The hardest job I'll ever have has nothing to do with writing. Nor does it relate to any anti-human trafficking efforts I'll someday (Lord willing) make. It's not even the 2 or 3 year stint as my church's nursery director, although that's closer to the mark than anything else.
The hardest job I'll ever have is one I began on March 9, 2000--the day my oldest child was born.
Motherhood is the hardest job I will ever have. (I feel like that sentence should be in giant, bold letters.)
Some days, it's the biggest joy of my life. Hearing the kids giggle together over something silly. My youngest son coming to me the other day saying, "Y'know
one thing I'm thankful for? I'm thankful for Clayton, because he helps
me. He taught me how to make a circle with tape and now we're making a
poster for our door." Having them play for hours together without fights.
But other days....
Like today for instance. I had just reached a level where I'd had enough. Enough of the many questions. Enough of the smacking while chewing gum (and in my ear, no less). Enough of the noise. Enough of the whining. And because I'm trying very hard to be a better mommy and not yell (a horribly bad habit I've gotten into), I was struggling to hold the shattered threads of my will together. But they were not making it easy. In desperation, I begged for just a few moments of peace. Just a few moments where nobody talked to mommy. Unfortunately, because of my past actions, as soon as I was even the least little bit short, and because I kept pleading (very emphatically) for them to give me a few minutes alone, they didn't understand. One of my children thought it was because of her. She looked at me, giant eyes swimming in tears, and wailed that nobody would let her talk. I pulled her onto my lap and something within me broke. I cried and cried. She looked at me, baffled as to why mommy was crying. But it wasn't something I could even explain to her.
I can tell my husband I need some space and he understands and leaves me alone. But this is something my children--at least the younger two--do not yet understand. To them, if I do not want to sit next to them, answering a million questions, or listening to every detail of their day, I am angry with them. Not so, not so. Sometimes, mommies just need a break. I know someday they'll understand that concept. But it didn't help us today.
I read a blog the other day that talked about how horrible motherhood is and that women with no children really have no concept of how awful it is. Something deep within me shrank away from this. That is not at all the message I want to convey. Yes, it is definitely not the portrait given us by Norman Rockwell and his ilk. It's messy. And unpleasant. And painful. And tedious. And there are days, like today for me, where you feel like you would give the last piece of chocolate in your hidden stash for 5 minutes alone behind a locked door. With no interruptions. But it's also not something awful, either. Even on my most sleep-deprived day, covered in spit-up (or worse), with the house a sty around me, I could still hold my babies in my arms and marvel over them (this was best done while they were asleep, of course, and is why, I'm convinced, God made them look so angelic as they sleep).
It's not awful. It's. Just. Hard.
But aren't the hardest things in life often the most rewarding? If everything was easy, would we appreciate it as much? If not for those hair-raising fights my kids get into most mornings, I would be unable to really appreciate the moments of laughter. Of shared fun together. Or when they surprise me with comments like my son's.
There isn't a title on this earth representing anything I have ever done, or will ever do, as important as the one I have now: mom.
It's hard. No doubt. But so worthwhile. And until my kids fully understand the concept of "alone time" or until I become a more patient person (whichever comes first), I will just have to rely on God to help me get through days like today.