In one week we move into our new house (scratch that, a week and a half due to rain)...our indefinite house, our “everything will actually have a place and a space” house, our this-is-exactly-what-we-have-been-waiting-for house. Moving is all “old hat,” been there-done that for our family, but lately stay at home “mommying” has had me a little stretched thin. NO….actually no. I haven’t been a little frayed around the edges, I’ve been riled up and “Say somethin’! COME AT ME!” Just plain ready to fight about how freakishly hard this job is and how the successes of motherhood remain unrecognized in the world at large.
This all came to a head during a *passionate conversation* my husband and I were having. I’d been complaining and making caddy comments all week after I’d been around someone who made a few offhand comments about motherhood and life with kids and how unappealing it all was. In a different season of life I don’t think it would have bothered me, you have your desires and I have mine. But the lack of respect for my chosen profession/lifestyle/sacrifices/dreams in the midst of a grueling and chaotic season where I was already struggling to show myself patience and grace, that just made those flippant comments burn under my skin. Austin was at his wits end because he was just so sick of hearing me vent about it and wanted to move on. He had no idea what he was walking into. And a highly emotional wife at the breaking point was what awaited him.
Moms get no accomplishments, no measures of success, no met-goals to spur them onto the next phase. There’s no quarterly earnings, no client satisfaction, no record setting attendance to put on a resume. Sure you rarely have that moment which tangibly shows you that you are on the right course with your kids. But as a general rule it’s hard to find those moments of “Yay, let’s celebrate that. You accomplished something today! We did it!” and yet it feels like at every turn there’s “Needs improvement” stamps on everything.
It’s so hard to describe, we have kids who are healthy and happy, but somehow I still find myself feeling like I’m not enough [fill-in-the-blank] for them or for me. It feels like somehow I’m doing this wrong or missing something important. As if there’s a way to “mom” that feels like winning and butterflies and “This Girl Is On Fire” anthems and I just can’t figure it out. But maybe if I try really hard, maybe if do better or hustle more I can figure out that illusive mommy-success.
But even just the idea of hustling harder makes me exhausted. And that's exactly the place I was in as we talked about that one little comment about our life, and then I just sort of lost it. Because I was already struggling to “mom” with joy and peace, it was as if this person said to me “The world took a vote and we all think that all that hard work you do--it’s really just kind of a joke. It’s not real work, it’s not hard, and we’d like you to just stay in your corner of the world, cause also you and your kids are loud and obnoxious.”
It was the last straw.
I couldn’t even handle it because I just needed someone--no, everyone--to acknowledge my sacrifices and respect my work. I needed the world to say “Dang. This is legit!” And even as I type this now I’m thirsty for that. But I know that’s why my grumpiness is growing uncontrollably: I’m not called to make all the sacrifices and do all this work for what the world thinks. I’m not even supposed to do it for my kids. I’m supposed to do it all unto the Lord for the glory of God alone.
If I could just learn this lesson for the millionth time! Every time I get to this imploding place with motherhood where I’m burned out and fed up, and I always end up the same way. It’s the harder more difficult road to the same conclusion (I really wish I could just live this out every day instead of having to breakdown to remember it): working for God, serving for God and to be like Christ no matter what my job is listed as, is the only way that I’ll live with contentment and peace.
I can’t tell myself enough times “Your body did something beautiful and wonderful, the stretch marks are worth it!” or “Babies don’t keep.” or “Motherhood is a blessing.” Those little anthems just don’t hold up when all momma wants is a little gratitude and ever-loving-peace-and-quiet. But Jesus does hold up. The Gospel holds up. Living water never leaves you thirsty and serving the God of everything, Creator, Sustainer, and Father is always always a privilege.
I have a feeling I’m not alone, that you other mommas have the same breakdowns cause this is hard and all you ladies who aren’t mommas yet--you have those same breakdowns over wanting to become a mom, or figuring out what God wants you to do in your career, or walking through an intense trial. The hurt and the exhaustion may come from a different place, but the well of Living Water quenches all our droughts. It’s right here waiting for us and when you can’t find it I’ll hold your hand and walk with you and help you draw the bucket and next time you can do the same for me.