There is a child crying, again. You just picked up the toys that are being hurled across the room. The laundry fairies you had hoped for never arrived, and even though it’s only noon, questions of what’s for dinner are being asked. Glancing at the door, you wonder if you could just walk out. No, you won’t leave forever, just for a moment. Silence. You long for just a few moments of silence. This motherhood thing is just not what you expected.
Somewhere on social media you saw a post saying the dishes could wait because those precious lives in front of you are more important. However, dishes can only go unwashed so long. Oh, the messages! There are so many contradicting messages out there. Spend every minute with them because time goes quickly. Step back and let them learn to play on their own. Do the dishes and have them help. Leave the dishes and play. What message will you choose? Which one will you listen to? And oh no, what if you choose wrong?
Is it any wonder why mothers are one step away from boarding the crazy train?
Motherhood Isn’t Always A Joy
Let’s be real for a moment. The ability to have children is a gift, and so is watching them grow into wonderful, healthy adults. However, between conception and leaving the nest are a whole lot of hard days. There are days that are anything by enjoyable. Can we just be honest about that? I remember when my daughter was young, and there was a day she would not stop crying. She had cried through much of the night, and as my husband left for work in the morning, I wanted to go too. The last thing I wanted was to spend the day listening to more crying. Yes, I looked at the door and wondered if it would be okay if I “accidentally” walked out and locked myself out. I would take a phone with me to call for help, but just a few moments away sounded so nice.
The crying babe is older now, and she is silly and fun on most days. But, there are still days. There are days when she won’t listen, days when I am tired of telling her the same thing repeatedly, and days she wants to test her control and digs in her heels. The majority of days are filled with laughter and peace, but friend, there are days. There are days when emotional warfare breaks out. I do not love those days.
A friend is raising a teenager who is in a season of rebellion. She knows he is trying out the whole growing up thing and trying to gain some freedom. And yet, she waffles between wanting to hug him tightly and wanting to smack him upside the head. While she is confident this season will end, and he will make better decisions, she is not finding much joy in these hard days.
The Shattered Fantasy
I think we can agree we all had a certain idea of what motherhood would be like. There would be fun and merriment, and giggles, and obedient, respectful children. No one considered the sweet cherub in our arms would one day have his or her own opinion, attitude, desires, and personality. The perfect little fantasy is quickly shattered, and with each passing day we realize how much we don’t know about motherhood.
There are days we laugh, days we want to hold onto forever. Yet, there are days we want to quickly pass. No two days are ever the same, and while that is mostly good, we sometimes wish they could be a little more similar. But, there is no script, no one is setting the stage and telling us where to stand on it. Instead, we are figuring everything out as we go, tripping and fumbling along.
How Do We Handing Joy-less days?
What can we do on those days when motherhood is not a joy?
- Pray. Pray for yourself to have wisdom and discernment. Then, pray for patience in the midst of the chaos and struggle. Finally, pray for your child.
- Be thankful. Close your eyes and think of the last really good day. Remember the sounds, the feelings, the sights. Be thankful for that day, for that moment. Rest assured, that kind of day will come again.
- Take a time-out. Your child will be fine playing in his or her room. Send them there. They can look at books, play with toys, or whatever. Set a timer, and let them know they can come out when the timer goes off. Take this time to breathe, to sit still, to read a book. Sometimes, we have to remove ourselves from a situation before we can handle it properly. (Trust me, I have failed to take my own advice here and the exploding temper wasn’t pretty, or helpful.)
- Call in reinforcements. Do you have family nearby? Ask them to babysit every now and then. Or, hire a babysitter. What you do with that time is totally up to you. Want to tackle the to do list? Go for it. Want a pedicure? Do it. Take a break. Not only do I sometimes need a break, but I realized my child needs a break from me too. Everyone wins in this scenario.
Sweet mom, not every day is going to be wonderful. Whether you have one child or ten, some days are going to be truly amazing, and others are going to make you question everything. There will be days nothing seems to go right, and no, you do not have to like those days. However, we can be thankful they come to an end. We can be grateful for the family we have been given, and the responsibility handed to us. Find joy in the fact one day is not the same as the one before.