There were days of endless diapers and potty training when I would find myself on the floor with three children, ages three and under. It was the kitchen floor, usually, because it seemed that our home only had a bathroom and a kitchen. If we had a bedroom, I rarely saw it and the living room was a place where sane people sat and visited over coffee.
I didn’t visit the living room much in those days. It was the bathroom and the kitchen that housed all my living and bore the brunt of my tears.
That’s why I was on the floor. I can’t remember if two kids were crying or all three were whining or hungry or even if they were content to disembowel my cupboards – I was on the floor to cry. A good, ugly, join-me-if-you-like cry.
So they did.
It was sheer mommy exhaustion and my prayers were the “Jesus-please-help-me” kind. Not very articulate, but those are the only prayers exhausted moms can put together sometimes.
If I sound morbid or cynical about this time in my motherhood, please know that I adored those three tyrant toddlers. Please also know that with now four children ages nine to almost 16 living at home, I adore the memoryof those days.
They are a bit blurred and romanticized at times; I long for toddler legs and droopy diapers like an addict longs for his own undoing. But it’s good to look back with rose-colored glasses, and to look forward with a clear picture of what God can accomplish with broken people.
And now, I adore the memory of those days because they are memories. Really.
If you are a mom of littles right now, there will be those people, those well meaning older people who will tell you to “enjoy this time” and “it goes by so fast” and “these are the best days”.
They’re right, of course. All those things are true and those words of wisdom really are meant to inspire you to love your babies and not sweat the small stuff.
But those people are also far removed from the sleep-deprived and milk-leaking and burp-rag-wearing grit of it. They’ve forgotten about 2 a.m. feedings and toddler tantrums in the store, so they’re missing the mark a little.
Whatever days (or daze) you are in with your childrenare the best days – the ones you live with failure on the floor and see victory over struggles; the days where nothing goes right and everyone seems against you; the hours you spend in the church nursery with your babies; the times when you have to be “the mean mommy” and put your foot down in the middle of your child’s plans – these are the days a nd they will be memories, soon, too.
All this looking back has a point. Every memory I can look back on has the mark of God on it, even the miserable, self-doubting, and shameful ones. He never gave up on me as a mother or as His child and He’s entrusted me, broken-and-failing-daily-me, to mother these precious individuals.
Those are words that we as mothers need to hear, often, and nothing comforts a weary mom more than a little quiet and the assurance that all her labor is not in vain.
It’s a big job, a life-long assignment and God offers so much wisdom and comfort for the tasks you face daily.
Maybe you got up off the floor just now. Maybe you just cried ugly in the bathroom because you have more sense than to cry in front of your children. Whatever your stage of motherhood, these are the days to live on your knees in prayer. These are the days that will be tomorrow’s memories, so make the most out of them.
And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Gal. 6:9, NKJV