Wondering how to find joy in motherhood?
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When I am out shopping with our five kids ages eight and under, I often hear one of two things.
Another shopper says with a smile (or a look of pity), “You’ve got your hands full.”
Or an older woman puts her hand on my arm and says in a sincere voice, “Enjoy every minute, honey. They grow up so fast.”
Truthfully, I’d rather hear that my hands are full.
Because is it really possible to enjoy every minute?
I am so thankful to have my lonely single days behind me. I thank God every day for my wonderful husband and our five beautiful treasures. I am beyond grateful that even though I got a late start at marriage and motherhood, God has given us five children close in age (soon to be joined by #6).
But I don’t enjoy every minute.
Like the first day of school, when we’d worked so hard to get everything ready the night before and were all set to get all five kids in the van at 7:45 — and my son discovered that the zipper on his back pack didn’t work and had one of his epic meltdowns right there on the stairs.
Or the moment that my toddler has found a marker (which is supposed to be in a lidded container) and scribbled in the front of a library book. Again. And ours is the kind of library that makes you pay for the whole book for one scribble.
Or when I step on the scale and see that I’ve gained way too much weight before the last trimester has even begun.
Then there are those moments where I can’t seem to get it together, and all the kids are clamoring, “Mom! Mom! MOM!” and I think I just might be losing my mind.
Meanwhile, dirty laundry and dishes and piles are staring at me, when what I really want to do is sit down at the computer and just write and create all by myself.
ENJOY EVERY MINUTE, HONEY.
I’m just not one of those people who says, “Well, I’m glad I have a bathroom to clean. Because it means we have a big, wonderful family!” Or -” I’m so thankful to have these dishes to do. It means we have plenty to eat!”
I think those are wonderful thoughts, but it’s just not where my mind goes.
As a single teacher, I’d call my mom after trying days and she’d tell me, “Anna, just try to enjoy your students.” And I’d wonder, “How? When there’s so much work to do?”
Motherhood is like that too, sometimes. How can I relax and enjoy myself when I’ve got dishes to do, meals to prepare, a house to clean, papers to sign, appointments to make, and errands to run…. all while I’m supposed to getting a good night’s sleep, exercising, and drinking eight glasses of water?
On the hard days, I can see the glimmers of goodness amidst the chaos.
Like the fact that my one-year-old’s pigtails stick straight up after her nap.
Or that my sensitive little boy has the most generous heart you’ll ever find.
I can treasure that moment when my challenging kindergartner bounces out the door after a morning at school – with a huge smile on his face and a big hug for me at the door of the van.
I soak up the sight of my mischievous 3-year-old peering up at me with eyelashes so long they reach his eyebrows.
And I love that even though I’m not a cuddler or even much of a hugger – my lovely eight-year-old looks right past it and still wants to snuggle in my lap at bedtime.
So how do you enjoy the crazy days of motherhood?
One thing I have is an eternal perspective. I know that even though some days are hard, and that I fall and have to pick myself up again, I have forgiveness through my Savior. I know that one day he’s going to sweep me up from the challenges of this earth and bring me to an eternal joy. It’s going to be magnificent!
Until then, he’s asked me to serve him here on earth. He wants me to stay connected to him through His Word, and to love and care for my family the way he cares for me.
I love a good book, and I love practical tips. I got both in these gems from Rachel Macy Stafford from the popular blog Hands Free Mama. In her newest book, Hands Free Life, she helps me look past daily distractions, step away from the computer, and really connect with my family.
I’m still too connected to my devices, too distracted by my to-do list, and too easily overwhelmed when things fall apart.
But Stafford understands that. She doesn’t tell me to “enjoy every minute.” She’s helping me take the pressure off myself and others, and to find the “glimmers of goodness” in everyday life.
I’m learning to look past the perceived faults in my children and focus on their strengths.
I’m learning to take those in between moments to connect with my kids instead of my phone. I’m telling myself to turn away from the computer instead of typing with two hands and listening with one ear.
I’m biting my tongue instead of saying “hurry up” when we really don’t need to be in a rush anyway.
My goal is to make the most of this beautiful life God has given me. I may not find it easy to thank God for my messy house. But I can learn to find the blessings in all the little pieces of this crazy, messy, blessed life we call motherhood.
Thank you, Rachel.
My favorite posts from Hands-Free Mama
- How to miss a childhood
- Six words you should say today
- The day I stopped saying hurry up
- To build (or break) a child’s spirit
© 2015, Anna G. All rights reserved.