes you do have all three kids and one of them is handicapped so you are trying to manage them in one cart or maybe a double stroller while your toddler is running off. And you get those looks and winces. Sometimes I want to snap at those people, but I'm learning they either forgot what it's like or they don't know what it's like.
Every once in awhile someone very nice, who understands, will lend a hand or give a smile. That is ENORMOUS in my world. Thank you! To the moms out there in the stores with screaming kids, possibly without shoes...I get it. I do not judge. I smile and wish I could help, but my own hands and legs are already taken up. When I see that mom in church looking exhausted and annoyed with her kids, I get it. When I see the mom looking put together and serene and her kids well behaved I think, good for you. You are lucky. Maybe she is one of those that really is just that good at her job, or maybe her kids really are just that good. Who knows. I try not to envy her, but I do relate more to the moms not so put together. I relate to the moms with pony tails, tired faces and excitable kids. I especially relate to the moms I see with handicapped children. It is another level of multi tasking and backbreaking work, literally, if you have to carry them.
I used to have high expectations of myself as a mother. That I would stay in shape, have a nice home, well behaved and smart kids and a happy life. Problems? Nah, no problems. I don't even think I wanted that many children because I knew, even then, it must be a lot of work. So the first kid came and what, it was a boy and he ended up with a diagnosis and early intervention and multiple appointments. What? This already wasn't cracked up to what I was hoping for. Then a beautiful, smart and typically developing girl. Then the gamble, a third kid. A beautiful, big and happy baby boy. He ended up needing a helmet and therapy too, and being a bit behind developmentally, but he was my sunshine. My kids are still little; 5, almost 3 and 9 months. I am in the thick of it. My 5 year old acts like a baby to a 3 year old, depending on the skill. My almost 3 year old threw us for a loop when she went through the terrible two's. This I have understood. They will get older, they will progress, they will be able to do more for themself (except my oldest in some ways), but there will always be problems. Maybe money problems, maybe a job loss...who knows.
We have been through many shocks and challenges in our 5 years of being parents. I have learned it is very hard, exhausting work. I know I am in the thick of it. So it is hard for me to see the finish line, or easier times. I am often tired, even irritable and overwhelmed. I am a perfectionist in some things and others not so much. I have my weaknesses and my strengths. I share my feelings in the hopes I can help others. When I say it is hard, it doesn't mean I don't love being a Mom. Because there are those moments that almost break your heart. When your toddler hugs you and says "I love you Mommy" and your baby goos and smiles at you and your handicapped son hugs you and his eyes say he loves you even as he is pulling your hair so hard for the millionth time...amidst the same day to day routine, the piles of noisy toys, the same shows for the hundredth time...I manage to find something great each day, sometimes a few things. And even if I only get a little bit of alone time, I pray it is enough, because I have to clean, then sleep soon to start a whole new day again. Do I dread it? Oh yes, I do. A lot. And I get discouraged at the messes and the things I'm trying to work with my kids on and they don't seem to be getting it. So much to worry about and so little time.
But this I know- my three children are a beautiful, amazing gift from God. He has entrusted them to me. I will never be this loved or needed in my life. This touched. Sometimes it is too much to take, but I take a deep breath and embrace it. Instead of being on my phone I try to look at my kids in the eye to let them know I am present. I love them. So much. I never knew I could feel so much at once. It's insane. I never knew how hard or fun it could be. I never knew that someone saying 'enjoy every moment' would make me want to pull their hair. But I am so grateful that I get to stay at home with them, to see all those milestones and special moments. To take pictures and play with them. To teach them. I try to take the good over the bad and appreciate what I have. But I'm not perfect. I'm still trying. To the mom reading this also trying to take a deep breath and forge on, I get it. Four hours to bedtime. You can do it. I can do it. Don't be so hard on yourself. Sometimes you just have to give what you can and ask God to do the rest.