To you, the weary mother.
You, the mother, sitting on the side of your screen reading my words that I typed to you on a very, very, very cold night in Minnesota. It’s the type of cold that sucks the breath right out of you as you race between the vehicle and your warm home. I know that because I was just out there and am still shivering from the subzero temperatures.
I’m writing right now to you.
You, the mother, with spit up stains on your shirt and toddlers yelling for you in the background and the noodles for macaroni overcooked and waiting for the pack of cheese to spread over them. You, the mother, with the newborn who has not had more than three hours of sleep a night with the baby that cries and cries and cries and doesn’t like any of the 102 tricks found in the parenting article on newborns that you cut out before she was born. You, the mother, in whatever stage of being a mother you might find yourself in and yet there is this weariness that has settled in your heart like the cold outside my window.
I want to talk with you about your heart. Your dreams, your hopes, your worries when you put your head on your pillow at night wondering if all that you did today made a difference. You need to feel that bit of hope and energy and encouragement for today.
Maybe you have a to-do list that is full, or done, or hasn’t even been written because you don’t like to write them. Maybe your kids are grown. Maybe you work out of the home or in the home or do a mixture of both. Maybe you wish you had a bigger house or that you had less stuff or that you could find a way to manage it all. Maybe you have one kid or a dozen. Maybe you live where it is warm and not sub zero like me. Maybe you only eat organic. Maybe McDonalds is your weekly treat. Maybe, maybe, maybe.
All of those maybes don’t really matter. What matters is you, you and what you do when you give of your heart to those children in your lives. After all, that is a great deal of motherhood – it’s that giving and letting go and praying and wondering and pride and hope and not getting weary – all wrapped up in a day. And then it’s this mix of chex cereal dumped out and crushed on the floor and diaper changes and car pool runs and homework stacks and dishes that were left behind the couch and you hoping that this is the day that you can sneak the shower in when the baby naps.
You see, no matter our differences in motherhood and what we do, you are unique and beautiful for your family. It’s easy to start comparing and thinking that you should do things this way or that way or no way at all. But all that comparing does is chip away at the beautiful things that you do everyday.
Don’t tell me those things don’t matter.
Maybe you’ve forgotten how beautiful it is for your kids to spend an afternoon with you sitting by them coloring a picture with them. Or how great it was when they walk into the kitchen and there is a tray of chocolate chip cookies waiting – and yes premade store bought ones count – it’s not about perfection it’s simply the little things. Or how they love the kiss on their cheek goodnight as the lights are turned off. Or how sweet those minutes are spent on the couch reading a book for the tenth time or the first time that day. Or that you were smiling and saying I’m glad to see you when you picked them up from class.
Those little moments are beautiful moments in your children’s lives. Those are moments that you are blessed to give to them. And yes, yes, you’ll mess up. I mess up way too often. But – you and I – we don’t need to sit in the muck of the hard day or the throw in the towel day or the day that feels boring and never ending you and I can persevere. Yes, persevere. Motherhood is a great deal of perseverance and belief that today, this day that you are blessed to have, doesn’t have to be dependent on the days in the past.
You can do today. I believe in you.
Sometimes you just need a reminder of all you do.
You are amazing. Stop looking at the list with the incomplete checkmarks. Start looking at the check marks marking things off. Stop seeing where you think you fail and start seeing where you succeed.
You can learn from yesterday.
I do. I go to bed everyday hoping that I can be better the next. I lament the time where I was on the computer too much or where I was too short tempered or where I missed the moments with my children because I was too busy with what seemed to be urgent at the time. That, my friend, is the nature of life. You don’t have it perfect. I don’t have it perfect. Life and motherhood is a beautiful journey of learning and balancing and grace. And there is no perfect example of the perfect mother. Instead it is you and I trying again and again and again. It is of us whispering I am sorry when there is a mistake and tucking them in and saying I love you no matter what. It is you waking up in the morning telling yourself that today is a going to be a good day and trying.
You can do this today.
Brush off all the stuff holding you back – that stuff that makes your heart wonder about the value of what you really do. The I can’t do its, the I’m failing words, the weary sighs, the I don’t measure ups, and all of that stuff. Your kids don’t really care about those words, remember. They just want you. Down on your knee or tiptoeing up looking them in the eyes and telling to them sweet words of I love you and I am proud of you and I am blessed to be your mother.
You are blessed. This day is within your grasp.
You can do it.
And I will do it with you.
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