I’m not sure why I thought that one day I’d figure this motherhood thing out and it would magically become easy. You know what I mean – where there aren’t the battles to fight day in and day out and day in and day out.
Battles that honestly, how did they become battles?
Like putting shoes on. For crying out loud – it’s shoes. Or when the socks don’t feel right and we go through all the socks when we are already late. Or when there is nothing to put in the lunch boxes and no time to go to the store and and no plastic bags to put anything in. Or where the coat that came home from school is the next morning. Or not riding on the side of cart while I’m in a hurry at Target – I just can’t steer, you know.
And big battles too. Like talking back and preteens thinking that rules are annoying. I know, everyone has solutions, but man oh man, in the middle of it is not easy. Or money issues and parenting issues and heart issues. Man, those deep heart issues hurt my heart so much. Sometimes I just want that to get easy and for us to fast forward to the next stage.
Somehow I think I thought if I can just get through this it will be easy and I will be the queen of the parenting world and I’ll have time for Netflix, wine and a break at night.
It’s like I took the mythical easy parenting myth pill that is freely handed out in parenting books, parenting classes and sometimes the utopian Target ad. It’s for sure on many Pinterest boards unless you’ve labeled it CRAZY INSANE HACKS FOR MOTHERHOOD.
So back to this easy idea.
Tonight, I found myself driving my van down the interstate with my fourteen year old daughter inside and my six year old strapped in the back (safely, I’d like to add and look at them both from this past weekend at my brother’s wedding. Sigh.). It could seem normal, but alas, my life is so far from normal that sometimes I step back, chuckle, sigh, look at it, think that it could be on reality television and then keep on moving imagining the crew of TLC following my insane world. You see, I was driving her to my parents house where she lives so she can go to the private high school near their house. Being a single mom makes it almost impossible to be in five locations at the same time so I made the tough decision to drive her back there for the week because the investment in her meant me giving her up for those days.
So she lives away.
Sometimes I get teary about it – like right now, after writing those words – like I’m missing out on those high school years. And sometimes I’m just crazy proud of her and the progress that I’ve made and the brave part of parenting that it takes.
It’s just not easy, you know?
We live in a world of parenting bated breath, in a way. It’s going back to that idea that if we just get through then it will be easy and we can breathe. Like this:
When they sleep through the night it will be easy.
When they are potty trained it will be easy.
When they go to preschool it will be easy.
When they learn the rules better it will be easy.
When they can read on their own it will be easy.
When they can tie their shoes it will be easy.
And on and on and on and on.
It’s so easy to wait and wait and wait and wait and wait for the illusion of easy. And in that waiting we kind of miss out in the beauty of the day.
Motherhood is truly hard hard work and whole bunch of putting our heart on the line knowing that it will be tired, worn, hurt, sad, worried and hoping that all the hard work matters. We don’t talk about the hard work parts sometimes. We talk about the things that seem and big and grand, but not the work. Because, well, work is kind of boring. Who wants to really read the Facebook updates like spent the last fifteen minutes trying to get my six year old to choose a shirt for school or the kitchen looks like a bomb is now cleaned or finally tamed Mount Washmore? Wait. Taming laundry is always Facebook worthy – always give a like there – we must support each other in the battle of laundry.
So back to thinking we’ll figure it out?
Well, maybe we don’t.
Maybe motherhood is a whole bunch of having no idea what we’re doing every single day. Maybe all those days and moments are exactly what motherhood really is all about. Snapshots of a life spent having no clue what we’re supposed to do next but plodding forward optimistic and full of love.
And instead of thinking that someday it will be easier we just decide that discussing who gets the last juice box and saying go to bed eleven times to our twelve year old and being incredibly worn is just part of the story. When the hard and boring and annoying stuff becomes expected we might not be so tired. Because, well, you know what, that’s part of what being a mom really means.
Like tonight again.
I love her. I let her go. I let her thrive.
It’s not easy.
But it’s motherhood.
Same goes for you, sweet mom, waiting for the day where you and I can just put our feet up and breathe.
I want you to breathe right now.
Right in the crazy, hectic and busy days of motherhood and to remember that this is exactly one hundred percent what motherhood really looks like. So I guess you could say after twenty years I’m giving up figuring out what motherhood is really about and chasing easy. Instead, well, instead I’m living, giving and loving and being proud of me right here.
From me to all of you – who I’m proud of too.
Who is now trying to figure out how to get permanent market off of her new ottoman left by her all of a sudden writing words and super proud six year old.
He wins. It never was to be easy, indeed.
That was incredibly brave. All of it. I was a still kid (23) when I first became a mother. I didn’t have a clue about what I was doing except to think my mom had it all together and to want to be like her. I’ve since learned the secret that we never feel like we have it all together. If we thought we did, that would be the first clue that we didn’t.
Please don’t ever think your words fall on deaf ears. I need to hear these things again and again. Being a mother is hard, being a single mother is torture. You are helping so many of us,to see that it is a worthwhile job. Thank you, you are so brave.