Motherhood is a never-ending, ever-evolving, viciously emotional cycle in a woman’s life that consistently wavers between the polar extremes of, “Wow… how did I manage to raise such wonderful children?” and, “Wow… how did I manage to raise such horrible children?” Motherhood is its own oxymoron. A paradox of your sweetest dreams and your worst nightmares wrapped into one confusing bundle that you protect with your life, love with all your might, and cherish to the death. It’s precious little wet lips on your cheek in the morning. It’s eye rolls and long sighs and refereeing the stupidest arguments known to man. It’s endless epiphanies, constant insecurities, and pleadings with God for safety, security, and sanity.
Motherhood is wondering what you did to deserve the good … and wondering what you did to deserve the bad. Motherhood is teaching… then looking back and realizing how much you learned all along the way. It’s watching a silent, slight breath and wanting to freeze a seemingly insignificant moment forever. It’s the twisted enjoyment of spending every dime you have on someone who won’t appreciate it for another twenty years. It’s impromtu water battles and hour-long talks about birds and bees and all things important and uncomfortable. It’s tears of joy… and tears of pain… tears of heartache… tears of pride… tears of exhaustion… tears of fulfillment… tears of frustration… tears of wanting to hold on… tears of having to let go… and tears of remembering periods from a life well-lived.
Motherhood is the process of guiding a child as they grow older and secretly praying the process slows down while desperately praying for the process to hurry up. It is a series of long days comprising short years. It is wanting to get away but needing to stay close by. Motherhood is wanting to beat the crap out of your kid but defending them to the bitter end no matter the circumstances. It’s years and years of dedication and steadfastness and never knowing if our decisions will work out to be the best in the end… until the end. It’s being expected to have all the answers and gracefully grasping at straws. It’s honesty and transparency coupled with the apprehension of whether our sharing will provide necessary wisdom or be thrown back in our face to excuse inappropriate behavior.
Motherhood is not a science. There is often not a right way. Mothers are smart, powerful, influential, brave, generous, and STRONG. We are also often unsure, weak, afraid, weary, overwhelmed, and worn out. When the tender little I-love-yous turn into raging, hormone-induced I-hate-yous, when the once-pleasant conversations turn into under-the-breath mumblings … sometimes we just need someone to “get” us the way the ones we sacrifice so much for want us to “get” them. Sometimes we get hurt feelings. Sometimes we want to be a little selfish. There are times when that simple unsolicited hug we need the most goes undelivered for days… weeks… and even when that hug doesn’t come, motherhood is realizing as you’re dragging yourself to bed at 1am that you forgot to wash that one pair of jeans your child planned to wear to school and staying up another hour to make sure those jeans are ready for the morning.
As wonderful and painful as motherhood can be, there is nothing I would change about it. The bad ends up bringing us closer and the good makes it all worthwhile. After 12 years and five children, I still don’t completely understand the concept of motherhood. What I do know, however, is that there is no feeling in the world like the one I get when the world is silent for just the fraction of a second it takes for my mind to carry me through the combined 41 years I’ve parented my 12, 10, 9, 6, and almost-4 year old children collectively and condense them into one emotional image that is eternally imprinted in my soul. That image is refreshed ever so often and provides an immediate reminder of how blessed I am to have been chosen for the position God placed me in when he gave these kids to me.
Motherhood… in my world? It’s Family Nights on Saturdays, home-baked goodies and warm, simple exchanges. It’s silly days and then days when we all just wish we could get a do-over. Most importantly, though… it’s shaping and molding my daughters and my son into the best they can be… always finding new ways to give them all the knowledge, patience, love, and opportunity possible despite what may be going on in my own life or in my own mind — and realizing that as a result, I’ve changed for the better within myself all along the way.