You should know before reading, this is not a blog that ends in a solution. I mean, Jesus is always the answer, He is good to fill every broken space. But the point of this blog is more to assure you that you’ve got a friend whose body is equally riddled with mom-guilt on the frontlines.
If you are in the muddy trenches of toddlerhood, this one is for you. For us.
Also, I’m actually not totally sure that’s mud, but I stopped asking questions 28 months ago!
Anyway, is anyone else not adjusting to motherhood the way you always dreamed you would?
I’ll just say this, social media and the devil are liars. Do you know how many times I have pushed aside the clutter or forced toys under the couch and out of the frame to get the “perfect” picture? Probably the same number of times I’ve captioned a flawlessly filtered snap of my toddler “obsessed!”
What you didn’t see was how I had lost my head literally seconds before out of sleep-deprived frustration, and the worst part is – it wasn’t even his fault.
It was the laundry haunting me, the dishes in the sink that seemed to multiply. It was my unbrushed teeth and days-old ratty hair. It was the way I could feel my belly folding over my shorts. It was my Bible gathering dust beside my bed.
It was my eyes burning from wanting to put my phone down, but getting sucked in again by something on Facebook that could not have mattered any less than it did. It was the crumbs sticking to the bottom of my feet even though I’ve swept 482 times.
His whiny shouts for “TOAST, MOMMY!” just happened to blow at the right card and bring the house down.
Rather than obsessed I felt like a wet piece of bread on the floor. I was supposed to be a sandwich, but somehow I wound up here, soggy and slowly molding.
Dr. Michaeleen Doucleff said it like this in her book Hunt, Gather, Parent:
“Truth is, I didn’t know how to be a good mother. Never before had I been so bad at something that I wanted to be good at. Never before had the gap between my actual skill and the skill level I desired been so crushingly wide.”
I put my face in my hands and breathed deeply until my lungs couldn’t hold any more air. I love my babies, with every fiber of my bone-tired being I love them, and okay, I am generally obsessed with them, but in this moment I was struggling to enjoy them.
I’ve never said that out loud.
This gift, the very thing for which I have prayed for as long as I’ve known the English language; I was struggling to be excited about motherhood. Not always, but right now. Whew. Struggling.
This is a lot different than being eight years old, dropping my baby dolls off at the church nursery and accidentally leaving them there until the next weekend.
This is hard. And I smell funny. And according to Instagram, I’m doing something wrong because I haven’t lost the baby weight and as a first-generation gentle parent, I feel like that is going about as well as trying to put footie pajamas on an angry octopus.
I want to raise kind, intentional, kingdom-minded humans. At the end of the day, I just want to do right by them, but by the start of the next, I’m still reeling and emotionally hungover from the last 24 hours.
AND NO ONE IS TALKING ABOUT IT.
So, let’s start the conversation. Let’s cling to Jesus and each other. Let’s be real and raw. Let’s fight, with fire in our bellies. Let’s teach. Let’s learn. Let’s run. Let’s rest. Let’s give grace but let us also receive it.
I know I’m not alone in this, and neither are you.
Your weariness is welcome here.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart (Hebrews 12:1-3).