I know, it's not really fair to blame her, but seriously, did you see how that nursery got cleaned up? The truth is that we talk all the time about how movies and books affect us in terms of creating unrealistic expectations for romantic relationships, but I don't think I had ever considered it when it comes to motherhood. The fact that unlike screen mothers, we don't have the opportunity to have take after take while we perfect our skills. We typically get one shot at situations leaving us with a single chance to scar our children for life or create a magical moment. Or, more realistically, to just live life and pray God teaches us all through it. We don't have writers scripting our words, hair and make-up to cover up the bags under our eyes or wardrobe people waiting with fresh clothes when ours end up covered in snot and a host of other fluids you'd rather not discuss.
I've had some rough moments in mothering lately. We've had our share of sickness over the last few months and while I am SO thankful none of it has been serious, it has still been trying. It's exhausting. It requires extra patience and attention and the ability to accept slobbery kisses from a 4 year old with a cold and pinkeye without worrying that your family will be the next TV movie called "Contagion: Part 2". Last night Kate started screaming that her ear hurt and she screamed non-stop for 2 hours. I held her, but I couldn't make her better. She's been on two medicines and has fought us every step of the way. That child is strong. I don't recommend birthing children who triple your strength by their 4th birthday. :) Sometimes I've been able to convince her to take it and other times it has taken Josh and I both holding her down. I go between wanting to cry and wanting to scream and have done both. I even tried singing "A Spoon Full of Sugar" but she was not impressed. Today she has decided to be a big girl and take her medicine. I know I went through this with Sarah and Eli, but it's crazy how quick you forget. It's a fresh victory in mothering the 3rd time over.
This morning as I worked on laundry load 412 since last Friday, I felt down. As I cleaned the bathroom and wiped the kitchen counters for the 95th time I felt discouraged. Sometimes it just feels so.......neverending? Pointless? I thought about my last few weeks and all the things I haven't kept up with or haven't accomplished. I found myself thinking, 'All I've done is hold babies. All I've done is laundry. All I've done is give medicine. All I've done is get on to kids. All I've done is fix snacks. All I've done is'.....well you get the picture.
And then it hit me. All I've done is be a Mama. It hasn't been perfect and I won't win any awards. It may not mean a thing in the world to most people. But, it matters to three little people who mean the world to me. I kept thinking how I have obviously prayed for patience too much in my life. I wanted to be mad and frustrated. But I kept thinking of Galatians 5:22 and how patience is a fruit of the Spirit. I remember one time being told that that means we receive that fruit when we become believers. Meaning, I've already been gifted patience, I just have to grow it. Mine's gonna be big, y'all. :)
I wish that the making of a Mama included well coiffed hair, carpet bags full of fun things and magic songs that cleaned rooms and made taking medicine fun. For me, the making of this Mama has come from trying circumstances and desperate prayers that come from that place you reach when there isn't an ounce of pride left to get in the way. Mama muscles are in your heart and begin to grow when a baby is placed in your arms for the first time and continue to strengthen with every growth spurt, life lesson, and even letting go. It's the making of a Mama. And sometimes it's a little easier taken with a spoon full of sugar, or my favorite, cheek sugars, so take 'em while you can get 'em, even if they are germy. :)