You know how everyone’s always saying that nobody’s genuine on the internet anymore? Well, I’ve got genuine right here for you.
I have been completely, frantically and exhaustingly (that’s a word) overwhelmed. Apparently homeschooling 6 small children, trying to finish a huge creative project, keeping a house clean, children fed, church obligations covered and a husband happy, all while carrying your 7th child is enough to do that to you.
Seriously though, it’s been a long time since I’ve felt this way. Caring for sleepless newborn twins was probably the last time I felt this helplessly out of control. It’s not a fun feeling.
Luke left town a couple weeks ago and I thought I was doing pretty well, all things considering. That is, until he called one day. I was totally emotionally stable until I saw his face on my iPhone. And I. Just. Lost. It. He starts talking to me and it takes him a minute to realize that I’m sobbing into the phone and I don’t even know why except maybe that life is so dang hard and I forgot there’s supposed to be someone helping me with this and it’s you and where did you go, DANGIT?!?! Wait – what was I saying?
Oh yeah….It just goes to show that no matter how well life can be going for a while, chances are good that there will be stormy weather ahead. And that’s OK. It reminds me of this quote by Jenkin Lloyd Jones (as told by Gordon Hinckley, a former prophet of the LDS church, in this address):
“Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he’s been robbed. The fact is that most putts don’t drop. Most beef is tough. Most children grow up to be just ordinary people. Most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration. Most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. . . .
Life is like an old-time rail journey—delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride.”
It’s a great reminder that most of life will be full of struggles. Hard days and busy days and poopy diapers. Oh yes, the poop. The overwhelming, ENDLESS POOP. Sometimes I get so caught up in all of the everyday mundane chores and exhaustion that I just can’t see those beautiful vistas, ya know? (They might be under the poop.)
But there’s another quote (also by President Hinckley) that I love even more:
This line really makes me stop, look and realize how many opportunities I have to enjoy and relish my children right now, rather than just endure them. That takes a special skill…it’s really, really hard to stop cleaning applesauce off the floor and go push your toddler on the swing. Even though I know in my head that the kids are more important, it’s a constant internal fight to act accordingly, instead of putting out the ever present fires of motherhood (and yes, I mean that figuratively and literally).
Today my mom, bless her soul, took my 4 little kids for the day so I could get some rest and catch up on stuff. It was a pretty dang glorious day, I’ll tell you that. The older boys and I ran errands, had lunch, went to a (calm and peaceful) midwife appointment and caught up on laundry. I answered emails, went grocery shopping and even took a nap! But all the peace and quiet made me aware that in a few short years, the diapers and incessant neediness will be gone and I’ll be left with amazing, independent kids that can even be left alone for hours at a time. It’ll be sublimely wonderful, but simultaneously heartbreaking.
I know very acutely that it’s impossible to enjoy every second of the little kid years (don’t you ever let some maddeningly chipper grandma tell you otherwise!!). BUT, I want to look back and know that I enjoyed them enough. That I didn’t spend EVERY day just watching the clock and praying the Luke would come home early. That I took the time to give my children memories of fun and laughter with their mom, before they’re too old to care about where I am or what I’m doing.
In a nutshell, motherhood rocks, but it ain’t all sunshine and roses. Thanks for letting me share my shortcomings. Here’s hoping that those who have ever felt the same can revel in a bit of comradery. You are not alone. I love you. Go eat some chocolate.