Some days, I hold it together like a champ from diaper to diaper, from meltdown to meltdown. I patiently load and unload the car, buckling, tightening, loosening, unbuckling 4 kids still in car seats. I speak gently to overstimulated and overtired littles. I wipe snotty noses, snotty cheeks, snotty foreheads – somehow this stuff gets everywhere. all. winter. long. I sweep up the majority of what was served to the twins after breakfast, after lunch, after snacks, after dinner… Ok, except for when I save it all for after dinner…
Some days, at the end of these days, I fall into bed exhausted the way that we are meant to be exhausted after a day of good work. And some days, at the end of these days, I fall into bed exhausted.
I love that I get to stay home with these kids and be Mommy. And I have so many meaningful outlets apart from my kids that my discontent feels absurd. I’m at the gym 3 or 4 days a week, Bible study every Tuesday, a mommy workout group, orchestra rehearsal, and another Bible study on Wednesdays, book club twice a month, MOPS at two different churches. I am not doing this alone. I cherish these opportunities to take little breaks from the kids and focus in on my relationships with other ladies and my relationship with God. I cherish these opportunities because they make me a better mommy. They give me more of those days where I am patient, gentle, and the picture of joyful endurance. But then there are days like today.
By 7:15 this morning, I had tucked my sleepy oldest child snugly into my place in bed, nursed both of the girls, changed 3 diapers, and was out the door on my way to a friend’s kid-free birthday breakfast. After dropping by the farmer’s market (ALONE!) on the way home for some local organic chard, romaine, and asparagus, I walked in the front door and was needed. And needed. And needed. And needed. And tired. My boys played with legos for a good 4 hours today; my husband took the girls for a 45 minute walk so I could have a quiet time while the boys played outside. And still, I was tired.
Some days I can put my finger on it, but this wasn’t one of them.
It has occurred to me several times over the last year that I love to write. I also hate to write, but mostly I love it. I particularly love to have written. A year ago now, I wrote a blog post. A YEAR AGO. And still, I think back to that blog post with great pleasure. I was on an emotional high for a month having accomplished – having completed – something creative and tangible. Something I was proud of – and yes, it was about the kids – but the writing was not the kids – it was me in a way that I don’t get to be me every day. And I’m ok with that, most of the time.
Today, my weariness reminded me that it is often not my circumstances that make me tired. It is not the demands of my kids that dictate how much I will open my eyes to see the joy that God has for me in each moment – and I do believe that He has planted joy for me everywhere. Sometimes I am tired because there is an essential piece of me – a piece God has knit into me – that I am ignoring.
I taught English for several years before signing up to be Mommy. My favorite class to teach was AP Language and Composition. I have always loved reading, and remain a voracious reader as a mommy – staying up late and carrying at least some reading material around in my car or purse “just in case.” There is nothing to hate about reading. The writing thing is more complicated. Maybe because I don’t have anything personal at stake when I pick up something by someone else. Writing is baring my soul and my skill to be scrutinized. Once something is written, I have to reckon with it. And then the whole blog thing… to be scrutinized by others. That is risky. And personal. And thrilling.
So, here it is. And because it is, I will be a better mommy tomorrow than I was today. I will be a better wife – a grateful wife to the amazing man who kicked me out of the house to read and write and go to Trader Joe’s (ALONE!).
**This piece was reposted from Then Comes Grace.
Heather Fenton is a mama of two boys and twin girls, and is madly in love with her husband of almost 10 years, Mike. She loves music, literature, camping, and running and has a love/hate relationship with writing.