“Children reinvent your world for you.”
– Susan Sarandon
This might sound silly, but I had no idea how hard it is to be a mother until I became one. No one could have prepared me beforehand on how motherhood can:
Stretch You: Yeah, I knew about the pregnancy stretch marks, but what I’m talking about is how the little people in my house make me learn to stretch my patience, energy and love. They test me in these areas daily.
Or how they stretch me beyond my comfort zone to do something I ordinarily would not do, like going down waterslides (they terrify me) with my enthusiastic daughter who can swim better than I do.
Bring Out the Worst In You: I never thought I had an anger problem until I had children! They can take me to the brink of losing my mind from the incessant “Why?”s, requests and demands they place upon me every day. They argue over the silliest things, get into things they shouldn’t and make constant messes. I sometimes react in ways I know I shouldn’t. They make me realize how selfish I am.
But because they can bring out the worst in me, they inspire me to change and work on improving those not-so-good areas of my life.
Make You Appreciate the Little Luxuries of Life: Like taking a daily shower, remembering to brush my teeth, getting to drink out of my own glass without having to share, getting uninterrupted sleep, picking what I want to listen to in the car, going on a date with my husband, and talking on the phone without being interrupted.
Bless You in Unexpected Ways: I always wanted to have babies to love. I imagined that it would be so blissful and romantic. There are moments like that, when my cup runs over from the hugs, kisses and “I love you”s, but most of the time it’s just plain hard being a Mommy.
But when I look back over the past seven and a half years, some of the moments I cherish most were difficult as I went through them: like nursing my babies in the middle of the night, cleaning an entire container of yogurt out of Lila’s hair and high chair when she was 18 months old, and discovering William’s “artwork” all over of our furniture and walls when he was two.
The beautiful mess of my everyday Mommy life blesses me when I stop to cherish it, instead of wishing it were different. Someday I’ll have a clean house (well, maybe), and someday my car won’t be filled with crumbs, fruit strip wrappers, water bottles and shoes. Someday I’ll get to listen to my own music while driving instead of Frozen songs over and over.
But someday will come too soon and I know I’ll miss these years. It seems like just yesterday that I was the child.
The picture above hangs in my laundry room. It reminds me of how the messes are many, but the years are short. So in the here and now, I’m trying to see the blessings in the chaos. I’m trying to be present and joyful with my children. I’m trying to love motherhood for what it is—messes, stresses and all!
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My Blog: http://andreafortenberry.com