The truth? About motherhood? You can’t handle the truth.
If you’re a parent then you’ll understand every single word of what I am about to type. If you aren’t then you’ll probably shift uncomfortably in your seat or give in to boredom and move along. Because, let’s face it, unless you’ve been there, done that, cleaned this or changed that then it’s not something that you might enjoy hearing a crap ton about.
The truth about motherhood is that the truth takes many forms.
I can tell you with vividness about the day that both of my children were born. I can show you the scars or the parts of my body that will never be the same again. I remember how they smelled and looked when the doctor handed them to me for the first time, my knowing that everything was going to be different. I remember the physical truths of motherhood, that to beget something beautiful and ethereal requires noble sacrifice but in turn produces infinite connection.
I can tell you with a lump in my throat that there have been times where I didn’t think I would be able to do it. Where I didn’t know how I was going to mother anyone well enough for them to turn out even half way decent, but at some point I realized that it just takes a heart that is willing and fully prepared to do battle to make it work. I can tell you that I have no idea what I am going to do when my children move out or get married, let alone what I will do with myself and my empty arms when they go to school for the first time. I’m working on that.
As a parent I can tell you about the aggravation of children who won’t sleep, who fight off nap and bed times like a cat fights against water. I can tell you about the feelings of defeat when you see that your child has painted the dining room chair or dumped their entire bowl of spaghettio’s on the dining room carpet. Or the first time that your toddler hits you or makes you cry in the Chick Fil A parking lot because they refuse to listen to you and be obedient about eating their lunch because it’s simply one temper tantrum and public scene too many.
I could talk at length about how there really never seems to be am exact point to cleaning because the sink is going to fill up again, the laundry baskets will be back to spilling over with dirty clothes and the toys always find their way back under the living room couch. There is never enough time in the day to keep your house completely in order, never enough energy to get it all done and never a time that you will feel completely secure about the way that your home now looks, Fisher Price and all.
I can’t convey the emotions that come with raising children. How sometimes I feel like I am almost drowning under the weight of everything that needs to be done, every appointment that I need to attend and every time my children spill something on my just mopped kitchen floor. Or sometimes, how naked I feel emotionally, knowing that I still have to figure out how to move forward some days or how I am still processing the realization that I could ever love someone or some people until it aches. How I always feel the sting of insecurity, wondering if it will ever be enough for them, if they will make it through and be unscathed in a world that won’t be kind. I worry if I’m doing enough, giving enough, being enough and loving enough.
I would tell you about how I lay awake at night and worry. Worry over the world that my children will inherit, a world that is broken and doesn’t know how to love. I worry if they will be able to fight, if they will be able to survive and if they will still be able to love and to serve. I wonder if they realize how loved by God they are, how wholly protected and loved they are with Him and with Him alone. I pray that my children will know that THEY need to pray and confess and cry out and seek for God’s face because there will be things that don’t make sense and things that hurt real bad.
I can talk about how there are days that I am fulfilled in the quiet of children sleeping, content with days spent on the back porch eating strawberry ice cream. Blowing bubbles and cartoons are enough, even if on some days I don’t have the energy or the interest in doing any of those things. There will be and are days that I don’t want to, I don’t want to be needed but I have to keep going.
Motherhood wears many faces, feels many things, hopes for much and strives for everything. It is full of reaching, tears, laughter, frustration, exhaustion and contentment.
It’s motherhood, and it’s complicated. But nothing worth it is ever simple. Nothing worth it ever comes easily and requires little and, in this case, motherhood requires a mom.