I can take many parts of the SAHM/WAHM life in stride. Figuring out how to transform a pound of raw ground beef into “dinner” has become second nature. Attacking the laundry room floor*, which you suddenly cannot find after one kid starts puking (when you previously thought you were caught up), barely causes me to blink.
While I can roll with the normal household frustrations, allow me to share the mothering thing that makes me throw things: the neediness. Not necessarily the cup-filling and bun-wiping, but the attention-seeking. The constant chatter from my supreme extrovert. The invasion of my personal time and space prior to 7am, when I feel it’s only fair that I get ONE FLIPPING HOUR because, after all, it’s before dawn.
So as the baby decides at 6:15 to get his foot stuck between the crib rails and then the toddler toddles down not even a half hour later, feigning a failure to understand time (or apparently English as she refused to march herself back up the stairs), I want to sink my fingernails into my ears and pull.
Or, as JJ so politely said this morning, I am not in a good mood.
The practical stuff can be dealt with because I know I’m living in a transitory state – they will someday grow up and be able to do things like wipe after pooping or even carry down a load of laundry (praise my sweet Jesus, I know this is true and I shall give shouts of acclimation on that very day). The physical ways in which they require my assistance will someday be outgrown.
The challenge is their need for me to handle their hearts with care. To tend to their emotions and desires and to validate their place in their home, school and world. To give words to their tears and shouts. This is the hard stuff of mothering. You can line up 85 kids and I can take a tissue to every single nose, but the gentle tending of their souls? My friends, sometimes these are so heavy and and I’m deathly afraid of dropping them. I’ve seen the children whose lives have shattered because those who loved much cared little for the ways in which words and deeds affected their home.
Every time I go into the grocery store – every. single. time. – someone remarks that I “have my hands full.” Usually I don’t tote all 4 with me so I’m not sure how to respond. And indeed, my hands are full. But not with zipping winter coats or filling a grocery cart the size of a bus full of bananas and diapers (praise Jesus once again for cloth).
My hands are full of precious little personalities. People, little people, crying out for permission to be included and valued. And as the pin says, if you think my hands are full – you should see my heart.
Yet a heart swollen with love sometimes accompanies weary shoulders. These souls can be heavy and at times put a few nicks and cuts into my own heart, but such is the task of mothering. If it leaves us the same when we’re all done, we probably haven’t done it quite right.
*I literally went down to move a load over after writing this. It’s how stuff gets done around here.