There was, once upon a time, a season of my life when motherhood meant more of survival to me than anything else. Changing diapers, feeding, sippy cup filling, cuddling, rocking, naptime rituals, reading, bathing babies, taming tantrums, and playing silly games filled every second of my day. (Notice that showering was not included in this list. If, by chance, a shower was rendered it was sheer luck, or due to strategic planning on my part.) Looking back on those days, which were only a few years ago, I am struck by the simplicity of it all. My “issues” were messy diapers, crying, and teaching my children boundaries. I was busy, and the fruit of my labor was not always evident in the moment, but the issues were small and the world so much simpler.
We are a few, short weeks away from closing the books on another school year, and I find myself feeling nostalgic and emotional. This has been a challenging year for us. I am no longer kissing tiny microscopic boo boos, but rather holding my ten-year-old while she cries because a girl at school teased her about her weight. I am no longer helping my wobbly toddler learn to walk, instead I am holding my eight-year-old’s hand as she faces disappointment and rejection. And instead of filling sipping cups I find myself having to fill my children’s minds with the truth of God’s Word because of an off-hand comment another child made at school. It’s downright painful. And we haven’t even hit the teen years yet.
Motherhood has changed for me.
I used to cry because I was so exhausted, and I didn’t think I’d ever sleep again. I used to cry because the temper tantrums would wear me to the core. I used to cry because I felt so lonely as a stay-at-home mom with three children under the age of three.
I cry for different reasons now.
I cry because I know there are some lessons that my kids will have to learn the hard way. I cry because there are some wounds that I can’t simply slap a bandaid on. I cry because I remember how it felt to be ten. I cry because motherhood means so much to me, and I love my kids deeply. And as much as I would love for them to make it through grade school unscathed, I know that these challenges will make them stronger, wiser, and compassionate individuals. Hurt feelings won’t hurt forever, but they will teach my daughter the value of her words. Not getting the solo, the speaking part, or chosen for a game is devastating now, but down the road my little girl will learn to empathize with the underdog.
I suppose, in about five years I’ll probably be writing another post about how motherhood has changed for me. For now, I would say to all the moms who are surrounded by diapers, bottles, naptimes and blankies, savour every un-showered, sleepless night and sweat-pant-wearing moment of it. Enjoy its simplicity.
Motherhood changes. But so do we…the mothers. We grow. We mature. And we gain a little more wisdom in the motherhood department along the way. And while the issues will evolve from simple to complex (and even agonizing at times), God has given us everything we need to make it through right now.
I am learning to make this my new prayer:
“Lord, help me to live out this moment of motherhood in such a way that I will have no regrets. Amen.”