Motherhood. I’d be lying if I said I loved every minute of it.
It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.
You try to be happy all of the time when your kids are always around. It’s quite literally 24 hours a day. It’s 7 days a week. It’s 12 months a year. It’ll be roughly 25 years of my life that I will have sacrificed. And I chose this.
It’s mentally, physically, and spiritually draining for me. One is taking push pins out of the drawer and stabbing the couch with them, asking me to read them a book, or do a car show with them. Another is asking me to help them search for supplies for a survival bag, find parts for a Lego creation, or go outside to help them build a fort. The third is making obnoxious noises, wanting to show me every possible detail there is to know about their Lego creation, or sit on the computer and stare at YouTube videos that I have to censor. That’s all in 30 minutes.
Let’s not forget breakfast, lunch, dinner, and all that surrounds each of those meals. Then there’s bookwork to do. I can’t leave the littlest one out so I’m having to juggle between cutting, pasting, and painting, while trying to teach one child how to read, and helping the other with math.
Each request I don’t want to say, “no” to. I want to say “yes” to as many as possible. “It won’t last forever,” I constantly say to myself. Soak in as much as possible. I truly am trying to do that, but I am still human.
Teaching them responsibilities like emptying the dishwasher, taking out the trash, or cleaning up after themselves is an endless task. Behavioral reminders is constant. “You are raising future men,” I remind myself.
Playtime. friend time, reading time, bed time, bible time, outside time, bookwork time, cleaning time, family time, serving time, social time, meal time, husband time. Where’s my time?
It sounds incredibly selfish and I don’t even like to say it out loud, but it’s true. Like I tell the boys, I am not a robot. I am a human being. I HAVE to say, “no” sometimes to the people I love the most as much as it breaks my heart.
Perspective matters. In the end, what do I care about the most? That my three tornadoes know and love Jesus. How they treat the people around them. How to be able to see God in all things. How they can live in a way that is not only God honoring, but fulfilling, too. What lens they view life through. The list goes on.
That’s why God gave me the longing in my heart about 12 years ago to have kids. Not because I loved holding babies or rolling on the ground with them. I wanted to make a difference in our world. I wanted more people that knew Jesus in it and I wanted to be the one to raise them.
Raising them however, has been the hardest thing I have ever done. I truly can’t imagine anything ever topping it. I thought that I could be a mom and keep running my business at the pace I was at when Liam was born. I could still sing at church. I could still spend time with my friends. It didn’t take long to discover that I couldn’t do any of it without sacrificing valuable time with him.
I had to greatly reduce my workload to not be resentful towards Liam for simply being a child in need of his mother’s love and attention. Before he was even born, I chose to homeschool. And then I chose to give him siblings. I have chosen to die to myself over and over again.
I am more than a mom even though that’s all my kids know me as. I was created by God to produce. Whether it’s photographing, filming, singing, writing, or even cooking and baking, I like to do at least one of those things every day. If I don’t, I find myself getting drained and resentful.
It doesn’t stop there, though. I must share what I created with others. I was not just brought into this world to satisfy my own desires. There is a deeper sense of fulfillment and purpose in my life when I get to encourage people and share some of what I have been creating.
The constant desire to produce can be overwhelming at times. I have so many ideas. I sometimes get upset because I know that I’ll probably only be able to accomplish about 10% of them. When I do start to create something, it’s highly likely that I will not be able to complete it without a lot of interruptions. Knowing that in advance, there are times that I won’t even start. I don’t want to set myself or my kids up for failure. There have been many times where I have either had to walk away from what I started or I simply forgot about it.
There is this constant tug of war. I can’t stop creating, but at the same time I can’t stop being a mom. God presses on my heart and reminds me that this time with my boys is not only short, but crucial. At the same time, He reminds me that I can’t be a good mommy unless I do things that He created in me to do because those things bring me to life.
I am learning that if I am really supposed to get something done, God will keep pressing it on my heart until it’s complete. He will free up time in my day. I will feel both a sense of urgency and relief the closer I get to completing it.
This may sound depressing, but the older my kids get, I still do not think I will have my own time to create. When I am constantly encouraging them to produce and not consume, that means that my projects and ideas will continue to be put to the side in order to help them pursue theirs. After all, I know a thing or two about what it’s like to have an idea and want to work on it. ;)
Perhaps my need to create and share won’t be as intense as the days and years continue to fly by. Perhaps as my boys get older, we will be able to create more as a family instead of just mommy. Perhaps God will refine that longing in me all together.
Here’s what I know now: Parenting has been the greatest sacrifice I have ever had to make. I pray daily for wisdom, peace, joy, patience, and contentment. I am constantly asking God to help me love and see these boys as Jesus does. I cannot do any of that on my own. I am truly a hopeless, selfish, rotten soul without him.