Picture this: You’ve taken my previous blog advice. You’ve decided to search for the beauty in those slimy, egg-soaked breakfast plates. You’ve found peace within those piles of laundry. You have deemed your living room “a happy mess,” rather than an eyesore. You sigh contentedly, sip your cup of coffee and then….without warning…your child decides to pile drive you in the gut! “No pain,” you whisper to yourself. “No pain.”
Remember all of those baby showers where they had cute little stationary for guests to fill out words of wisdom. Why is it that nobody warned us about the inevitable mom injuries to come? Who would’ve thought that a precious newborn baby had the capability to head-butt you like a Jean-Claude Van Damme? . It is difficult to read your child’s favorite book and commit to the funny voices and engaging melodramatics when a tiny elbow is twisting into your side. What is he supposed to do if he can’t see a book that is two inches in front of him? Motherhood hurts.
It is certainly hard to find the joy in motherhood when it is accompanied by pain. I bet you all have given a million or so lectures to your children about picking up after themselves, but there are those times when they look at you like you are the reason that tiny Lego piece was on the floor, and it’s your fault that they are howling in agony. There was one day when I had just taken some dishes out of the kid’s playroom. I maneuvered through the sea of toys (barefoot….when will I learn?) I made it through, celebrating like I had made it through a maze of lasers, and then “OWWWWW WOOWW!!!!” A string of expletives raced through my mind while my mouth made that struggling vacuum noise through my teeth. After conquering the obstacle course of clutter, I had stepped on a plastic hanger on my bedroom floor. I had a role reversal with my children. My focus was on them, like they were the ones that put the coat hanger there. Isn’t it ironic? Don’t you think?
It is little moments like these that have the tendency to change everything. That particular day was a wonderful day. Everyone was happy, I mommed like a boss, I was even fortunate to get a nap, and then all of a sudden, the floodgates opened. I was in tears and nothing could keep it from getting worse. Now, everything my children did was a connection to that pain. Their little song they sang annoyed me, the way they chose to run down the hall annoyed me. Even when my husband asked, “You okay?” annoyed me. Sure he was showing concern, but the tone was just right that made my mind jump to the conclusion that there was nothing sincere about it. More floodgates. “I can’t believe this! I do everything around here! How hard is it to pick up your toys. Just a little help for ONCE IN YOUR LIFE!”
Thankfully, all of this was in my head. I didn’t lash out when I desperately wanted to. It is so funny how something so small had the potential to cause such a cataclysmic reaction. And really?! I was about to say “For once in your life” to a 4-year old and a 6-year old. Pretty preposterous if you think about it. I understand if it is hard to find the joy in the mess. It can be a battle teaching the kids how to properly clean up after themselves. Asking my children to clean up, you’d think I just asked them to run laps.
Precious mamas, it is SO important for you to know that everything you do to raise your children will take it’s toll. In this case, it was when I least expected it. This job is physically and mentally exhausting, no matter how mundane it may seem. It is through my relationship with God that I have learned to guard my heart on a daily basis. Whatever over-reactions our little human brain conjure up, we must always choose hesitation. If it weren’t for God, who knows how many times I could have made a situation much worse. I believe that moms are the enemy’s favorite target. It is so easy to attack us, because we are designed to care too much. We are vulnerable and determined. When things aren’t perfect, these two characteristics get twisted, and they become our weaknesses rather than the strong characteristics God has given us.
What matters is what comes after the mom flood calms. Be real with your children. By asking forgiveness from our children, we teach them that it is okay if our emotions get the best of us. We strive to love unconditionally, just as our Lord loves us. Your children are not your enemy. Numerous shots to your appendix aside, they love you, and they will recognize your sacrifices eventually.
“Indeed we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.” James 3:2 (NLT)
“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” 3 John 1:4 (KJV)