I used to think I was afraid of stuff.
That was until bedtime came around in life. And with bedtime came kids that I love dearly who all of a sudden had the most stubborn will ever. Which left me standing outside of bedroom doors exasperated and frustrated and wondering why in the world they won’t go to bed? It didn’t seem to matter – the routines, the expectations, the consequences. None of it.
I tell you, and I’m probably not the only one, but man oh man, that gets me so frustrated.
I have to sometimes walk out of the room, walk into my room and just count.
Because motherhood is not for wimps.
They don’t tell us about how frustrating it can be to say do your homework ten times a night. Or go to bed a dozen. Or to find them still on the tablet after lights out. And I know, someone will probably tell me I need better consequences, but the truth is that there are nights where no matter what the results are my kids have these strong wills. Which pushes me to those moments where I just want it to be eleven o’clock and they are all asleep.
I love them.
Just like you love your kids.
But they can drive us crazy. They can push us to our limits and make us wonder why in the world we’re ready to pull our hair out because we can’t get them to pick out a shirt for school. Or that they lost the homework. Or that we’re racing out the door and the carefully orchestrated and planned school morning fell apart because one child lost a shoe which should have been in the bin by the door. Again.
And then oftentimes I’ll wonder –
Why in the world is this so hard?
But I’ll forget that I’m not raising little people without wills that can be programmed. Even though I’d love to program in bedtime, because seriously, if only bedtime were always easy I think the road to being happy just might be quite a bit faster.
Do you know why it’s hard?
Because I’m being a mom.
Guiding very independent people into making choices that will hopefully make them assets to this world we live in. And often it means butting heads with them. And putting my foot down and hearing you’re so cranky or I hate you or you’re the worst mom ever. It means being tenacious and oftentimes having to apologize for getting more grumpy then I should.
It’s not for wimps.
Don’t ever go to bed thinking you didn’t accomplish anything.
Or be ridiculously hard on yourself for messing up and getting exasperated that the bathroom that was clean now looks like an explosion. Okay, maybe that was just for me, but holy moly, it was like a bomb in there.
Just don’t be so hard on yourself.
Because motherhood, while filled with wonderful, is filled with unbelievably trying and challenging moments with those kids we love. It just is. I don’t really care that someone else has a perfect routine or that there’s a great parenting book out there – because – truth – what works for one probably won’t work for another. Our kids aren’t clones that can be manipulated. Rather they need to be loved.
And they need moms that remember to love themselves. And give themselves grace.
And a break.
And not just a break like time off, but a break for the nights when we just have had it and we decide that it’s just popcorn for dinner and we’re not doing the homework for kindergarten and we just want to go in our room and watch Netflix. Because sometimes that just happens.
It’s not all the time.
I think that’s what we need to see. We need to remember.
We are raising them. A new generation.
Giving them the courage to run. To explore. To be brave.
We need to see that those days and nights that drive us crazy are just blips and dots in a fabric and a landscape of motherhood days where we are unbelievably awesome. And where we just gave and gave and gave.
Remember how I started this article?
Talking about how motherhood is not for wimps?
Well, I want you to remember that.
I want you to really remember that. Especially on those days when you feel like you’re failing. Or you’re just the worst mom ever. Or when you have no clue what to do. Or when the kids are mad at you. Or when you’re standing in a laundry room with so much laundry that you want to cry. Or when you get no sleep. Or when you’re driving them to school. Or waiting for a bus. Or waving goodbye as they drive away. Or when you make lunches day after day. Or when you work. Or when you hope. Or when you cry.
That is strength.
Do you see that?
Do you really see that? Do you see the strength that it takes to do this day after day after day? Because wimpy people give up. And you and I – we keep going.
We keep going.
You keep going.
My sweet friend.
That is unbelievably brave.
So many tears tonight.
Thank you, as always, for encouraging me just when I need it.
Just in time, going through going to bed issues with 4 year old. Sometimes wonder how we do it night after night, but we do b/c as you say we are no wimps. Thanks for sharing.
I needed to hear this after having a rough afternoon. Thank you 😊
It is so wonderful to know I’m not the only one struggling to raise the next generation. The strong wills of my children astound me time after time, yet I know those strong wills will serve them well in life. Thank you for putting this experience called motherhood into words. Praying that someday we will all sit back and be able to marvel at the amazing adults we had a hand in creating!
Rachel you’re the best. And not a wimp at all. You’re so right about the break, too – not the getting-away break but the popcorn-for-dinner break or, over here, it was ordering pizza and eating it on the couch last night, after using dinner-making time to play outside. Routines and “best” decisions are important but so is giving myself and them a break from it for the evening. It breathes energy back into all of us, kids and me alike. The only bad part is the bug bites I’m scratching today that I got while playing in the yard!