Being a mom is hard!!
I think I’m going to have an hour to myself because the baby is finally asleep, schoolwork is finished for the day and the big kids have taken the toddler outside to play. I forget that it’s almost lunch time. I hurriedly get out my computer because I have an idea for writing. I can push lunch back for at least 30 minutes, the boys love being outside anyway. I write as fast as I can and end up with what I think is going to be something good. It’s almost finished! The baby starts to cry, waking up from his nap and I can hear toddler screams of frustration outside. Of course I pushed lunch back too far, and now the baby needs me! I yell out the window to my big boys that they need to look after the little guy for just a bit longer while I try to nurse the baby back down because his nap wasn’t long enough. I’ll make lunch when I’m finished…
As I sit and nurse the baby in his rocking chair, the room dark and quiet, I think about what I wrote. It’s not what I intended for it to be at all! It’s not authentic or real, it doesn’t represent my real life! I wanted to write about seasons of life, “mommy seasons”. I wrote about some basic struggles that every parent faces and how it’s all so fleeting. We’ll miss these difficult seasons. Nothing new, nothing anyone else hasn’t already thought about or said before. I don’t know if I can ever write anything new, but I can definitely be more authentic than that.
Here’s the real deal! Parenting is hard, being a mom is hard. Yes, it’s a season. It’s a season of stress, being tired, always being ON, having to pretend I’m interested in hearing about all of the research my oldest son has done on chickens (for the 1000’s time!). Of course I’m interested, I’m just done listening for now! It’s hard to play with the baby and make him smile and giggle when I’ve already been playing with him ALL morning. And yes, sometimes I feel like I’m going to lose my mind when my toddler nonstop wants to tell me about E V E R Y T H I N G. Mommy mommy mommy mommy momma momma… It’s like that Family Guy episode when Stewie is bugging Lowis. It’s funny because it’s real. My super humorous red headed boy doesn’t know when to turn it off. He really is hilarious, but every day I reach the point when I’ve just had enough.
Now I’m supposed to segway into the part where I talk about how these seasons of life are fleeting. How I’m going to miss these days. That may be true. I’m not there yet, so I don’t really know for sure if I’ll miss all of this. I have two older boys. I DO know that their childhood goes by really fast. I DO know that they’ll be grown and gone and moved out before I know it. Will I miss the baby years, the little boys, the fighting siblings, the sleepless nights, struggling to find just one hour to myself? Maybe, I don’t know.
Don’t get me wrong. I know that seasons go both ways. It’s also just a season that they’re little; doing all of the wonderful things kids do. Babies are sweet and cute and their chubby little cheeks and adorable smiles won’t be there forever. Each stage that each of my kiddos has gone through, so far, has been chock full of wonderful moments. Seasons to cherish and remember. I love to look at photos and reminisce, recalling the fond memories I have of each of them. I do love to remember the good times. It’s funny how the more difficult moments kinda seem to melt away over time, leaving just the good. Or how time makes the difficult seem not so bad. But, will I miss it? I’m not sure. Will I want to do it again? Absolutely not! I think I prefer to live in the now. I’ve spent a lot of my life looking back. It’s good to learn from our past, but longing for any part of the past has gotten me nowhere. I would rather live for right now and look forward to the future. I’m not raising boys, I’m hoping to raise good men who will make excellent husbands and fathers. Who will work hard at their jobs and contribute something good to society. One day my boys WILL be grown. Hopefully, by then I will still want to live in the now. Hopefully I will be spending my time enjoying my husband and God willing grandchildren.
Maybe, when my boys are grown I will have moments when I’ll miss my little boys. I hope that instead of missing those days, that I’ll just be reminiscing while enjoying what’s right there in front of me. Right now, in the midst of the challenging childhood years of my kids, it can feel difficult to enjoy the now. When my nerves are shot and I feel like I could explode with frustration any second, it feels impossible to stop and enjoy the moment. I think that’s the key though. I think I have to enjoy them now. If I don’t that’s when regret will seep in, that’s when I’ll look back and miss the little boys.
Kids are SO good at pushing buttons. Well, at least my kids are good at pushing my buttons! When I said it feels impossible to enjoy them in those frustrating moments, I meant it. So how in the world am I supposed to enjoy the now, right now?! The only thing I know to do is pray. I teach my boys that when they can’t do something themselves (like change a bad attitude or stop a bad habit) they need to pray for God to help them. I can’t go back in time to change a difficult moment. I can’t take the words or actions back when I yell at my boys or take away video games for a week before really thinking about the discipline being too harsh. (Well, I could take back a discipline like that, but then I’m a parent who doesn’t follow through). What I can do is start over. I don’t need a new day, just a new moment. After I pray, calm down and allow God to show me that there’s no reason to continue feeling frustrated, I opt to start over. We use a “reset button” at our house. When I realize tensions are high and don’t need to be, I ask my kids for a reset. We all decide to reset our attitudes and start over, right then and there. Some of the best days have happened after a family reset!
Of course this is the real world, it doesn’t always work that way… I can pray, I can calm down, I can push my reset button, but I can’t control anyone else. Sometimes I never get that hour to myself. The baby wakes up from a nap and he’s just cranky. The toddler finally goes to sleep, but the big kids need to tell me about every thought in their head, while I’m still holding the baby. I try to get some writing done with the talking boys standing in front of me and a cranky baby in my arms. I think I might finally get some time to myself when the big kids are suddenly content with quiet time and and baby goes to sleep again… just in time for the toddler to wake up. This is real life. I pray, and I tell myself “it’s just a season”.