It’s a Hard-Knock Life
This mothering thing, it’s hard.
Yes, it’s hard being a dad, too, but I personally have no experience with that. I can only speak from this particular mom’s point of view. I should also preface this by saying that I think it’s difficult for all mothers, and I’m certainly not here to compare who has the worst circumstances. I think that there’s always someone who has it harder, but that doesn’t mean what all moms do everyday is easy, either, regardless of finances, careers, disabilities, family/support, marital status, etc.
It’s hard taking care of needy little people all the time, little people who aren’t rational, who tend to yell for no reason, constantly demanding more than I want to give. It’s hard to constantly second-guess myself, wondering if I’m doing a good job–if they’re eating enough vegetables, if they’re getting sick yet again, if I yell too much (yes), if I read to them enough (no), if we do enough fun things together, if I should say yes to them more. Of course, I’m also wondering what generally healthy meal I can get them to eat without a battle (or bribery, on a good night) because for some reason, the unreasonable people expect dinner every night… and then, they want drinks. And drink refills, when they spill what I gave them the first (and second) time. It doesn’t concern them much that I probably didn’t get much sleep last night and all I want is to not be touched for five minutes, and maybe for a chance to nap.
It’s hard to decide who needs her mommy more: the baby who is done with hanging out on the floor and would like to be fed, or the toddler who woke up too early, angry at everything and has to be wrestled into snuggling for a few minutes–which is what she really does want.
It’s hard getting ignored and yelled at and told that I’m mean when I’m trying to get my kids to behave or follow a simple command. They push me to the end of my patience, and then they push me some more. I sometimes think, “I can’t do this anymore. I just can’t do this,” although I’m fully aware that I don’t have a choice, nor do I really want one.
It’s not really surprising to me to find that I’m selfish, lazy, and impatient. God decided to use a magnifying glass in the shape of three little girls to point out my faults until they’re glaringly obvious. I’m sure it’s for my own good; in order to correct them I have to know what to work on. However, it’s easy to think in lofty goals of getting all the things done, with a gentle, patient spirit, and quite another thing when faced with thinking up a dinner idea at 5:00 when the kids are crazy and whiny and already complaining about what I haven’t yet served them. I get frustrated with them on a daily basis, a constant lesson in giving up control and how I think things should go.
It’s hard, yes, but that makes the victories sweeter. In the past two days, I’ve caught each of the bigger girls making their baby sister laugh. I grin when I see Sophie do a funny little side-shuffle down the hall when it’s time to tuck her in. Everyday, Grace greets me after school by running at me and shouting, “Mommy!” repeatedly, as if it’s been 7 years and not 7 hours since I’ve seen her last. Today, Sophie proclaimed that her lunch was “dee-wicious!” and last night, Grace ate without complaining, even though I know the meal was not something she cared for. I find books sprawled next to Gemma’s usual haunts, because the girls “read” to Gemma to entertain her when I can’t pick her up the second she fusses. When the kids set out their play food and dishes, they cross themselves and pray before pretending to eat.
Yes, this mothering thing, it’s hard, but I know I’m a much better person for it.