I had a thought today —I don’t know who I am as a mother, and that scares me. I always thought that motherhood was going to be the most amazing life change ever! A life change that I have been waiting and praying for. A life change that I believed to be so important, that I distinctly remember praying as a teenager, telling God that he was not to finish his good work and send his son to rescue us all through grace and redemption until I had the chance to get married and have a family. I wanted this life THAT much, and here I am living it on the daily. A dream come true. Literally! But, then why am I struggling with this new reality so much?
Sure there are good days and those good days are great. But when the bad days come, they come at me like a robber hiding in the shadows. Right now, the bad days are upon me and it feels like such a heavy weight that I couldn’t move it even if I mustered up all the strength I had. Right now, the bad days are winning. The bad days always seem to win over the good days. The dark atmospheric cloud that follows me every where I go, always seeming to block out the little bits of light and hope that try so hard to stick around to bring me joy and remind me of how much I wanted and love this life.
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The good days are magical. I wake up and love the life that I am living. I am so happy to be married to my best friend and to be blessed to do ministry along side him. A pastors wife; the life I knew was for me. I look at our little girl and think that there is no other child in the world who is as funny, energetic, and beautiful as her. We lucked out! I am happy to stay at home and get into a routine and make my home nice and beautiful. I am learning so much about myself and growing in so many different ways; something I am very proud of. I am excited for what is to come. So many big plans and goals for the future that I can see them becoming reality – becoming part of our lives. On these good days, life is as it should be. The struggle comes and goes as quickly as a bee buzzing by. It comes in and out as the day goes on, but never actually sticks around long enough to leave a lasting burn of frustration or sadness.
But then, the bad days. The bad days are life sucking. The bad days leave me feeling empty and lost. The bad days are so confusing because when they come for me, I’m not ready. When the bad days rear their ugly, little treacherous faces, I am suddenly stuck. I am all of a sudden unable to see the beauty that is my life. While I know I am blessed to have this amazing man, who loves me despite my current struggle to navigate motherhood with grace, and this child who is the little miracle that we prayed for, I can’t help but be angry. Angry and sad. Angry, sad and lost…and confused…and hurt…and worried…and… The bad days are so heavy that I struggle to put into real, effective words exactly how I feel. Dark. Weighted. Tired. Emotional. Angry. Dizzy. Lost.
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Today was one of those bad days. I woke up feeling angry. Rationally I knew that I had no reason to be angry with Jesse just because it was my turn to wake up with the little one again – but angry I was. How was it my turn again? It always seems to be my turn? Somehow whenever it’s my turn, little miss never seems to want to cooperate. She can never just take a bottle and go back to sleep (all within a 5 min time frame). No. When it’s my turn to be up with her, she always seems to need a diaper change or Tylenol for her aching teeth, or she just seems to want to play. I should be happy that when she sees me she gets so giddy that her little body just can’t contain itself and she smiles the biggest, not so gummy anymore, smile while shaking uncontrollably with excitement. I should love this. But I don’t. I get frustrated. I just want to go back to sleep! Why doesn’t she? I get angry.
The day (like many others) started much too early for my liking. Little miss decided that it was time to wake up and it was my job to obey. At this point in the game, whatever the 6month old wants the rest of the house to do, the rest of us must oblige. So awake we are. Awake for most of the day, because proper, full naps would obviously be out of the question. The day drags on and on. I try to do things for me. Do things that I will enjoy while she plays with her toys. A perfectly fair exchange, I think. Little Miss does not. What I could have easily done within 2.5 hrs of my day, it takes me almost 11.
I am so ready for this day to be over, but Jesse had already told me that he was going to be getting home late today because he was on a deadline at work. Work. A job that I am normally so thankful he has. A job that I know he loves, which makes me happy along side him. Not today. Never during the bad days. The anger rises. How is it fair that he can leave the house and go do something he loves for 11 hrs while I sit at home for that same amount of time enduring one of these dreadful “bad days”? I envy the fact that he can leave. I envy the fact that he gets to do something he loves throughout the day. I envy the fact that his days are not filled with incessant whining and crying. I envy him all while knowing this is what I signed up for, and when I signed up for it — I did so willingly and with a smile.
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But I didn’t know it would be like this. I thought I was going to Love it all the time. I thought that being a stay at home mama was going to be what fulfilled me and helped me realize my God-given purpose. If you had asked me 4 days ago, I would have said that I did love it and that this was who and what I was meant to be. But today? Today I’m angry. Today I am so frustrated that in this new life that we have created I have no time for me. No time to do the things that I love, or at least to discover what those things are. I’m angry that while Jesse gets to leave and enjoy his 8-11 hr day out of the house, I’m lucky if I get 3-5 hrs to myself in a week.
But this is what I signed up for. This is the life that I love. Just not today.
I don’t love it today — and that is okay. It is okay for me to admit that there are good days, bad days and really bad days. I think it’s okay that I don’t love being a mama 24/7/365. Once the anger and frustration of the day start to come down and fade, I start to gain clarity. I realize that just because I don’t love being a mama on any given day, does not mean that I don’t love who’s mama I am. I need to learn to take the good and the bad altogether and somehow allow them to coexist. It might not be pretty, or doable, most days, but showing myself some grace is a very important part of this new life that we have created. I’m a work in progress.
Have you ever felt like this as a mother? Do you struggle to show yourself grace in times of struggle? We are all only human. Being a mama is hard and often, lonely. But if we can start to see ourselves as awesome mama’s our thought patterns will slowly start to change. Extending grace to ourselves is key. We are doing the best that we can (at any given moment on any given day). Your babies love you and think that you are the best mama out there (even if they can’t say it) Trust me! They don’t know any different. Your love is the love that they know and craves every day. After every nap when you go into that room, turn on that light and look into that crib, that little one is always happy to see you come into that room. That little one feels safe and secure knowing that their mama is there loving them the best way she knows how!
**If you are finding the struggle just a little too much — seek help. Be brave. Tell a family member or friend. Maybe even seek counselling. It’s normal and common (or so I am told) You are not alone. Be encouraged, Mama!
I would love to hear from you and know how you fare in this part of your Mamahood journey. 🙂