I absolutely love being a mommy, but being a mommy is hard. For me, personally, it has been the absolute hardest thing I have ever done. Running a business had its own chaos, but it was organized somehow. There was a sense of order. It was nothing. like. this.
Between my two children, I hear “Mommy!” at least 791 times a day . . . on a good day. It goes up from there. It is a constant call I hear that started somewhere between those first words and first steps and will probably go on well past the first grade, those first games and recitals, and possibly up to those first crushes. This season of mommyhood is a challenging time of selflessness, sleepless nights, and constant teaching, teaching, teaching.
–Let’s remember to pray before we eat. Fold your hands like this and close your eyes.
-Hold your toothbrush like this and scrub your teeth. Let’s get all of those sugar bugs! Oh no, don’t just suck out all of the toothpaste. We need to spit it out. . . like. . . this. Oh well, we’ll try again next time.
-It’s not good to stick out your tongue at your friends. I need you need to use your words to share your feelings instead.
-This is how you button your buttons . . . zip your pants . . . comb your hair. Here, let me help you put your pockets on your backside instead.
-I like the way you dressed yourself! Now, let’s wear something other than your pirate costume to church, ok?
-This is how you use the toilet . . . and take a bath. No, let’s not use the bath as a toilet.
And then: -What do you say? As in Mommy just gave you your toy. What do you say? Blank stare. (runs off with toy)
It is a time of constant conditioning as you repeat and repeat and repeat the same things over and over again all day long. And then to top it all off, you also have to establish boundaries.
-No, you can’t practice your karate kicks on your sister. Or the dog.
-That’s not a good way to talk to mommy or daddy.
-It’s not okay to put the dog in the dryer.
The list goes on. But then come the explanations you must provide in order to satisfy every “why” that thrusts itself out of his mouth after every single answer you give. Every single answer no matter what it is. You have to be on your game for this one.
Mommyhood is the time of changing diapers, wiping runny noses and behinds, cleaning spills, lacing shoes, and referring to myself in the third person. It’s picking up toys, stepping on squeaks, and looking all over the place for my keys . . . and phone as it takes a minimum of 40 minutes to leave the house.
But the truth is, even amongst all of the challenges, it is a time where I can grow to be more like Him as I understand what it means to have a servant’s heart. Mommyhood is truly one of the most special of times for both my children and me. It’s the time in my children’s little lives when they call on me to rub away the pain of their ouchies and booboos and actually feel better with nothing more than a kiss. It’s when I get to hold their tiny hands in mine as we cross the street, walk toward the crashing waves on shore, or in prayer after a scary dream. It’s when he reaches for my hand to look! look! look! at his latest drawing, trick, or the bug that happens to be crawling by.
It’s her hands on my face, touching my cheeks, and planting sweet little kisses all over my face. It’s cuddles on the couch as I read Goodnight Moon (by memory) for the 347th time. It’s moments of wonder as we talk about Jesus, cicada skins, acorns, the stars, and the flame of a candle. It’s the look of awe and excitement as she plants that last puzzle piece in its place or pulls her head through her shirt for the very first time. It’s hearing them squeal with delight at life’s simplest pleasures: running through the sprinkler on a hot summer day, swinging through the air, riding a tricycle down the driveway at full speed.
It’s the time of playing dress up and watching them in wonder as they bring their imaginary worlds to life, where a box is a rocket ship and a rock is a monster. It’s answering his questions as he tries to make sense of the real world he finds himself in.
-What’s a cousin?
-Why doesn’t Winnie the Pooh wear pants?
-Am I on my bed when I dream?
-Is God always with me? How?
-Will I always be bigger than my little sister?
-Is The Hulk real? Can God make a Hulk? Will he make a Hulk? I hope He doesn’t because I’m afraid of The Hulk. He won’t, right?
-Do I have big muscles?
-Mommy, can I marry you when I grow up?
Mommyhood is a combination of these moments, questions, events, and milestones found in the depths of each and every day. It is through the chaos that they emerge, but it takes an open heart to see them, to live them, to experience them fully. What can be a blessed moment can also be a great frustration if I allow it to be. It all comes down to how I choose to see my children and this brief season of childhood. Everyday, it is my prayer, that I see them the way He does.
Being a mommy can often be difficult, but its reward comes in growing together as a family. One day, I’ll watch my children fold their hands to lead others in prayer or use their words to encourage one another. Before I know it, they’ll be buttoning their own buttons and combing their own hair. Soon, the “why’s?” will begin to disappear, not because their curiosity has waned, but because I would have taught them how to explore the answers for themselves. One day, he’ll be swimming in the ocean, taking the dog for walks alone, and twelve-piece puzzles will be a thing of the past for her.
Yes, before I know it, I will no longer be “Mommy.” In the blink of an eye, without even noticing, it’ll just happen one day. He will drop the “my”, and just like that, I will be “Mom.” He won’t call for me as often or reach for my hand, and I will have to welcome my new role in his life, one that guides and facilitates as I slowly and consistently let him go . . . a little bit more each day.
But today, and for a little while longer, I am in the midst of the beautiful chaos. My children are my blessing. I am “Mommy.” And I am needed.
As I hear those sweet voices call Mommy! Mommy! for the 792nd time, I will answer that call with a smile on my face and a warmth in my heart.