We’ve heard it before, it’s rough and it’s real. Overwhelmed mothers of young children can all relate. More often than not, you can’t take a shower, can’t make dinner, can’t pee, can’t do much of anything that takes longer than 15 seconds without being interrupted 6 times by an excited or disgruntled child.
I sit on the toilet, relishing these few seconds of alone time as my butt hits the seat. I take in a deep breath and exhale slowly. I’ve put on The Little Mermaid for the girls, and made the boy promise to behave and read his book. The grand plan is to pee, then prepare dinner. That’s right, I have to plan for those things. A bodily function, and cooking. I’m now mid-pee when I hear the wild stampede racing for the door. Then it’s BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM as one set of small fists, and one set of medium fists start pounding on the door. “Mommy! Mommy! Julie is being mean to me! “Mommy! Mommy! Abby pushed me! Justin wailing in the background “Mom the girls are being too loud, I can’t read my booook!” Where there was silence there is now pounding and yelling. Adding to the fun, I’m in the bathroom where the lock is busted. Instinct kicks in and I grab the handle just in time as one of them grabs the handle on the other side attempting to yank the door open. Oh the humanity!
Just one of many examples. Either someone’s mad, someone’s hurt, someone’s fighting, someone just has something they can’t wait to tell me, or all of the above. I’m there and they expect my attention whenever they want it. This can be really hard to handle, stressful, and downright frustrating. In the moments of extreme frustration and exhaustion I think to myself: all I want is one minute, just ONE MINUTE TO MYSELF! Is that too much to ask?!
But the other day I had one of those really cool eye-opening, light bulb moments. I’m so thankful for it, they don’t come often. One of my biggest fears as a mother has always been to be absent. Not absent in the physical sense. I was afraid of being there but not there. I worried about being too wrapped up in work, or too consumed by whatever is going on with myself. I’ve always wanted to be HERE for my kids. To talk with them about what they care about, to hug them when they hurt, to give them advice, to practice their ABC’s and 123’s, to read to them. I want to be here, fully present. I want them to always inherently know that they are my purpose and my focus, coming second to nothing else.
Well…I am living the dream. They demand my attention because I am here. I am here for them. They trust me with all of their physical and emotional needs. They rely on me, they need me, and I am here. I am here to give Justin advice on how to deal with his frenemies. I am here when Julie is so full of excitement that she learned how to spell a new word that she bursts into the bathroom while I’m using it. I am here when Abby wants so much just to be near me that she would rather sit on the bathroom floor and wait for me to finish my shower then wait for me a few feet away in the bedroom.
This is it, this is exactly what I want. I want the frustration, the anxiety, the stress. I want the nearness, the closeness, the love. It all goes together. This is the beautiful madness of being a mother and I’m not missing a beat! The blood, the sweat, the tears, the giggles, the smiles, the hugs, the kisses, the joy. I am here for it all, experiencing it all.
Recently while I was saying our nightly bedtime prayer, among many other things that were said in the prayer, I asked God to make me a better mother. That part must have really stuck out to Abby because as soon as we said “Amen” she said quietly, in her precious three year old voice “you are a great mom, mommy…you are a beautiful mom.”
I am here.