I have always wanted to be a mother. The love of little people oozes through my pores. I love babies, I love being home, I love to cook and clean and watch Barney. Mothering is what I was created for.
And some days I hate it.
I hate cleaning up another mess, I hate being patient, I hate having to gently push against the tide of natural man.
I hate driving a big van that is always dirty. I hate shoes and laundry and cleaning up dog puke. (Yes, my dog puked dark puke all over my recently shampooed rug! I hate that.)
I hate feeling tired. I hate budgeting money. I hate consistency and never, ever being done. I hate that my faults are difficult to hide as I parent eight. I hate the vulnerability that comes from parenting-- eight little reflections of me are floating around every day.
I hate sickness, contention, hunger, want. I hate To Do lists and refrigerators that need to be cleaned out. I hate thinking of what to cook for dinner. I hate never being able to find the scissors or the second church shoe. No matter how hard I work there is always a long list of things I haven't done.
I hate mean people and mean kids. I hate when I'm mean. I hate toys and TV and busy schedules. I hate packing lunches and I hate that pile of junk on my counter that is always waiting for me.
I used to love toddlers, but I think I've outgrown that stage. I'm not sure I'll cry when Eve and Ben go to all-day Kindergarten. Toddlers are a lot of work. I'm also not a real fan of fifth, sixth, or seventh grade in general. I know it's awful to admit, but I'm getting old folks.
Seriously, there are many, many moments of my life where I look to Heaven and shake my fist- "What kind of crazy do you have to be to do this eight times?!!"
Maybe I shouldn't write blogs on days like today because these moments are temporary.
And, even though there are parts of mothering that I struggle with, there is still nothing I'd rather do with my life. Nothing. (I'm talking long-term here, short-term I'd take a week vacation somewhere exotic.) I chose this life and I still choose it. It is absolutely a sacrifice- but it is also an investment.
I am here when Ben learns a new word. I get to teach Eve her ABCs and hear her sing made-up songs as she plays. And, those hugs, the smiles, the cute things they say, the peaceful moment at night when they are all asleep and Heaven whispers you are doing a great work.
We eat breakfast together every day. I do their hair, I find their shoes. I feel their emotions and I teach them how to navigate through them. I'm here when they get home. They yell "Moooooom, I'm home!" And, I answer them. Every single day. Oh, how those big kids need someone who is here during those magical transition times. Soon enough they will be on their own. I am shaping their foundation. I am their inner voice, their confidence, their hope. I love that part.
My kids have each other, and they have me. Always. I am their constant. I give them my best efforts every single day. Sometimes I absolutely fail, but most days they are some of the luckiest kids around.
I hate the days I hate my job.
But, somehow the cranky times make the good times a little better.
I remember being surprised when Jakob was a baby, that there was so much of mothering I didn't like. I wasn't prepared for the depth of sacrifice I would have to make. I remember feeling great sympathy for mothers in general-- I always wanted to be a mom, I thought, and mothering was dang hard for me. How does anyone do this?
Now, I know.
We were not meant to live forever in the Garden of Eden. True joy is the product of genuine effort for a good cause. Everything good in life takes dedicated effort to produce. I firmly believe that as I parent my children I am doing the BEST work. As I serve them, even when it's hard, I love them more.
Yes, there are parts of this job that I hate. But, I still LOVE being a mother. I'm so grateful for my eight.
Even when I don't love a task, I still love my life.
Life is good.