the mothering arts

M is for Motherhood and Mayhem

‘Cause I swear they go hand in hand.

Sheesh. What is it about being a momma? Why are we so hard on ourselves, and so hard on all the mommas we know? Isn’t the job hard enough without the constant second guessing guilt trips and over-the-top measuring sticks?

Why is it about kids, for whom we want to give our very best, that often bring out the very worst in us?

I’d like to know…

I don’t consider myself especially qualified to speak to the experience of motherhood any more than the next gal, but I often get told that I do because of the number of toddlers I have. "You must have the patience of a saint!" they say. "Better you than me…" blah blah blah. They also don’t see me on my bad days when I’ve yelled at the kids and lost my patience and a million other things. I say, each mom has their own battles to fight, their own challenges, unique to their situation. What seems simple to me might be incredibly difficult for my friend, and what boggles my brain cells comes easily to her. It’s all in the  balance.

When I was pregnant with my first, Ben, and even a little of the way into Isaiah’s babyhood, I had this ridiculous set of expectations of myself: a good momma does this, a good momma does not do that, a good momma makes sure that her kiddos are given all these opportunities, music, play, enrichment…in short, I totally set myself up for failure. Reality came crashing in pretty quickly. There was no way that half of that "list" was going to get its requisite gold star…some days I was lucky if I got a shower and my teeth got brushed! Somewhere along the way, I realized that what my kids needed wasn’t a list, a playgroup, or a  classical CD for their brain…what they needed was me.

Don’t get me wrong, I still struggle mightily with this whole motherhood idea. I think I always will, and if I ever start saying I’ve got it all figured out, I’m probably sitting in the loony bin and completely off my rocker. But if there is one thing I do know, I know that motherhood is a journey, not a beginning or an end point. There’s going to be mountains and valleys, mayhem and calm. I don’t have to build a path, I just have to walk it. Some days are going to be great, and others I’m going to barely make it through. And it’s okay. And if I do my job right, my kids are going to leave…and start the whole process over again. One foot in front of the other.

Tell me what's on your heart~

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