Laugh at me all you like. From a very young age I had many visions, dreams, and expectations of what being a Mother would be like. They were all lovely, you know, skipping through daisies holding little hands, reading stories about princess and princes while tiny bottoms sat contently on my lap, dressing up my children in cute little outfits, getting along 100% of the time – I could keep going! In all honesty though, never in my wildest thoughts did I think motherhood would be like this…
I never pictured myself flopped on the lounge, too exhausted to move while dinner leftovers lay strewn not only on the dining table but all over the floor, and the chairs, with a trail from one end of the room to the other. I never pictured myself too afraid to go out in public with my children for fear of others judging me on the way I parent and discipline. The countless times I put myself in a ‘time out’ begging God to give me patience, grace and love. I never thought I would hide in the pantry just so I could eat something without having to share, or that I would feel so rejected by the simple act of my toddler pushing me out of the way when I try to comfort him so he can go to his father instead. I never imagined that it would take me two weeks to wax my legs – and much to my dismay – having to start all over again by the time I finished. Never did I picture myself being ‘that mum’ who, many times over, drags her screaming toddler who refuses to walk, through the supermarket, while whisper yelling at them. Oh, neither did I know that there was such a thing as whisper yelling! I didn’t realize there could be so many hard times in parenthood, but then again, I didn’t realize there could be so many precious times and countless blessings.
More than anything I have learned that the most precious thing we can give to our children is our time. Time to sit and read them that story you just read 12 and a half times in the last day. Time to build a lego house with them and play with it, to run around on mountains of dirt till your boots are so full of mud that you can’t run anymore, and to draw stick men on scraps of paper. Time to give them another kiss on the cheek before bed, time to see who can pull the craziest face, to let them stir the cake batter – even when it’s more messy than fun for you. Time to have one last race before bath time, to sing them their favourite songs, to teach them, and to say ‘I love you’ one last time before bed. Time to tell them they are precious and clever, amazing and loved – just as they are, and yes, time to discipline them. In return, the most precious thing our children give us is there time. The time when they throw their tiny little arms around your neck and lovingly drop a kiss on your face. The time they do their utmost to help you do your jobs, to admire you, question you, hug you, talk to you, learn from you and laugh with you.
I realize now that this season of motherhood will be over before I’m probably ready for it to be. I’m learning that I need to live each day in the moment, and to not worry about what job I have to do next – we all know that there will ALWAYS be another job to do next. I’m learning that even when there are crayons scattered all over the carpet, and I can hardly walk through the lounge room without getting some sort of dreadful lego injury on my feet, that I need to hold these moments close and cherish them. I know that motherhood is forever, but this stage of messy faces and sticky hands, inquisitive minds, wild toddlers, carefree spirits, busy fingers, singing songs, reading stories, and energetic, playful, little people is only for a season. Sometimes it’s hard and trying and I feel so under qualified and uncapeable to be a mother, but like a wise woman once told me, God has given our children to us and He will give us the means to raise them. Yes, sometimes parenthood is hard and trying, but it’s also wonderful, and possibly the greatest blessing you could ever imagine. It’s certainly far harder, and completely unlike anything I ever imagined it to be, but it’s also far better and so much greater than I ever imagined it to be. These days won’t last forever, and right now, I love our wild and crazy lives, often unorganised, full of mess, full of chaos, full of life and exploding with love.