"Why can everyone else do this and I can't?"
I lost count of how many times I asked myself this question over the years when my kids were little. I was sure every other mother in the world had mopped kitchen floors, got to lessons on time, and came home to a hot dinner waiting in the crock pot. Every. Night.
Certainly ALL the other moms did not have eight loads of laundry piled on their sofas, waiting to be folded? Or mysterious molds growing in their fridge? Or served cereal for dinner?
No, the "good mother's" kids always had matching socks, a hot nutritious breakfast, and a peaceful home.
Maybe if I tried harder I could do better at this...
Dear Mommy of little (or medium, or especially big!) kids, I have now been at this mothering gig for 28 years. I want to let you in on a secret, that I hope will not get me kicked out of the woman club: mothering is hard. It is very hard.
It is exhausting and relentless. It is messy and invasive. It is sticky, smelly, and muddy.
It is completing a job while someone comes behind you and undoes it.
It is wanting to wring a little neck, while being willing to die for that same soul.
It is giving up your body, your fashion, your home, your sleep, and occasionally your sanity.
It is teaching the same lesson over and over again, for the long term gain of good manners and habits.
It is taking your heart out of your body, laying it on the table, and inviting your babies to have all they need.
Mothering is hard. To say otherwise perpetuates misconception. Denial of that fact just invokes guilt for the poor Mom who assumes that since it is hard for her, she must be doing it wrong.
No! If it is hard, you are probably doing it right! In fact the harder it is, the better job you are doing.
Think about it. It is easier to NOT teach them to say please and thank you. It is simpler to let them watch and listen to what they desire. There is no resistance to letting them stay up late and having ice cream for dinner. It is only hard to enforce bedtime and serve spinach.
Mothering is hard. Like climbing-Mt.-Everest hard.
No one decided to climb Mt. Everest because it was simple, warm, and fuzzy. The decision to conquer the mountain requires commitment to years of hard work and deprivation. It is expensive, exhausting, and hazardous.
Mothering is climbing Mt. Everest.
Why have children then? I could have spent all the money we paid for music lessons for a nice European vacation instead. I might have enjoyed years with my husband where a romantic moment was never interrupted and neither of us was thrown up on. Think of the books read, the movies watched, the adventures enjoyed.
But the truth is I LOVE being a Mom and there is not a single thing I would take for the privilege. Hard? Yep, very hard. Worth it? Without a doubt.
There is not a dime I spent, or a moment of sleep I lost, that I would take back. Shepherding a soul through this world rewards the heart more than any other accomplishment.
My love for my kids comes from deep within me. It outlasts tantrums and overlooks spills. It makes hard decisions and sacrifices for the long run. It pursues the wayward, corrects the naughty, kisses the hurt, soothes the fevered, and protects the endangered.
Being a Mom is the hardest thing I have ever done. It is also the best.
So persevere, sweet Mom. It doesn't feel hard because you are doing something wrong. It feels hard because it is hard. You are the exact right person for your exact child. Keep going. Keep training. Keep hugging. Keep going to bed bone-weary. And keep getting up the next day to do it all over again.
The view from the top of Mt. Everest is worth it.