I’m the mom with just one more thing to do on the to-do list. I’ve got that running tally in my head of items to check off that seem to roll over to the next day and the next and the next and the next until I’m left with a gigantic pile of dirty laundry that’s broaching on becoming the highest point in the house.
From here to there and back to here and then there and up the stairs and down and to the kitchen and out the front door and to the bedrooms and that laundry room with the pile of clothes and all over again back to here and there and then I rinse and scrub and repeat and do it again.
So often I live out of breath.
Motherhood is so full of living out of breath.
We look at magazines, books, blogs, and pinterest boards full of serene moments and yet, oftentimes, the only serenity we get is the 4.5 minutes where we race to shower while the cry of mo–o–oom is heard outside the door. Savor those seconds. For real. It’s okay to condition your hair twice when you really need a break.
I’ll look at my home and all the things I could, should, should have, and could have been doing all scream at me in the brief moments where I think I want to pause. I’ll mull over slowing down and then the mom cry is heard again and the racing starts up.
It’s tiring. Exhausting.
And yet, somehow, sometimes it is beautiful.
It’s beautiful when you strip away the layers of exhaustion and fatigue and out of breath moments and look at the amazing power of what one is doing. That would be what you and I and mothers have been doing since time began.
Did you hear that?
We give of ourselves for our children. And so often that leaves us in that out of breath posture place for years.
But, it won’t last.
There will come a day when we are sitting in our homes – our homes with the throw pillows exactly where they are meant to go, with a table with no crumbs underneath and no marker stains on the top, with walls absent of handprints, bathtubs without the piles of toys, laundry rooms without the missing Captain America socks, cars without carseats, cabinets without fruitsnacks, bedrooms lacking toys to trip on, and we will miss today.
You and I will look back on these out of breath motherhood days and we will miss them.
Sure, we probably won’t miss the exhaustion or wishing for the freedom to roll over and just get five more minutes of sleep. Nor the time with a puking two year old who has absolutely no concept of aim except for your shirt. Or when there is mass chaos and all the kids need you at once and you’re late and you’ve lost your keys and no one can find their shoes and your phone is ringing. That stuff? Well, that’s just normal frustrating motherhood stuff.
We’ll miss the little things, the little moments, that are woven into the normal.
Those rooms with the legos that you step on will be so quiet. There won’t be little ones racing into the kitchen wanting just one more cookie or snack or asking and asking and asking what’s for dinner? There won’t be towels left on the bathroom floor or socks under the bed. No milk spilled in plastic Ikea tumblers. Little things.
Those out of breath things will probably become the beautiful nostalgic moments we remember.
It doesn’t make the out of breath times any easier. It doesn’t add hours of sleep. But it does serve as a reminder, a deep breath in a world of shallow racing breathing, that what you’re doing, what I’m doing, right now, today, in your home or at work or in your car or where ever you are is an incredibly beautiful, brave, noble, and amazing thing.
You may not see it.
I miss it so often.
I see my mistakes – where I was too short, too impatient, too worried, too comparing (oh my is this a trouble one for me) – and forget to give myself grace. I look at the out of breath posture and I think if only I had this or could do that then I might not live out of breath.
Truth? Until the day when our homes are quiet we’re probably going to live rather out of breath.
So rest when you can. Take care of you in the midst of mothering.
And celebrate the astonishing beautiful normal things that you do now.
The kisses. Hugs. Smiley faces drawn. Sandwiches cut just right. Soup made. Carseats buckled. Covers tucked. Prayers whispered. Juice pouches where it takes only one try to get the straw in. Books read at night. Rocking babies. Texting teenagers. Stirring sauces. Wiping tables. Picking up legos. Driving here and there. Telling I love you’s. All of those things. Those life matters even in the out of breath moment things.
You are doing just fine.
And if you need a break – take a shower and enjoy your 4.5 minutes of semi silence.
After all — little things matter.
breathe, momma, breathe.