It’s deep into the afternoon and I’m just now wiping away the smudged mascara from underneath my eyes that I awoke with at 6:15am. I am still wearing the clothes that I haphazardly threw on when the crying in the monitor snapped me out of my half-sleep.
The Instagram pictures that I scroll across each day pass through my mind as I gaze at myself in the mirror- the dreamy, faded lighting, the trendy mama with the boho-chic clothing and kids running through the field of wildflowers. It crosses my mind how very much I do not look like her.
This is my motherhood. Is that hers?
Because I can’t keep up with that. I just can’t.
My motherhood looks like loading and unloading dishes, loading and unloading children. My motherhood is days that are precious and days that aren’t. My motherhood is dreaming and praying and hoping and fearing and gathering up the ounces of my strength and the threads of my nerves.
My motherhood is kissing owes and blowing bubbles and building towers and chasing toddler-sized dreams. It is talking about trees and stars and friends and how to be brave.
My motherhood is offering up my body in order to construct theirs. It is flowing in and out of jeans that fit and jeans that don’t. It is arguments with the mirror, assuring my heart to believe what my eyes don’t see- that my value and my worth and my purpose is bigger and greater and more than the size of my pants. It is accepting the fact that my body is never going to be the same again- regardless of the number on the scale- that it has shifted and evolved and stretched and changed and that is okay. Because it brought me them.
My motherhood is always a little bit broken, altogether completely tied up in their little life, fracturing over sad hearts, big emotions, and not always getting it right.
My motherhood is out of balance, the scale either tipping towards peace or threatening insanity. It is days that flow peaceful, embrace questions, assure love. And it is the the very next moments’ tantrum, a blindsided public meltdown. It is grace for the day and limping across the finish line.
My motherhood is settling into the knee-dropping humility that can only descend once you actually have children and realize I have no idea what I’m doing. I delve deeper into that assurance the more children I have. This is all one giant experiment. Trial and error and finding what works for one kid doesn’t work for another. Realizing what fits perfectly within one family’s system feels clunky and forced within your own.
It is fighting to uncover the magnificent amidst the mundane, fighting the boredom, breaking up fights.
And so to the mama who:
Has one baby and is overwhelmed.
Has multiple babies and is still overwhelmed.
Struggles that your only tangible victory of the day was keeping tiny humans alive.
Works from home.
Works out of the home.
Keeps a tidy house.
Keeps a loud house.
Loses her temper.
Drinks wine at 4:00pm.
This is worth it. It just is.
Don’t for one single second think you are not enough. That your unseen work at 3:00am doesn’t matter. That either going to work or staying home makes you Less Than. That your busy Saturdays and your busy homework hours and your busy minutes from wake up to bedtime don’t add up to purpose.
You love your babies fiercely.
You are doing a good job.
And really. I cannot let the Insta picture world we live in dictate how I feel about myself or my babies. I cannot let the filtered and edited snapshot into their life be the lens through which I see my own.
What you do matters.
Your work counts.
Whatever your motherhood looks like, whatever season you’re in.
Just go look at those little fingers and toes smudged with yogurt.
Even when you are still wearing yesterday’s makeup and this morning’s sweatpants. Even when you feel like you don’t have it together. Even when this requires more than you have to give. Even when you are at the end of yourself.
I kind of think that is the point.