I always thought I knew everything there was about parenting, but then I had kids. “When WE have kids, they will NEVER (you fill in the blank).” Famous last words, right? Guilty. Over and over again. What I thought I knew about parenting, I was wrong. What I said I would never do in parenting, I’ve done. And that perfect mother I thought I would be? I’m not.
Motherhood is messy. Can I get an amen?! It’s exhausting and challenging every single day. Until you have little ones of your own, it’s impossible to understand. It’s mentally, physically, and emotionally draining. At the end of the day, all I want is a bubble bath, a glass of wine, some personal space, and a full night’s rest. But motherhood isn’t an eight to five job - it’s 24/7/365.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the little things and the monotony of the day to day chores - dishes to do, laundry to wash, to fold, and to put away (IF I’m lucky), mouths to feed, crumbs to sweep, diapers to change, little bottoms to wipe, etc, etc, etc. The beat goes on and on (and on and on). If I miss a day of housework, we may as well burn the house down because there is no recovering. Getting caught up is like finding a unicorn and a million dollars in there same day - it just doesn’t happen.
I’ll be honest, it’s overwhelming. It stresses me out. I feel like everyone’s universe revolves around ME because, well, if I don’t do these tedious little daily tasks...who will? I’m the mom, and it’s my job, right? Many days there are tears - and not just from the kids.
More often than not, I spend my day rushing around - trying to accomplish something, anything, just so it looks like I had a productive day. I completely exhaust myself with the list of “to-dos” and “really-SHOULD-dos.” When my loving and gracious hubby comes home to a mess - piles of clean laundry to sort and kid’s craft projects spread all over the table, I feel like I failed him. And everyone else. The house isn’t clean and orderly like I want it to be, and I still have endless housework to do. I was home all day - and what do I have to show? Some days, nada.
Here’s the thing I’ve come to realize...ready?? I. Me. I. I am the one setting these unearthly goals for myself every day. Not him. I’m the one beating myself up, and I’m only failing MYSELF. It doesn’t bother him if there are dishes on the counter or toys covering the living room floor. He doesn’t care if there are crumbs under the table or garbage to take out. That doesn’t mean I should neglect all of my responsibilities and lay on the couch all day eating potato chips (...although that sounds kind of nice). However, I need to remind myself that our children are my main priority right now, not keeping a spotless house.
I can’t beat myself up over the details when my babies are all so little. After all, they are only young once and for such a short period of time. They need me, their mother, present. Here. At the end of the day, I want happy kids more than I want a clean house.
I may not be a perfect mother, but I’m who God created me to be, flaws and all. Even when I feel like I MUST be messing things up or failing someone, I’m part of His great plan, and He has a purpose for my life. I’m exactly who He knew my kids would need for a mother, and He knew I would need them too. Motherhood may be messy, but it’s also extremely rewarding. It’s a blessing to be their mama, and I cherish these sweet moments I have with each of my babies - even through the mess. After all, good moms have sticky floors, dirty ovens, and happy kids. Right?!