My sister-in-law once made a passing comment that I had always seemed to find so much joy in each phase my children were in. She was right – I have delighted in my role as mother and I took a certain level of pride in hearing that my passion for motherhood was apparent to others. It was never an act, or image I was trying to present. Just my simple reality: I love being a mom.
But lately, I have been struggling in the mothering department. The most difficult days have been when I have two toddlers under foot. That is just completely exhausting. But really the struggle has been greater ever since I’ve gone back to work. I have loved my job. I enjoy the work I do, the sense of accomplishment that I get, and of course the extra income which still seems to be not quite enough. But I get less sleep, am less patient, and in turn, find myself more quick to feel overwhelmed with the little ones and frustrated with the big ones.
I’ve spent some time pondering what is going wrong. Am I just too old for this toddler phase? Do I need to not be working? Something needs to give, but what?
And then I look around at this amazing island we are on. Just a few short months ago I relished in the joy of getting out and enjoying the beauties that surround me. That was when my baby would buckle up happily in her stroller and I could walk around in peace. Now I have my toddler and an extra who are very strong willed about where they want to be and they want to get their on their own two feet. My leisurely walks no longer exist and I sometimes feel like I am wasting the time I have in this beautiful place.
I find myself longing for the days of empty nesting – something that is so contrary to my nature. I am not a person who seeks for tomorrow. I generally embrace the good of today and find the joy in it. But in these moments of weakness I yearn for days of time where I can just have my husband to myself, and enjoy walks around the island without worrying about where the kids are, whether or not homework is being done, if the house is clean enough, what’s for dinner etc.
I guess these are all pretty normal wishes for a mom of youngsters. But I hate that I have them.
Last night at Stake Conference a sister in the congregation was asked to spontaneously get up and share her testimony. One of the statements she made was, “I am a grateful mother of…” she then listed the number and gender of her children.
Somehow her statement connected with my spirit and I knew that, in part, it was my answer. I had lost my gratitude for motherhood. Instead of recognizing as the gift that it is, I have felt burdened. My appreciation for this great role has somehow changed and shifted to become burdened murmurings.
So today, I am pledging to change. Because I AM a grateful mother.
Along the knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the relationship I have with my husband, my children are my most cherished and significant blessings. I need to do better to remember how precious they are to me and how fortunate I am to be called Mom.