I have three kids. A four year old, a two year old and a zero year old. Guess what? Turns out, it’s busy. Like a constant string of preparing food, serving food, cleaning up food, nursing, napping, answering questions, dressing, undressing, diaper changes, activities, more feeding, feeding, feeding. Mostly it’s alright because the little kiddos that I’m ever caring for are really precious and cute, but sometimes it’s really hard. Not the physical kind of hard, though I am always physically present, but the emotional and mental stamina you have to have to keep going and going. The sacrifice of anything you. The lack of self care. The setting aside of personal feelings, goals and identity.
This stage of life for a young mother is difficult. It’s filled with beautiful moments that make it worth it, you know, dealing with all the poop, spit up and squished food 24/7. There’s a distinct sense of nostalgia already in play just knowing your little innocent cuties will be grown before you know it. All those hilarious phrases that come out of no where, the questions asked with no inhibition (‘mommy, girls don’t have wieners?!’), and the snuggles. Oh the cuddly, sweet little bodies looking for comfort after a fall, bonk or slip. The press of a sad little face buried in your neck when they’re tired, missed you or didn’t get something they wanted.
It’s a paradox. You’re lonely, but never alone. Exhausted, but an insomniac. Clearly defined yet lacking identity.
I once watched a Ted Talk about parenthood. They showed on a graph how the over all happiness of a parent is slightly lower than a non parent but the highs of happiness are far higher and the lows are lower. You never experience the sheer joy, extreme entertainment, or beaming pride that your own child brings before having a kid. But there are little things more frustrating in the world than having your two year old gift you a poopsplosions every night at 3am.
It’s very fulfilling, to be needed, wanted and busy. However, the catch is that you’re ALWAYS needed, wanted and busy. I’m an extrovert, I love being surrounded by noise, activity and people but motherhood has definitely given me a healthy appreciation for quiet moments, alone time and any sort of independent activity (showers included).
The thing is, I know this stage is short so I alternately freak out about how fast my kids are growing and wishing that they were old enough for me to not have to deal with so much poop all the time….and also, I’d love to get some sleep some day.
I’ll never in my life stop appreciating these times. The good moments fill me with inexplicable ecstasy.
When I realize the range of emotion a human is capable of can’t be fathomed.
The hard (some times very very hard) times challenge my strengths and weaknesses both. I now know that I’m able to do far and away more than I’ve ever imagined. By ‘do’ I don’t mean ‘productive’. I mean I can handle things that I hadn’t thought even existed. Both emotionally, mentally AND physically. I’m stretched thin now but I know that because I was brought to this place, I’ll be thicker and stronger than ever when I get a chance to regroup. When I come out of the phase where I have three very young children, my marriage will be stronger, my faith will be stronger, my identity…won’t be lost. If I have the endurance to tackle piles of dishes sixteen times a day, endless diapers, sleepless nights..night after night, trouble shooting sicknesses, wiping snot, washing laundry, and so so much more, then I can pretty much do anything. If my body can grow a human being, nurture them through infant hood and then repeat over and over again, then it can do anything. It may look a bit mushy and soft at the moment but it’s not weak. It’s the source of life for my infant, it functions without sleep or proper fuel sometimes. It is healing after doing things worthy of blocking out of my memory forever. It has endured and will endure.
There are many other things I could talk about when it comes to this particular place of life but that could fill, and has filled, many books. All I know is that I’m grateful for my life and have a profound appreciation for all the good that makes all the hard worth it.
(that’s right, I’m spiderman’s mom and I think that it means we’re super parents)