I often hear from moms who need some reassurance that their lives are going to go back to “normal” after having a baby.
Honestly? I’m not sure our lives ever return to “normal” after we have babies. It’s been nearly 23 years since my first introduction to sleep deprived living. “Normal” is still nowhere in sight. I forget things. I’m often tired.
I have to write things down on my TO DO list like “drink water.” Seriously.
If you’ve been reading my blog for very long, you know I’ve had a tough season. Last October, I said “thanks and goodbye” to my uterus. The following spring, another surgery followed. Some things just happen. You veer off course. Sometimes, you just have to roll with it, right? When you’re physically, emotionally or spiritually depleted, the word “margin” takes on new meaning. I find I’m grouchy and distracted when I don’t have enough margin in my life.
Take last week, for example.
It was supposed to be a quick trip to the store when my nearly four year old announced she had to go to the bathroom. I don’t know what it is about public restrooms that seem to draw my children in—but I believe store and restaurant bathrooms are at the top of their “must see” lists. It can never be a quick trip, either. Hey. I don’t want to be the mom who other moms overhear in a bathroom stall saying, “You better not be wanting to go poop right now!” (… yeah. That wasn’t me.)
We left the bathroom a little less put-together than when we went in, only to discover that the other two kids had decided it would be a good time to beg me for a “movie night,” thereby setting into motion the age-old “mommy guilt” complex that many of us take on too easily. It might go hand-in-hand with the weary “you must be kidding me right now” look.
“Movies are for Friday nights,” I said wearily. “It’s Tuesday.”
“But Mooooooommmmmm! You promised!” Really? Maybe I did—in a moment of weakness. I couldn’t remember though. I can never be sure, since they always get me on stuff like that. I was standing my ground, though, talking about our fall bedtime routine and schoolwork that needed to be finished when I noticed a woman was watching me from an aisle over.
Great. Now I’m a bad mom and I have an audience.
She smiled and I’m sure she meant well, but I was about to go all sorts of crazy when she said, “Savor this time” before ducking into the organic food aisle. Really, lady?
I almost cried as I put a bag of celery in my cart. I just needed a nap. Maybe a nap would fix it.
I’m sure she meant well—but honestly? She looked like she was caught up on her sleep. I didn’t notice green smoothie stains on her shirt. She seem to have showered recently.
I’ve been a mom for about 24 years now. With two grown daughters, I have experienced how fast the time goes. But that’s not always the point. Moms need a little grace. I think most moms are desperately trying to hang on to this season but there is a very real element of simply “surviving” it, too.
Yes. I want to savor every little moment. Like you, I imagine, I don’t want to be the mom who “just survived.”
So busy mom, when people like me or some random lady in the grocery store tell you to savor each moment you have with your kids, take it in stride. Yes, do savor it! But be ready for those not-so-savory moments. They don’t mean you’re a bad mother.
Mothering has its ups and downs. The trick, I think, is to keep your eyes on what you’re doing: you’re raising the next generation. Bottom line? You’re pouring out your life in this season so that your grandchildren will have good parents in the next.
While we do this work, let’s remember that some day, we’ll be in a different season. Hopefully, we’ll give grace to the tired mom we see with green smoothie stains on her shirt and instead of offering her advice, we’ll say a little prayer for her. Goodness knows she’ll probably appreciate the quiet prayer more than the advice.
Carry on, brave mother!