Michael woke me up. "Honey, it's 8:10, I need to catch my bus." He kissed my half-awake face and hustled down the stairs.
I meant to get up earlier. I had planned to get things done before leaving the house, but now it was crunch time.
These days, no matter how fast I go, I never seem to be able to leave the house quickly. If someone isn't crying, they are hungry. If they were already fed, they now have a diaper. Lately, I have felt constantly in slow motion. The day's are long, but the week's and months fill up quickly and fly by. I barely hit the items on my to-do list, and I haven't even begun to scratch the surface of all the things I plan to do.
I took a bit of a hiatus from this blog partially because, at the time, it made sense. I mean who births a ten pound baby and jumps right back into all of their extra curricular activities? It also came as the result of the Lord prompting me to enter a season of being entirely focused on Michael and the kids. Letting go of the blog and the other things that I am wildly passionate about seemed unfair, but my family needed me. I chose to trust God to restore those things later so I put them away for safekeeping.
It was hard to let go, but once I did, I found a great amount of relief. The days and months to follow were filled with so much creative inspiration and ideas. The break from the pressure of keeping up with “ all the things” gave way to a season of rest for my weary soul.
The most influential part of this season has been being at home with two little ones under the age of three. Needless to say, it has taught me how to slow down and let go of the expectations projected on me as a mom.
For example, during the first month of baby boy's life, I received daily meals from a meal train that a friend at church set up for me. Due to endless feedings, diaper changes, and my toddler's play time, my house looked like a sobering episode of "Hoarders." I was so embarrassed by the state of our house that I rigorously cleaned prior to each drop off.
I know. Crazy, right?
I learned very quickly that you can be one of two moms-the mom with the immaculately clean house or the mom with the messy [but fun will be had] house. (Side note: If you are the mom who has magically achieved both, please contact me after reading this!)
I found myself wrapped up in appearances and perfection, striving for approval and balance, but there was one very important thing that I was missing.
I realized that these are the tender days. This is the very beginning of my children's lives. This is when a lot of learning and growing happens. I am watching them bloom and seeing little personalities emerge from behind those chubby, little cheeks. And I don’t want to miss it. I don’t want to forget it either.
But let's be honest, it's hard.
It's hard when they're sleeping. It's hard when they're awake. Meal time is a tornado. You learn very quickly that picking up toys is something you save for when they go to bed since there is absolutely no point in doing it any sooner. As a mom, you live in a world with sticky hands, tears, tantrums, naps, snotty noses, dirty laundry, and constant activity.
For moms, it's tough not to feel like a machine. We're just here churning out babies, milk, diaper changes, and dinners. Don't mind us!
But churning out the "to dos" and living up to expectations can leave little room for us to enjoy the moments.
I remember a particularly terrible morning. The end result was me sitting on our recliner with a lap full of babies watching a movie. We didn't move for a while. We just sat there and snuggled together. It's seriously one of my favorite mommy moments because I remember the weight of them in my lap and the smell of their freshly bathed baby hair. All I could think about was them getting older and being way too cool (and too big) for my lap. I soaked up the precious time I had to just be with them.
The truth is, when all is said and done, that the real story of motherhood is the beauty of letting go. It's a selfless walk of deep love and humility each day as you give yourself more and more to the little humans who need you so much. These tender days are a glorious dichotomy of the hardest things you will ever do mixed with the biggest blessings you will ever experience.
Whether you are a mom just trying to keep the little ones from destroying the house or falling down the stairs, or you are rising to the challenge of caring for a child who is sick or has special needs, these are years that can't be reversed and moments that can't be repeated.
So, drink in the tender days. Don't give in to the chaos. Forget the laundry, for now, and enjoy time with them a little while longer.