Good Night Arthur J. Elsley
There has been two great articles written in the last couple weeks about being a mom and all the work and sacrifice it takes on a daily basis. Don't Carpe Diem written over at the blog Momastery talks about how it is an impossible ideal to always enjoy being a mom especially to young children. Her point is a good one, we can't always enjoy every single second like the old grannies tell us too, but we can appreciate and value the beauty that is our children and the gift of being able to raise them. Its a fine line of course, and usually for me the times where I look at my kids and wonder how I can possibly be the mother to such perfect beings is followed within minutes of screaming, demanding, and general chaos. In other words, being a mom to young kids can feel like you're somewhere between a never ending hard place and the most beautiful, comforting, and special place you couldn't even imagine. Its a place of severe opposites somehow co-existing.
But just because it can be a super tough slog through the toddler years doesn't mean moms should have to sacrifice living a happy full life. Jennifer Fulwiler writes a great article about how moms of young kids shouldn't have to wait until the babies are school age in order to have goals and aspirations aside from their kids. She encourages moms to thrive instead of just survive. And speaking from the very depths of the "survival" mode right now, I have to agree!
The survival mode is a non-negotionable part of motherhood. I just can't imagine a mom not going through this at one time or another. It usually happens after having a baby, and you survive through the tough newborn stage of very little sleep and adjusting to a new person in your family. Survival to me means barely getting the dishes done and only the dishes done in the course of one whole day because the baby is crying so much, or taking care of more than one child on less than two hours sleep, or the fact that you don't have any other interest than finding more sleep. This time in life was super tough for me especially after the births of my first two babies. I remember thinking that this is what parenthood must be like-I was doomed for the rest of my life!
Thank goodness the survival mode doesn't last forever. Somehow over the course of a couple months newborn grow and somehow you can carve out time to do things that interest you, hang out with your older kids, and spend good quality time with the husband again. You slowly realize you can be a human being AND a mother. Its a revelation!
I know some moms though that seem to buy into survival mode completely. They give up what interested them before babies, or cultivating new interests, stop trying to dress well, get out of the house, etc. etc. I wish everyone could know that even with small children not every goal, interest, and passion has to go by the wayside. Carving out time a little bit at a time to do something for yourself, or a hobby, or something thats just fun is possible!
We all need a little encouragement in that direction from time to time. Sometimes the impossible tough moments take over motherhood and all else seems lost in the clouds of tantrums and diaper changing. We've got to keep reminding ourselves of the good moments in our days and keep the inspiration to continue what we enjoy through the tough toddler days!