So without further ado.....here's Sarah, from Clover Lane.
A couple days before this guest post was due I thought of doing one of two things. Declining the invitation or at least asking for a week long extension. My excuse? I just wasn’t presently in the right frame of mind to write anything positive about mothering and family life. Nothing. Nada.
See, I had a terrible day. No, it was a terrible week. Oh, who am I kidding make it a month. I was tired to the core. Exhausted really. We had all just back from a vacation I wasn’t really up for in the first place (one that involved a 40 hour round trip) and it was anything BUT a vacation for me. I had 4 children to get ready for school, long supply lists and the hundreds of details necessary to successfully pull that transition off were muddling my brain. I had pulled a muscle trying to transition from girl push-ups to boy push-ups (never again will I attempt this) in the new workout routine I was really loving and finally consistent with. I had been counting on that exercise-induced serotonin more than ever and instead it was replaced with searing pain upon breathing, talking, moving. NOT good timing for an injury. I had two teenagers challenging my every decision, making me doubt that I had it in me to properly mother them into adulthood. I had a toddler hitting some terrible 2’s, a 6 year old who’d screech every time his brother came near him and a middle child who was so good I felt guiltily like he unfairly floated under the radar for weeks without attention. Because I was so overwhelmed, I was in that awful mindset where I was comparing everything I did every day to my husband’s responsibilities, and of course, I was coming out WAY ahead. Resentment started to set in.
I can’t do this, I thought. I can’t write about family in my state of mind.
And then it struck me. Oh yes I can.
Because it’s a lie if I don’t.
THIS is part of it all. I can’t deny this! The hard days. The hard weeks. The hard months. And face it, there are hard YEARS. The kind of hard that makes you close that door to your bedroom and sob. The kind of hard that makes you want to pack that bag, get in that mini-van, yell “it’s all you!” to your husband and drive till you hit…anywhere else. The kind of hard that makes you doubt everything…even doubt that anyone else has ever felt like this. It’s a lonely feeling when every other mother seems to be smiling all around you. “Maybe I’m the only one struggling here”, you start to think. “Maybe I’m the only one who isn’t loving every moment of this”. “Maybe I’m over my head, up to my eyeballs, have some parenting disability that everyone can see but me.”
Just when we think we’ve got going on, just when everything is going smoothly, we are challenged with scenarios we never dreamed possible. While we are mothering, life doesn’t stop for us moms. There’s colic, there’s potty training, there are school struggles, there’s teenage angst. There are job losses, hospital visits, there are elderly parents, there is sickness ,there is death. There is over-scheduling, learning disabilities, worry, OH the worry. Will they turn out OK? There is separation anxiety, hurt feelings, stitches, crabby people, long lines, tight budgets, complicated math homework, intricate projects, and pressure-cooker holidays. And God forbid, something happens to US. A pulled muscle, a bad case of PMS, fertility woes…the list is long, because after all, we are human too!
But we are also mothers who must continue to be mothers through it all. The good, bad, and ugly. There are no leaves of absence for us, no sick days, no time off, little or no personal days, and gosh, no quitting. There’s hardly time to lock yourself in the bathroom for a good cry.
By now, 16 years into it I still have to remind myself of this, on the hard days:
When we feel alone, we must remember that no one coasts through motherhood, no one is immune to the struggles of life. We ALL have our challenges, as different as the next. We all have our days, weeks, months, years where we everything goes so smoothly and we all have the same where we flounder, struggle, doubt and climb up out of it with even more strength, compassion, knowledge then we possessed before.
But the truth is, we are the spirit of our homes, us mothers, and we set the examples of how to deal with the hills and valleys of life and that in itself is SO overwhelming…especially when you are deep in the valleys . We are expected to continue on and walk on through and head up that hill to see what’s on the other side and boy, sometimes that uphill walk seems difficult enough to be impossible. But always, it seems like we are given the strength to keep on going. The love we have for our children is the source of that strength, and it is bottomless and always present.
When I was pregnant with my first, I used to think that being a mother would look like a page out the Pottery Barn Kids catalog. Everything in it’s place, bright days, glowing mother, peaceful baby, cute rocking chair in a neat room. Now I know better. But I still need a reminder thrown at me here and there, and life does a good job of sending me one or two or more just to keep me on my toes.
Being a mother isn’t about everything going as planned. It’s about bad days too.
It’s about knowing that during the bad days, weeks, months, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. I must continue on.
Continue on LOVING the path of life that I am traveling, knowing these challenges will build fortitude for those yet to come. I must continue on LOVING the chance that I have to learn from mistakes, to find solutions to problems, to grow as a mother. I must continue on LOVING the struggles, trials and long days that I am SO grateful to be here to experience.
Like Deirdre, who started off our celebration, Sarah is not LDS and I so appreciate their willingness to participate in our celebration of family by writing how important families are. Thank you, ladies!
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