It never really seems to slow down. Whether it be the constant sleep interruptions in the middle of the night from a hungry baby or a kick in the face from your toddler who never learned to sleep in his own bed. The day constantly goes, and momma doesn’t seem to get to lay down and breathe in.
The morning starts for most, but for you it’s not much different from when you try to get the kids to go back to sleep constantly in the middle of the night.
Then the chocolate milk and Lucky Charms demands start as your toddler whines for you to get up and turn the TV on! You get up, running on 4.5 hours of interrupted sleep, pick up the baby who’s trying to climb off the bed and head towards the living room.
After you have turned on The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, you head towards the kitchen and pour a bowl of cereal for your whining toddler. Or rush to whip up some pancakes at his request. Of course, always rushing because he must have them NOW! Thankfully, the baby is much more understanding and entertains himself. When he’s finally bored, he will crawl into the kitchen with the most adorable face you have ever seen. Then you remember to prepare his baby cereal. Once they are both fed, then the fun starts!
I don’t know if it’s because I have two boys, but there always seems to be wrestling and smashing of toys. But my favorite is the jumping on the couch and body slamming mom. Yes, pure joy. Playtime continues throughout the day and in between time, I’m picking up toys, putting baby down for nap time, preparing toddler’s lunch, washing the piled up dishes, picking up baby who has awoken, feeding newly awoken baby, preparing bath time, vacuuming crumbs off the floor, washing and or folding laundry, etc.
Nap time can not come sooner but both of their nap times do not always overlap which can be frustrating because I could really use that hour to just sit down and breathe. I’m constantly going, constantly doing and by the time my husband comes home, there’s never any visible proof that I’ve really done anything. New dishes will pile up, more dirty clothes will add up and make new piles of laundry meanwhile I think I’ve worn this tshirt and pajamas for two days now and my hair remains in what seems to be a permanent messy bun. And it’s not one of those cute messy buns you see on the tv shows.
It’s been months and I haven’t had a day to myself, my husband works so many hours that he can’t really alleviate any of my “mommy shifts.” And when I finally do get the opportunity to branch off and do something on my own, I don’t end up doing so because my kids start crying out for me as soon as I walk towards that door. I mean, I can’t jump in the shower without my toddler having a panic attack- later I realize that he just jumped in fully clothed. Either that, or I’ll go to the store and see someone else’s kids and immediately miss the crap out of my children. Sometimes I feel like I’m the cause to a lot of the stresses of my motherhood journey. I’m either always wishing to get away on my own for a little bit, but then I end up glued to them in fear that something may go wrong or end up hurting their feelings because they rather me stay home with them.
And don’t get me wrong, loving up my babies is probably the best feeling in the world. Nothing could ever compare to the silent giggles I see when my toddler giggles at his favorite cartoons, or the joy I feel when they are finally getting along and playing together. Or when I get mad at one and they defend each other. When my toddler is feeling cranky and only my mommy kisses make him feel better, or when the baby is tired and only my arms will bring him the soothing comfort until he drifts off to sleep. It is the most rewarding and exhausting job I have ever had. And I wouldn’t trade it for the world. But some days, I feel dizzy. Dizzy because I haven’t slept in months, haven’t stopped going in circles. Haven’t gone out to have any kind of adult time, whether it is a date night with my husband or just to go shopping at Target by myself without a screaming child. You see, I want to do so much but I don’t have the time or capacity to do so. And like most mom’s, I struggle with my identity outside of being a parent.
The world makes you strive to be more than “just a mom.” Oh, you’re just a mom? It’s probably the most gut wrenching part of a conversation for me because not only does it downplay all the hard work I put in into being a mother but it suggests that I am unfulfilled and need to be striving to be more. I feel like I will always struggle with this as I have so many goals and aspirations that are outside of motherhood for me. But for now, they have to be on hold. Yes, for now I am “just a mom.” But for now being “just a mom” is more than enough for me. Because my babies need me now, and everything else can wait because I promised to put them first when I chose to become a mother. And as long as the Lord will allow me, I will do just that. For God promised me that if I put my trust in Him, He will supply all my needs. (Psalm 84:12) (Proverbs 3: 5-6) (Philippians 4:19) (Matthew 6:31 -32)
So, for you momma’s who are struggling with getting time for yourselves, just to feel like a person again. Remember that your sacrifices are accounted for and one day you will have all the time in the world. Because babies become adolescents, and adolescents become young adults, and young adults venture off to college and leave mommy all alone. In this moment, you are tired and it’s hard but this too shall pass. So hang in there and don’t loose hope. It’s something I have to constantly remind myself as I’m running on fumes constantly and refilling my coffee cup. But their sweet little faces are worth it. I find my worth in them and in what Jesus has called me to be for them. A selfless, devoted (and sometimes very cranky) mother. (2 Kings 4:30) (John 3:30)
What you do is more than enough. Who you see in the mirror might not look like the person you used to be, but to your children you are everything. And that is more important than how the world may see you now.