It begins with morning sickness…
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then comes the third trimester…
then the sleepless nights…
then the toddler years…
then the sibling squabbles…
then the friendship struggles…
then the teenage questions…
then the letting go.
If we allow ourselves, we can look at each stage of motherhood and see struggle…difficulty…frustration. As we walk through our parenting journey, we can find ourselves focused on the hard – the loss of sleep…the loss of our temper…the loss of our figure. We can become overwhelmed with the difficult – the schedule juggling…the financial sacrifice…the strain on our marriage…and before we know it, we find ourselves depleted and not really enjoying motherhood at all.
When You’re Just Not Enjoying Being a Mom
The other day, I crossed paths with a seasoned empty nest mama who was congratulating me on our newest addition. She began reminiscing about her days at home with little ones, and she spoke these words, “I loved being a mom…I loved every.single.minute of it.”, and as she said this to me, she was smiling the biggest, most convincing smile you’ve ever seen.
As I stood there beside my minivan full of screaming kids (wearing my workout clothes – with no real plans to actually exercise that day – and remembering my hair haphazardly thrown up on top of my head), my first reaction was to look her dead in the eye, and say, “You have got to be kidding me! Loved every.single.minute.of it?! Do you know what kind of morning I’ve had? Listen lady, you’re out of your mind! There is nothing to love about exploding diapers, spilled milk, screaming toddlers, and burnt grilled cheese sandwiches.” but I didn’t react that way.
I smiled sweetly, finished out our conversation, and then made my way back in to the driver’s seat of my minivan – yes, the minivan full of screaming kids.
As I drove home, I thought about this mama. You see, I have had this same conversation 1,000 times with 1,000 different empty-nest mamas, and they all say the same kinds of things: “Enjoy these moments! They go by so fast!” “The days are long, but the years are short.” “Your chores will always be there, but your little ones will not.” and “I loved being a mom…I loved every.single.minute.of it.”
There are days when these words are difficult to hear.
When the stomach virus rips through the house, I have to say that I’m not enjoying every.single.moment. When my kids won’t STOP TOUCHING EACH OTHER, I have to say that I’m not enjoying every.single.moment. When dinner is peanut butter sandwiches again, I have to say that I’m not enjoying every.single.moment. When I’m sitting in a milk-stained shirt trying to nurse a baby…while a toddler is literally sitting on my head…and a pre-schooler is screaming at me from his post on the potty…I struggle to enjoy the moment.
Do you know what I mean?
You see, this whole motherhood thing is totally and completely messy. At every stage, there are really hard things that could easily leave us feeling defeated and depleted, but friends, these empty nest mamas know what they’re talking about…they’re right.
The moments really do fly.
The years really are short.
Our little ones are not always going to be so little.
Did these mamas really enjoy every.single.moment of being a mom to little ones? I can pretty much guarantee that it wasn’t always fun for them – but as they stand there with an empty nest, they’re not remembering the dirty diapers…and the stomach viruses…and the sibling squabbles…and the burnt dinners. They’re thinking of their children…and remembering the sweet moments that made all of the difficult pieces worth every.single.moment.