Motherhood isn't glamorous. Some days, it is hard to recall the time in my life before my legs didn't have a five o'clock shadow or I managed to use the bathroom without an audience. A time before the contents of my purse consisted of Band-Aids, spare diapers, stray Lego pieces and granola bars. I have replaced my perfume with baby wipes (because a good baby wipe will clean up just about anything). I've traded in my favorite shade of lipstick for a surplus of concealer to cover up those dark circles and pesky forehead wrinkles I've acquired from perfecting "The Look" over the past 7 years of motherhood. You know, the one you give in the grocery store when your kind, sweet, precious child enters meltdown mode over a cookie, complete with arms a-flailing and mid-screech feet stomp that draws in glances from aisles away--that look. Vague and distant are the days when I started out my morning with a nice hot shower and nothing stuck to me. Let's face it--dried on drool and breast milk is never sexy. Keepin' it real, folks.
We were at an event a few weeks ago when I overheard my husband talking to someone about what he does for a living. When they asked him what it is that I do, he explained that I stay home with our three little boys. "I've got the easy job," I heard him say. "My day is like an 8 hour vacation compared to what my wife does all day." Made my day. My Adam, he just blesses me. Being home with my little people is one of the things I thank God (and my hard-working hubby) for each and every day.
It is all I could think about growing up, being a mama. This is huge for me. And while it has its challenges, its heartbreaks, its discouragements, motherhood also has gifted me with some of the sweetest victories, rewards and JOY on this Earth. I believe that I am living out an ENORMOUS part of my purpose raising these precious babes. I feel like I am right where I'm suppose to be--especially in this season when my sons are small and soaking up the world around them. I want to make sure that the things they are soaking up are good for their developing characters and growing souls.
What I do everyday is certainly not much to some, but to me it is everything.
This past Mother's Day, Adam kissed my hand as we left our church parking lot. Peeking back in the rear view mirror at our 3 little men he said, "Hey boys, when you meet a princess you kiss her hand." I smiled as my husband demonstrated love to our boys. My happy little love bubble burst just a moment later when Mason piped up (without skipping a beat) and said, "She's not a princess--she's just a boring mommy." Ouch. That one stung. Then before we could even open our mouths to respond, Noah added his two cents, "Yeah, and she doesn't even have a job." Sucker punch right to the stomach. I half expected baby Emmitt to add "And she's fat, too!" from his car seat, just for good measure. My. Heart. Sunk. Tears stung my eyes as I tried to digest the honest, unfiltered, call-it-as-they-see-it perspective that flowed so freely from my little boys. For the rest of the drive home, Adam spoke and Noah and Mason listened. He asked the boys how clean, fresh clothes magically return to their dresser drawers, or how breakfast, lunch and dinner appear on their plates each day. He asked them who fixes up their boo boo's, holds them when they are sad, drives them to school and back home again when the day is through, reads them stories, searches high and low for lost toys and missing loveys. They hadn't meant any harm or hurt feelings by what they said, and they felt pretty bad about it once Daddy explained to them how much weight their words could carry. To Mason, being just a mommy (as opposed to some sort of flying, crime-fighting superhero) did seem pretty boring. I guess stain annihilation doesn't count as a super power. To Noah, our day-to-day doesn't seem like much of a job, especially since I don't head off to the office every morning and return each evening like Daddy does. They are children and they were just speaking what made sense to them.
I am no wonder woman. Not by a L-O-N-G shot. I wish that I could mother my boys with the same fervor and excitement as a new mama, but with the know-how and wisdom of a seasoned one. I fall short daily. My kitchen table is currently camouflaged with remnants of this morning's breakfast, junk mail, random projects in progress, and homework papers adorned with smiley face stickers. The floors in my boys' rooms are peppered with tiny Lego pieces, the bathrooms could use a good scrub, my mountain of laundry is calling my name. I stay up way too late, drink far too many cups of coffee and prioritize poorly sometimes. If you drop by unannounced at any given time during the day, you'll likely find us in our pj's with toys and books and mismatched socks strewn about the living room floor.
WE LIVE HERE IN THIS HOUSE, AND IT LOOKS LIKE IT.
The OCD in me does not want to let go of having things just so all the time. I don't function well in a mess. There came a point after our middle little arrived, and then again when our third son made his debut, that I had to do some surrendering. I'm still trying to find balance between tidiness, sanity, quality time with my sons, my hubby and my Lord, and a bit of time to take care of me. My precious downtime when little ones are snoozing could be spent sweeping the floors or folding another load of laundry, but jotting down a few words here and doing some head and heart housekeeping feels important, too. So while my house could be neater and my hair fixed a little more often, I know that this is only a season (one that is speeding by), and there will be a time for all of that later. And I'm ok with that.
WE'RE MAKING MEMORIES AMONG THESE MESSES.
"Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children."
-Charles R. Swindoll