Motherhood is Complicated

If someone depicted in a painting the emotions the average mother experiences in a typical day, the painting would be disturbing.

When I went to register my oldest son for kindergarten I felt elated and horrified at the same time.  Within five minutes I dreamed of all that Isaac would learn, the friends he would make, the experience and maturity he would gain.  And then I planned all I would do with one child in school all day.  I wouldn’t have to think up ways for him to expend some of that boundless energy, but rather, he’d come home tired, hopefully happy, and ready for some snuggle time with mommy. I would spend more one-on-one time with my youngest and even indulge in some me-time if we hired a sitter sometimes.  One child seemed like a breeze compared to two.

But then, within seconds of those blissful thoughts, I remembered Columbine, pedophiles, school bullies and mean teachers.  And what about that astounding smile that I wouldn’t get to see for six hours a day?  Someone else will see that ray of sunshine, hear those sensitive thoughts and admire that gorgeous face.  Then there’s lunch-time and gym-time and will-you-be-my-friend?-time.  By the time I got home, I was choking back tears, and no, I wasn’t hormonal.

And then there’s the elation I felt when my youngest finally slept through the night.  We had done the hard thing and finally let him cry a little bit, and it worked.  Yet, I woke up every two hours, wondering if he were ok, holding myself back from checking  him (That door creaks and would surely wake him up and ruin everything!).

There was the relief when Isaac finally put his shoes on by himself and the incredible frustration that it generally takes him three times longer than if I did it for him.  The delight that he and his brother love each other and like playing together, and the pounding headache that comes when the squeals and squabbles erupt.

The relief that it’s finally naptime for at least one, and the painful disappointment when it ends only an hour later, but then the breathtaking love that overwhelms when I see him standing in the crib, arms up, waiting for his deliverance from solitude.   And that delicious, cuddly sleepiness of those post-nap moments.

And we moms wonder why we’re exhausted at the end of each day!  Our bodies and hearts weather so many conflicting emotions so many times a day, it’s a wonder we don’t implode by dinnertime.

I didn’t even mention the pride we feel when our husbands are asked to speak at a conference and the dread that obfuscates that pride as we realize it means time away from home and no relief for us at the end of the day.

I’ve come to understand that this never ends.  I have heard from reliable sources that sending children off to college is both exciting and excruciating.   That meeting “The Girl” is at once thrilling (“The daughter I never had!  The wedding to plan!”) and heartbreaking (“I am replaced: no longer First Lady.”)

Weaning is both liberating and sad.

And you know, as wonderful as my husband is, there are times when he just doesn’t get it.  Not that he doesn’t have emotions towards our kids.  He also is sometimes sad, mad or glad.  But it’s not as intense, not as simultaneous.  And he is sometimes at a loss.

But God is never at a loss.  He created these crazy things called maternal emotions; indeed, they are a part of who He is.  So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them (Gen 1:27).  He knows how to comfort and reassure.  He is always interested and He always has the answer.

Posted in Motherhood.

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