Discover more from Letters from a Sacred Everyday Life
Thoughts on Motherhood
There are no breaks, gratitude, and the riches of living with little ones
There are days, as a mother, when you want to be done. Not permanently, of course. You just want to take a short break so you can be something else that you are—a daughter, a sister, a wife, a friend, or even just a plain old self. You want to have a conversation without interruption. You want to enjoy celebrations and events that are happening all around you, that you physically attend without really being there. Instead of sitting down and catching up at the family reunion, you are chasing a toddler, wrangling a baby, changing a diaper, taking people up the hill to the bathroom, keeping people out of the road, applying eye drops, setting boundary lines and enforcing them. You are looking in four directions at once while trying to hold eye contact with a person you have not seen in 12 years.
And at the end of a busy day, you just want to go to sleep. Without waking all night long. You want to say, “This is what time I will go to bed. This is what time I will get up in the morning.” And you want to know that is possible.
There are times when you are looking into your husband’s eyes, and you want to stay there. But someone is knocking. And they are not going to stop. Ever. Until you get them the glass of milk or the lost dolly.
Motherhood is being available always. On call. You do try to build in some solitude into your life, but these plans are always negotiable. Because children have needs. And they are inexhaustible, even though you definitely are not.
On Sunday I embarrassed myself with a helpless outburst of tears in the church parking lot because I was overwhelmed by the relentlessness of it all. I wanted to go home. I wanted things to be easy. I wanted put motherhood on pause. I took a long 5 minutes to get myself together and then it was back to buckling the babies in the carseats and grabbing lunch for a spontaneous picnic before an afternoon of trying and mostly failing to talk to a host of people I love who were gathered in one place while I was running in ten different directions.
But then we came home, and coming home makes everything better. This place is a refuge for me. When we get settled and snap back into the rhythms that hold us here, I start reawakening to the beauty of my real life. Not the past me, or the future me, but this me. The one who still has young children, who walks a slow pace with a baby on the hip and a three-year-old at the waist, surrounded by a stair-step set of siblings. What a pleasure it is to look at that beautiful baby. How much more to hold him, to squeeze him and breathe in his wonderful fragrance. To make him smile. To touch his perfect golden curls. To hear him laugh. To talk to him and have him answer back in that slow, careful voice where every sentence is pure delight. I have been a mother long enough now to realize that this season will not last forever. And though every season has its charms, I think the whole family agrees that the babies brings out the best in all of us.
So I forget that the day was hard and the sun was hot and that motherhood has changed the whole shape of my life. I forget that there are dishes to wash and laundry to put away, that the work is never going to get done. Instead, I breathe this baby in, hold him close, and whisper a prayer of thanks that this is my life. How sweet, how beautiful, how precious it is to be a mother of little ones. To pour out my life to God on their behalf, to serve them, to care for them, to let them teach me what it means to lay down my life as a living sacrifice. This work is sacred. It is sweet. And deep down, I am thankful it does not ever stop.
If you love my writing and want to share the love, would you consider becoming a paid subscriber? This is where your love impacts my daily life.
From the podcast:
Have you ever found yourself wondering what you were thinking when you believed you were capable of raising children into adulthood? Or have you ever been overwhelmed by a season in your family when it just all seemed too much? Sometimes, this happens to me. (Ok, it happens to me a lot…) I realize that as far as motherhood is concerned, I’ve gotten in way over my head. But season by season, I am learning to look for God in each moment. This week I’m sharing a little glimpse of my life which is both extremely overwhelming and incredibly beautiful. I hope you will find some hope and comfort in this podcast. And some words to help you move forward as you walk day by day, without looking back in regret or ahead in fear, but instead, taking one step of faith at a time.
From the Family Archive:
Live from the living room with all our little ones. This is a song I wrote about both the relentlessness and sheer joy of being a mother. (If you like these videos, be sure to subscribe to Randy’s channel. That’s where we put most of our music.)
My Book is Now Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Bookshop.org, and wherever you buy books! Click the image to shop. If you would like a signed copy, you can buy it directly from my website.