Tuesday, 29 March 2016
The hardest parts of mothering have been somewhat unexpected and caught me by surprise.
Sure, in the early days it was the lack of sleep and a missing sense of order to my world. It then turned to the difficulty of making hundreds of decisions every day, and living with a foggy head that just did not function how it should (I claimed baby brain a lot longer than was probably necessary!). But those were all phases that eventually were over.
There is another part of mothering that now, two and half years later, is not gone, nor do I see it leaving anytime soon. It is the part of giving up yourself in every way imaginable. It is self-sacrifice.
I thought I was prepared for this. I thought I knew what sacrifice was. After all, I was a Christian most of my life, and making sacrifices for others has been modelled to me my whole life. But I was wrong. Mothering has brought a new light to the selfishness in me.
Recently I talked with a childless, unmarried friend about the shock that parenthood was after 7 years of being married without kids. As much as it was something we longed for, something we planned for, and something we expected - it was a drastic change to how we lived our lives. It wasn't just the big ways people think of, like not being able to get up and go on a trip to Europe at the drop of the hat. It was the small ways, like never being able to eat your breakfast without a tiny person climbing into your lap, blocking you from your food, and stealing off your plate with grubby fingers. Even when I write that, it sounds childish and endearing. And it is. I know I will miss those moments when they are gone. But sometimes, I just want to eat my food because I am hungry and I just want to sit alone because I am grumpy and I just don't want to be bugged because I am tired. Those moments happen every day, all day long. Choosing to listen when a child interrupts your thoughts to tell you how fast the car he is playing with is going. Changing a dirty diaper in the middle of your lunchtime. Getting off the couch to help a child get to sleep when all you want to do is sit and watch TV after an exhausting day. Making food for the others, before yourself. Watching and helping them eat that food before you get to take a single bite.
All day, every day, there is sacrifice. This is not so much a post complaining, but rather a realization of how much more I need to grow. I love my children. I love being a mother. I want to love sacrifice more.
In so many ways, it is beautiful. And it is exhausting. And it is incredible. And it is sacred.