Motherhood is hard. Really, really hard. Really sanctifying, stretching, and sacrificial. (I totally did not plan on 3 “S’s”, must be my SBC upbringing. Ha!)
Ever since I was a child myself, I looked forward to the day when I would have my own children to nurture. Or, more probably, boss around, because as the oldest child, that’s what I really loved doing. But as I grew older, I really did desire to nurture and love my own children. I prayed for them and (not so patiently) waited for them. I read, and continue to read, books on pregnancy, birth, and how to be a good parent. I thought that I was pretty prepared. But I was so wrong. Nothing, nothing can prepare you for the emotional highs and lows of parenting except for actually parenting. I’ve realized that my view of motherhood was intensely romanticized and did not account for bone weary exhaustion, or just the desire to have five minutes all to myself.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am 100% in love with my children and they are my greatest joys. I am not complaining about these precious babies that I still can’t believe are mine. I am simply saying that I had no clue what I was in for. I had no clue how much I would love these little darlings. I had no clue how full my heart would be. I had no clue how terrified I would become of losing them, or hurting them, or messing up.
I had no clue how difficult it is to teach and model for a child a life lesson or truth that I haven’t mastered yet. And I’ll give you an example. Last night, Andrew and I got about 3 hours of sleep, or at least, that’s how it feels. We’ve had a week of really awful nights that have made me consider reconsidering my views on sleep training, and we are just so tired. But I have been trying to teach Jane that being tired is not an excuse for being mean to others, and in order to really teach it, I must live it as well. So today, though it’s not over, I’ve had to choose not to allow things to get under my skin. Fortunately, in His infinite mercy and grace, God saw fit to give us beautiful weather today, and a good chunk of time outside this morning has improved the spirits of all in our house. I am not good at being kind when I’m tired. Not at all, so a moment like I had this morning is a real victory for me as I try to teach my children how to love others. But here’s the thing, they can’t even appreciate that I’m doing it! And I know this is just one instance, a small one, but I also know that there will be many more like it, and many more surrounding a host of issues that I haven’t mastered.
My children are incredible. Simply because they are children, and without doing anything but being children, they have started to peel away sin and selfishness from my heart. They are the mirror in which I can see just how unloving, cynical, proud, and stubborn I am. They have forced me to face parts of myself that I cannot stand. They have forced me to mature. They have forced me to become a better person. And for that, and so many, many more things, I thank God for these darlings. And I beg that He would give us the courage and the grace to parent our children well.