I don't know why, but for some reason this past week really got the better of me. Both physically and emotionally. I feel like I've fallen into that hole of feeling lost to the world. I feel like that mom wearing the frumpy clothes, dawning the hair that hasn't even seen a trim in....a year? Longer? Perhaps. Adorned with the same make up since first giving birth, and parts of who I am slowly drifting down the drain along with wads of my hair.
And yet, I know what I was designed to do...and I'm doing it. Loving it actually. I know without a doubt God made me to be a mom. And for 99.9% of the time I feel like that is enough. But this week has me petering on the edge of that 1% of feeling like I'm not enough. Like the world needs to see bigger and better things than just little ole me. Like my kids need someone better at this "mom" thing than just me. Like even though I give, give, give....i still haven't given enough and fall short somewhere along the line.
I know being a mom is a job where you give more of yourself in more ways than in any other job. And that is a beautiful thing. It really is. But it's also easy to lose sight of that beauty in the day to day grind.
It's the constantly shoving sharp cornered furniture out of the way so someone doesn't fall and conk their head. It's hosing off little bodies after making mud pies and throwing mud bombs. It's crying when you realize your oldest changed out of the grubby shoes you put on him and changed into the only suitable shoes left for wearing to church. It's hosing them off because it's hot out and far more quicker than trying to do a midday bath, then throwing down the hose only to have it land just right and spray you in the face. It's kind of laugh/kind of crying because of course it did. It's trying to make it out of the house because your oldest two are tired of playing red light/green light and are bouncing off the walls crazy. So you plan to go to an "art day" at their favorite toy store. You pay two bucks a kids to have them blop paint on paper and blow it with a straw....and could have easily done the same at home for free.
(And for those folks in the store who maybe were on the fence about having kids of their own, pretty sure we helped make up their mind, as I wrangled a red-faced-screaming-nearly-three-year-old out the door. While having another screaming baby attached to the front of me and only making it half way out the door when when the seemingly 200 lb child with 10 pairs of arms and legs suddenly stuck like glue to the frame of the door. It's trying to remain full of grace and keeping an "I love them so" tone in my voice when all I want to do is cry and scream and maybe do so simultaneously. And to the gentleman who held the door so I could have both hands free to unstick all the limbs and strap the flailing, wailing child into his car seat in the blood curdling 100 degree heat.....you saved me kind sir. It's trying your best to do the "Love and Logic" approach only to be turned down by a defiant "nope". It's making the decision to drive to Burgerville to get the oldest a smoothie reward because he behaved and listened (and I kind of wanted to be the "fun mom" and take them all to get treats after our fun outing, instead of being the one who has to discipline ALL.DAY.LONG) Cole of course walked around with a halo while his middle brother grew horns. And I tried the, "Oh, that's too bad Bennett (Love and Logic) that you threw a big, gigantic, deafening fit...I'm sorry, now you don't get a smoothie of your own" After all, that is what they said to do, and it's supposed to work..... (supposed to, being the key words) and then it's gritting my teeth as I under go round two of wails, and screams, and big alligator tears.....
But it's also,
Watching my warriors as they build mountains out of cushions, climb to the top and flex their muscles proudly. It's congratulating them on such a big endeavor and for succeeding after countless failed attempts. It's laughing when they toot and tell you to smell it. It's finding the fun in pulling out our "binoculars" and looking for bugs and bad guys with our fists held up to our eyes.
It's the never quite knowing what they are going to do next.....
It's the bursting pride when I pick them up from Sunday School, and the teacher tells me that they are precious. And that the whole time Cole was watching out for Bennett, helping him and making sure that he was well taken care of. It's watching Cole lead Bennett into situations that without him, Bennett would wilt and turn around to hide in my leg. But watching him grow braver with his brother by his side. It's hiding around the corner and listening quietly when they are giggling and laughing over something silly. It's meeting the big baby eyes who never seem to lose sight of me. It's the smile that is reciprocated every time. It's the complete abandon while nestled in close to my neck, and the slobbery drool that is often found dripping down my arm. It's watching the sweetness in their features when they finally collapse after a long hard day, and they give in to restful sleep.
The feeling of their arms around my neck. The way Cole will walk by me, grab my arm, and kiss it randomly throughout the day. Bennett asking me to give him an "enimo" kiss (Eskimo kiss) and laughing uncontrollably when we make up our own "raff" (giraffe) kiss.
It's knowing that God has given me another day with them, even when it seems so hard. I'm always thankful for one more day to try it all over again. To try and learn from my mistakes and stretch in ways that seem unstretchable.
So yes, today I feel lost. Today I feel like no one sees me (not even my kids), like I might not have a voice. Like I'm not getting the approval my heart feels it needs. And then God gently whispers to my soul "why? why are you seeking approval from those that is doesn't matter? Why are you not turning to me, seeking me? "
And I do. Finally. (you would think I would have learned this lesson by now....)
I silently let the tears fall while breastfeeding my baby and trying to put him down for his third nap because the first two were failed attempts, thanks to noisy "secret agent men"...and it was only 10 AM.
And yet, even though I am called to turn my eyes to my Christ alone and seek Him and find favor in Him alone. I realize He also knew that my weary heart needed to hear tangible words. Words that were audibly spoken to me.
So, to that sweet woman in Target, who must have seen my glazed-over-blank-stare while I stood in the check out line, not realizing it was my turn to put my things on the conveyer belt. How you stepped away from your cart and kindly offered to help unload my own cart while I bounced a very unhappy baby boy back and forth. We chatted and you asked about my family. And then you told me how amazing I was. How much respect you had for me, how being a stay at home mom was one of the hardest things anyone could ever do. Sweet sweet lady, you spoke to my heart...you probably don't even realize the impact you made. You probably won't ever know that my heart is weeping over your words and how they were just what I needed to fuel my soul for my today. Thank you.
So I pray for a softening of my heart. For delighting myself in the One who really cares, who chose this perfectly planned family and path for me. As I search for the reasons why I matter (why YOU, the mom who is feeling the same way---YOU MATTER). For me, the three most important reasons are finally napping and giving me a few moments to drink my second mocha and release that which has been building up in my heart.
Thank you Jesus for finding me in my mess, and reminding me my daily purpose. I pray for all of us mama's, that we never lose sight of our goal, that we continue to find grace and joy and good in the tasks before was....no matter how mundane or extravagant. May you find the truth that YOU are enough, that you MATTER and that bringing up littles is a great great task that shouldn't be brushed over.
It's a calling and purpose that has more demands than anything. And when you're in the trenches of disciplining 24/7, it's so easy to lose sight of this truth. May we continue find the perfect purpose in which God has called us to do, and be thankful for the opportunity we have.
For it is such a blessing, it really is.