Here I sit again. It’s 9pm and the exhaustion of the day has caught up with me. Most days I just collapse, blindly make a cup of tea and fall onto the couch, knit a bit, catch up with some reading, listen to the radio or zone out to whatever looks good on Netflix.
Some other nights I really think about how much work it really is, like tonight, and I just feel the need to throw it out into the world. I need to create some sort of cosmic balance. I love the posts I read about family and home…the sweet, sweet posts that remind me about the joys of raising my children, the importance of creating purpose in our family and my own life. Balance and breathing, wholesome foods and organized play spaces. It’s all good, it’s all important, it’s all beautiful. But I also wish I heard more of these moms say exactly what I’m thinking right now:
CRAP, this is HARD. This is really, really HARD.
And I don’t mean this in a whiny, poor me sense. I feel that too some days. I mean it more in a sense of honoring how incredibly difficult this thing called motherhood truly is. I don’t think we do that enough. We think it to ourselves, we complain to our friends, but we (and I’m talking bloggers here) are not very good at honoring the work and effort we put into these people. We like to make it look simple and beautiful but the truth is, it is so so very hard, especially when you make all the efforts to do your best to just not suck as a mom.
I think about my day today….5:30am up for school, big boys out by 6:45, clean up, Spinner off to speech class, grocery store, rush home to meet Knittykid’s bus, Empty six bags of groceries (“stocking up?” “No, ha ha, I have three boys. This will be gone in a few days”) Throw out some yogurt and grapes, rush to an appointment, drag sleeping boys out of van and have them miraculously stay asleep only to fall asleep yourself and realize you’ve lost a precious hour of quiet. Stare at paperwork and computer for an hour and a half trying to make some sense of your finances and to-do lists for the week….wake boys up so they might still go to sleep tonight and welcome home Math Boy, who is starving. Watch as they inhale a pound of pasta, more yogurt and a bowl of grapes. Manage the chaos of three boys playing, try to pick up, tackle a days worth of dishes and then put them all back in the car, drop of at Kung Fu, the littles to the park to try to burn off some energy, back to make a dinner everyone decides they hate. Feel extra crabby that the Skeptic is stuck working past bedtime yet again. Clear dishes, argue about clean-up, nearly have a stroke watching Math Boy pick up 1,000 legos one…..by…..one for 30 minutes. Throw littles in the tub, clean up two gallons of water, get them all in pj’s and then remember…Lent.
I’m tempted to skip the weekly devotional. But I remember what’s important. I think “it will calm us” and we circle up, say the blessing, light the candle and I think I almost feel like I’m having one of those beautiful blog worthy moments, when I notice that Math Boy is secretly playing with legos behind him, Spinner has found a harmonica and is now blowing it loudly, Knittykid is grabbing at the matches and they are arguing over the jar of water…. that blissful moment of peace we had is gone, just like that. I sigh loudly and tell them to just go to bed but bless his heart, Math Boy picks up on my disappointment and somehow convinces his brothers they should sit down and “let mom finish” (even though a minute earlier he had been saying this was boring). And finish we do….off to bed, tuck in, read stories and stumble down to do the dishes. It’s 9pm and things are done enough.
Which is when I think about the t-shirt I have half finished up in my work room, still waiting to be my February Monthly Apparel item and I how I am just too tired to sew. And I think about my father, one of four brothers, who ends each story about his childhood shaking his head with a slight chuckle saying “Poor, poor mother…”
I decide I need to just write rather than sew. And instead of posting a sweet picture of three pairs of little boy hands around a candle (which I could have done, and just written about that precious peaceful minute of calm we four had, making you all think I spend my life raising these boys in some sort of peaceful boy-bliss) I will also take the time to honor the challenges, To ramble, (which I know I’ve done), to balance what we all see out here.
Worth it? Every difficult second, hands down is worth what these beautiful boys give back to our lives. It’s what will get me up at 5:30 tomorrow to do it all again. But tonight I’m just going to let myself say that these amazing little people are really, really hard work. Mothering is not easy and it’s okay for it not to be easy, or neat, or pretty. It’s supposed to challenge us, push us.
So if you’re a parent, take a moment to honor the work and the effort you put into your family every day. And then don’t feel bad if all you want to do right now is lie around on the couch. There will be another day to sew that t-shirt or finish that hat. As for me, I’ve got a Project Runway finale to go finish up and a cup of tea with my name on it. You’ll see that t-shirt another day! (There really is a t-shirt, I swear….and a dress.)
Lovely place settings??? Nope, this is how we set the table around here…..
6 responses to “An essay in which motherhood is not made to look easy…..”
I love this post. I have two children, and they’re both girls but I think we’ve been through every variation of what you describe over the last few days. Throw in homework and preteen moodiness and you’d have us perfectly.
You’re right, it is hard, harder than any job i ever got paid for, and my house is a mess and i am permanently shattered, but I can guarantee you that when my elder daughter comes home from a two night school trip tomorrow I will hold her tight and forget all about it.
It sounds corny, but I think we’re all in this together …
In a very few years ( which will seem like minutes) you will turn around and those boys will be gone. Fully functioning (you hope!) grown ups with busy independent lives. You will have all the time in the world to sew and read and garden and you will ENJOY it. But sometimes, you will look back at those chaotic years with nostalgia and tou will miss the cuddles and tears and noise – only sometimes !
Well said….totally worth it, yet totally exhausting (to put it lightly). Loved reading this. Thanks for sharing and hang in there! 🙂
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We watched “Life with Father” on Netflix the other night and all I could think of was “Four boys – Youngest Child is busy enough!” Enjoy the naps and the knitting when you can . . .
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
A million thank yous from a mother in Wales trying to be the best she can and often falling short of her own goals.