I saw you there in the cereal aisle at Target. Wearing one baby, feeding the other two hastily opened goldfish to keep them happy for just a few more minutes. Your hasty top-knot had been rearranged by chubby baby fingers and your face was red from the cross-fit-esque workout that is shopping with three kiddos.
Your smile at me was 97% “I’m so sorry my child has just found their lungs” and 3% “I really am enjoying all of this.” And can I just say? I get it. These are the wild days. The- every- errand- a -marathon- days.
Mothering is a heavy load. Like carrying-a-ten-month-old-in-a-carseat-heavy. You will not find one ounce of disapproval in my face. Not one single bit of “are you sure you want to….” Because I remember how my back used to ache and I couldn’t tell if it was from hours of baby wearing or the sheer weight of the responsibility of being ON all the time. And I know that in all of your gratefulness, it can feel like a bit much.
Maybe you don’t need another person to say that it will get better. Maybe you don’t need another voice telling you to hang in there. Maybe you just need to hear that you aren’t crazy.
You are not crazy.
Regardless of the moments of breakneck pace to get everyone out the door–within the time crunch, you know– before #3 needs to eat again and before #1 needs to go number two and #2 needs a snack. You may feel like you’re losing your grip on life as an adult– and the presence of mind to wear clothes that qualify as clothes again– but hang on.
Just hang on in that moment.
Watch their eyelashes flutter and listen to them laugh at big sisters’ joke that they don’t really get. Watch the way the littlest coos every time his “too-close-together” sibling is nearby.
You don’t understand why the last few years have revealed what an introvert you truly are– and why you get irritated that these little people don’t know your Myers-Briggs results, and don’t seem to care that you’re in the bathroom when they REALLY need you.
You are at the point in mothering that no amount of sleep is enough, and certainly not the half-nights you seem to be getting. They will sleep soon and wonder of wonders– at the same time. And you will have energy for things like conversation and creativity again. Even if you can only find ten minutes to your self today?
Maybe for you instead of for laundry. Do something to feel human. Give your over-worked and completely deserving body the luxury of a bath instead of a 3.5 minute shower and more dry shampoo.
Stop expecting your gratefulness for your life to always overshadow the hard. It isn’t one or the other. Sometimes they just exist together, side by side. That’s why we need Jesus. We need Him to be present in our mothering.
It may feel very much that you are running a petting zoo with nothing but strong-willed cats, but really?
You’re being their very first foundation for love and grace and giggles.
You’re not shorting them on love or alone time–
You’ve given them one of the greatest gifts, ever.
From the product of a big, crazy family– trust me they will be thanking you for years.
And also? I can tell you are beautiful and loving and kind. And as much as I enjoyed my solo Target trip when I saw you, trust me. I have my own beautiful circus at home.
This can often be hard, but we keep showing up, BEING PRESENT, offering love and forgiveness– to even ourselves.
For more posts with the prompt, PRESENT, check out the link up here.