Are you a burnt out momma? I am. I am not ashamed to admit this in my moment of honesty.
Today I had a chance to break away for a few hours without my daughter. I love her with all my heart. Still, here I am, recharging my writing a blog post about her. What gives? Where is the break? (Ha!)
I left my house in a frenzy. Behind I left a kitchen counter cluttered with peanut butter, dirty spoons, and some random objects… a necklace, screwdrivers, a dirty coffee cup. I had time to throw some fresh clean clothes on the bed. Then I literally grabbed my purse and ran away from my home as quick as I could to the nearby coffee shop. No dirty dishes to stare at and feel guilty. Nope. My alone time would be my alone time.
Yet here I am, thinking about motherhood, fascinated by how it encompasses every part of my life, every fiber, through my bones, and deep into my heart.
I think back to my twenties when I carelessly floated from one activity to another. Kickball, happy hour, shopping, haircuts, weekends in the mountains. Now I am running ragged and hardly making it to doctor appointments, swimming lessons, and work appointments.
I am so tired. Let me restate that. I am SO tired!
And guess what else? I am hardly doing “motherhood” well. I have a few books half read. A chore chart we never started. My daughter is starting to defy me, talk back to me, and do things I thought would never happen. It is mass chaos in our home! Our bedtime routine is currently completely off as my kid is almost going to bed at 10pm each night. The only decent thing we are doing right now is praying together (because man do I need to pray daily), and eat well. But, that is about it.
Example. The other day I was the hot mess mom running into swim lessons 15 minutes late. My purse falling off my shoulder, my daughter trying to keep up with me as I run in, “We are here, so sorry!”. All the other moms staring at me. Why did I come so late? There was only 15 minutes left. My daughter didn’t even have her swimsuit on!
But this is the dirty little secret: I know I am not alone. I have authentic friends who will tell me their kids drive them crazy. They scream into pillows. Most days they are juggling and dropping balls. Some cannot wait until that glass of wine after bedtime, or the quiet drive into work after dropping the kids off.
I get it.
No one gives us some handbook on parenting when we leave the hospital. We train hard for jobs and careers which hardly press us the way these little ones do. They pull on our heartstrings and hammer us purely mad.
But the catch is this: this crazy, messy, sometimes terrible season is just a season. A glorious, messy, fantastic season. A season in which my emotions are on some wild rollercoaster. Up, around, upside down. I’ve never cried so much, laughed so much, or slammed the door so much.
Parenting is hard. Of course it is. It is sacrifice at it’s finest. It is collaboration, constant brainstorming. It is in the moment teaching. It is in the moment training, too. Every bit of it monumental and fleeting. Each thing I do or say leaving an imprint in my child’s heart and mine.
Not too long ago I ran a half marathon. The training was awful. I hate running. Every time I ran I wondered what the hell I was doing. I slowly grew to love it. I fell a few times, swallowed mouthfuls of bugs, ran in the rain and mud, strained my muscles, and got overheated. Some runs were beautiful, the weather was perfect and playlist spot on and I felt just right. The day of the half marathon came, and I was all full of nerves and felt like I was going to throw up. I ran it, and all my training had paid off. And just like that it was over. And guess what? I missed the training. I missed running! I was actually so sad.
In a teeny, tiny way parenting is much like this. The day-to-day seems unbearable. The sleepless nights, the days of changing diapers over and over again. The time-out’s that never seem to end. The tension headaches. The fighting with your spouse over how and why and when to discipline. The practices and driving here and from. The food and crap everywhere, always… the dirty socks all over the floor… when will it end?
And then it will. Just like that. My daughter will be packing up her car to drive to school out-of-state. Or another scenario. But it will be done. And I will miss it. But I will always have those special memories and more importantly, a new special relationship with her and a new season.
So, I try to always remember the big picture. Relationship trumps rules. Love never fails. Yes, the day-to-day is grinding. But it is all so very important. And everything is happening for a reason, shaping and molding me to be more patient, more tolerable, more kind, and less controlling. Parenting is the best crash course in growing my faith and character I’ve ever had.