Sunday, August 12, 2018

The Despair of Motherhood

Sometimes I wake up and I'm so tired I can't move. I lay there next to Rebekah (usually the one who woke me up) and try to figure out how to get myself out of bed and start my day. My mind starts to run through my to-do list. Presently my toddler wakes up, crawls on top of me, asks if it's daytime and demands to go downstairs. With me, of course. Because going downstairs by yourself when you are three is impossible.

Yesterday Reuben, the aforementioned three-year-old, threw a thirty minute no-holds-bar tantrum about sharing his toys with his sister. I tried to patiently explain to him that sharing is fun, and that he only had to share one of his balls (he has a ball pit with hundreds of balls in it) but he wasn't having it. I told him if he didn't want to share he could take his toys to his room and play there. He didn't want to play there--he wanted the impossible; for the baby to not want to touch "his toys" even though she is six months old and into anything that is in front of her.

Today he threw a tantrum about toast. I'm talking screaming, crying, throwing himself on the floor hysterics. He didn't want the toast he had asked for earlier (when I gave him a choice between toast or oatmeal). I explained to him he asked for toast, and thus I had made toast. So he had to eat toast. This was apparently an unreasonable expectation.

When my toddler has these extreme outbursts of emotions I am always caught off guard. I mean, it isn't rational (to me at least) to cry and scream over toast, or sharing. Lets not even talk about the crying in public.

That reminds me of something else that happened. Last week I forgot my baby carrier for Becky so I put her in the stroller. I didn't realize that Reuben thought of the stroller as his. He screamed for about 10 minutes about it. People stared. But I couldn't hold a baby and buy whole chickens and eggs and things, so it had to be done. I think Reuben is still upset.

Sometimes when everyone is crying and I am exhausted, I despair. I wonder if this season of small babies is ever going to end and I am ever going to sleep through the night. I wish people would stop touching me and demanding my time--I dream of getting a moment to myself to breathe, but even in the shower I am accosted by my husband who can't find clothes, diapers, or kitchen utensils like a grown adult.

I wonder if Jesus feels the same way about my prayers.

Motherhood is harder than I ever imagined. It is like being refined by fire. Many times I feel like I  can't go on. Many times I fall on my face before Jesus and try, by his strength alone, to keep pushing forward. Navigating my marriage, interpersonal relationships, cooking, teaching my children, cleaning my house and chores--and attempting to care for my own hygiene and interests is a complicated juggling act that requires me to be the best person I can be at all times.

Even at my lowest I feel the tender love of Jesus calming the choppy waters with his everlasting peace. He reminds me that raising children for his glory is my purpose, and that caring for my husband is the way I worship God, and that he is ever pruning me as I traverse these toddler years. I cling to that when I want to throw in the towel.

God is good. Even when my life is falling apart and my anxiety is sky high, God is still good. My despair is human, but I have a heavenly father to lean on and I don't have to do this alone, even when I feel alone.