Hey Momma, yeah, you with your hands full of blessings. First off, there are women who envy full hands over empty ones. Say a prayer for them because they carry their own sense of fatigue; answering the never-ending questions of why they don’t have children to the ceaseless prayers for this to be the time they finally see two lines or a heart beating on the ultrasound. I know you know this, but sometimes a reminder is nice, especially when we’re knee deep in the thick of babies, toddlers, teens, and in-betweens. I thought we could visit for a minute–because that’s all the time we’ve got most likely. I don’t want to preach at you, tell you how to run your home, or manage your children. Girl, I’ve got those voices in my head telling me all those things and more 24/7 and I bet you do too.
These days may be long but the years are definitely short. I know these days can stretch a momma with hands full pretty thin physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Been there, done that, still doing it and will be for a while. I also know its been twenty years since I welcomed my first baby and I can still feel the first moment I held her and smell that precious newborn smell. The years are short for sure.
I want to encourage you momma, and in the process encourage myself. We’re doing a fine job. Fine because most days, blended together, average out to fine. Some days are great–whether we feel like it or not. And some days are not so great–we definitely feel those days. Sure we may be tired–exhausted might be more like it! We may live in yoga pants and a bun on top of our head, but we are a rock star to our little ones. There will most likely come a time when we won’t be. Hopefully, that pendulum swings back into a place of loving respect and appreciation.
Just a few practical reminders. When our children ask us to read the book one more time–let’s do it, that dirty laundry will still be there in fifteen minutes…or fifteen years. And on those days when we are just done and ready to tap out, let’s ask them to ‘read’ it to us so we can rest our eyes for a quick second.
When they want us to push them higher on the swing–let’s do it, that Facebook update will be there fifteen minutes from now. Well, probably not, but girl, we didn’t miss anything. And when we are just done to the absolute degree of done, let’s ask them to push us, they’ll think it’s funny and we’ll get to sit down for a minute.
When they ask us to lay down with them at night–let’s do it, sooner rather than later they will be sleeping in their own bed–dorm room–apartment–home. There will be a day when they won’t be just down the hall, we’ll miss that.
And please, do not even think I’m one of those mommas who is getting ready to tell you “It gets easier.” That’s a load of bull! It gets to be a different kind of hard.
There will come a time when we will be able to sleep because our children can get their own breakfast, brush their own teeth, and wipe themselves. Chances are, we’ll need that extra sleep in the morning because we stayed up late the night before to make sure our now older children, made it home safely. Or because teens have this innate sense of wanting to delve deep into life’s meaning right around the 11pm mark when all the caffeine in the world will barely keep us alert. Or they asked if we wanted to watch a movie and even though we really didn’t, we said, “Yes! I would love to!” And we even made the popcorn.
Or maybe we’re thankful for those extra minutes and maybe even an hour because face to the ground prayers in the middle of the night can wear a momma out. See, that different kind of hard is just as exhausting; maybe not physically, but the good Lord knows spiritually we feel like we’re in a war. We are by the way.
As our children grow taller the stakes in life grow bigger. And they need us just as much, if not more than when they were little. Only now they don’t run to our lap, reach for our hand, or ask to sleep in our bed.
We no longer have to worry about them consuming too much sugar, now it’s alcohol and drugs; even unintentional drugs someone may slip into their drink. And that little kid on the playground who once told our kid, “I don’t want to play with you” may now be the mastermind behind a social media bullying attack. And the simple childhood question of “Where is God?” may now be the spiritual life and death question of “Is there a God?”
One phase of motherhood is not any harder than another phase. They are all hard. They each contain their own challenges and consequences. And as much as I love three-year-olds and am confused by thirteen-year-olds, each phase of motherhood also holds its own sense of beauty and wonder.
Basically, this letter is to remind us one season is not better than another and wishing to pass quickly through one season to get to the other is a waste. The season will last as long as it is supposed to and unless we’re some Old Testament prophet whose prayer for time to stop and start is answered, those prayers are useless. (Read Joshua 10) Let’s pray for something more realistic. Let’s pray for a sense of gratitude for our motherhood, even on and especially in the hard, long, and weary days.
Instead of yearning to get quickly through a season, let’s look for the things we can be grateful for in it. You know that whole, the days are long? Those long days may hold the highest count on our gratitude list if we look close enough. And maybe not. I don’t need to tell you there are some days–younger and older kids alike–where bedtime cannot come fast enough. That’s ok, just don’t get stuck in those days.
These are the thoughts that have been rolling around my heart and mind lately. How quickly the “never-ending day” really does go. And how too often I struggled to get through those long days and ended up missing some of the grace. I rushed right through those days or they turbulently carried me through in a flurry of this, that and the other. I can’t get those days back. And really, I don’t want to. I want to use them as a reminder to ‘participate don’t anticipate’ as one of my children has reminded me lately. Meaning, I want to live today to the best of my ability with love.
Love you mommas. Keep on keepin’ on because I’m cheering for you and I know the other mommas here in varying ages and stages of motherhood are cheering for you too.