I don't know what I'm doing half the time. Often, I literally stare dumbfounded into the abyss of my infinite lack of knowledge, and question whether or not I'm cut out for it.
This is sort of what that looks like.
I guess it's not so bleak as all that, friends. I mean, it's bleak. But not that bleak.
I have this quote hanging in my kitchen (where I tend to feel most of my overwhelming moments).
Often I read this quote, and break it down, listing each way I've done that very thing during that day to give me encouragement to keep on keepin on.
"Motherhood is a choice you make everyday to put someone else's happiness and well-being ahead of your own."
- I got out of bed this morning.
- I dressed the kids and did girl hair.
- I didn't complain or comment on Cohen's wrinkled church clothes, his dirty face, or the fact that he was full on Alf-alfa in the back of his head.
- I didn't yell. Not once. I wanted to. Heaven knows I wanted to. But I didn't.
"Teach the hard lessons to do the right thing, even when you're not sure what the right thing is..."
- I rarely know what the right "thing" is. Should you stay home from school today? I don't know, do you really have a headache? Or maybe you're overwhelmed by something? Do you have a bully? A gaming addiction? Or do you just need to totally take it cool for an entire day? Do you want to stay home to bother me, or are you going to let me force you to stay in bed all day, and, subsequently, out of my way? If I let you stay home, and you don't really have a headache, are you going to grow up to be a hamburger flipper that requires a better salary than the Pope? If I make you go to school, will your subconscious despise me for being a horrible mother for the rest of eternity? Ok, go to school. If it still hurts, have the nurse call me and I'll get you. (No phone call! Success!)
- You have a bully? Did you try making them your friend? Are you telling me you haven't done anything to annoy or otherwise tempt said bully into being a bully? Do I intervene? Do I teach a wise and valuable lesson I'll have to go and learn about from a book because I have no idea. Will this end in suicide notes? Guns brought to school? Run aways? Teen pregnancy? (Boy, that escalated quickly.) Oh, your bully didn't bother you all day today because you totally ignored them? Sweet! I'll tally that as a success!
"...And forgive yourself over and over again for doing everything wrong."
This is where I almost always fail. I lay down to bed during that special time of night, called the "let's think of all the things we did wrong today" hour, and I list them. I yelled. I cried. I hid myself in my bedroom. I didn't read all the words in the book. I let Kembry go to school in her swimsuit. Kian probably needed a diaper change way earlier than I gave him one.
But I almost never forgive myself. I pray for forgiveness. I pray to do it better the next day. Secretly I know I probably won't (old dogs/new tricks type of thing). I wonder if adding a fifth child to this array of misery and mistakes is really the best way to go. (Not a pregnancy announcement, I swear.)
But I'm always blessed with a little slide-show of sorts. Memories brought to me in pictures by my Heavenly Father.
Reading with Cohen. Wrestling with Kian. Dinner as a family. Going to the bathroom alone (sweet!) Kissing owies. The library. Feeding ducks. Playing at the park. Swimming together. After school arguments over who gets to tell me about their day. Listening to piano practice. Clean kids after a bath. Lots of love and kisses and prayers at bedtime.
Motherhood is not grand. It's not perfect.
It's messy. Crowded. Loud. Exhausting. Confusing. Frustrating. Hard.
It's bittersweet, full of happy and sad tears, and lots of hugs.
So many mistakes.
And so, so much love.
Happy Mother's Day, troops. We fight the hard fight ever day, and we're raising amazing kids because we choose to do it. Carry on.