18 January 2013

The motherhood conundrum.

I love my kids so much it hurts. When someone is mean to them it physically pains me. When I drop them off at school I instantly miss them. When I drive home from teaching at night I chant, "baby baby baby baby...etc." because I am aching to hold my baby after a few short hours away from him.

But tonight my arms are aching because I have held him all day because he has a little cold and I have his dry boogers on my sleeve and I had to threaten the two older ones with their most beloved stuffed animals being taken away just so they would stay in bed for crying out loud so I could have a minute without them to wind down for the night.

I need to check on Asher in a few minutes to make sure his fever has broken and I need to get Jonah out of my spot on the bed so I can crash before waking up in the night to feed him and then getting up right after that to feed the kids breakfast and lather, rinse, repeat.

It's actually quite a blessed life and exactly what I signed up for and oh-so-very sweet, but when I closed my eyes tonight for a few minutes before Jonah fussed to be nursed some more, I longed with all my heart to wake up tomorrow to no responsibility. No one needing a single thing from me. Nothing but a day at any beach at all with not even a book to read- just the sound of the waves and the salty air whipping through my carefree mind. I wouldn't break-up a single fight, appease any tantrums, or try to figure out what anyone wants.

Is that just absolutely terrible? Because I feel horrible for admitting it because who do I live and breathe for and long to be with when they aren't in the safe reach of my eager arms? My kids. And husband. All those beautiful boys.

Growing babies and giving birth has aged me, ruined my figure in exhausting and sometimes disappointing ways, and also made me completely whole and given my heart a whole new dimension I didn't know I had before. It bursts and twists and bleeds and leaps all the time at the sound of their voices and in their successes and needs. I am so frustrated with the way I look right now, and yet I know exactly how I got here and I am proud of what my body has accomplished.

When they are fighting and disobeying I wonder how I could ever want a fourth child and in the same instant I am heartbroken at the thought of no more children. How are two such polar opposite desires possible? It's maddening.

So this is motherhood. At least for me. My heart has been broken into three beautiful, wild little pieces. Two of them run around demanding this and delighting with that and the other rolls around a little and cries out to be fed.

I am worn out.

I am brazenly proud.

I am longing for silence.

I am honored to be surrounded by all this life.

I need to wrap this up so I can rest for a few hours... just enough time to be woken up with one or all of their needs. Just enough to be needed and needed and needed all day. Just as much as I need to function.

Maybe if everyone's feeling better in the morning we can get out together and do something fun and take a picture so we can remember this time. This time when we were tired because everyone was so small and needed us so much. This sweet time when these small ones taught us so much. Yes, maybe we'll do that.


Anna K. said...

Ahhh Stephanie you are so good at writing! These are feelings I feel and it is crazy!I am glad I am not the only one to feel this way. I love my life, yet I am exhausted and want a break, then I feel guilty for feeling that way because I know I am lucky to have my life. It is one confusing thought process and emotional whirl. Life could have never prepared me for what motherhood was because I didn't know these emotions existed before. It has only been 4 years since Del was born and I feel like a completely different person! ha, oh mommy-hood

Janneke said...

Sigh. It's good to get these feelings written out. And no, you are not horrible or terrible for feeling them. It's when we feel these things that we truly appreciate the greatest moments too. So just remember to tell yourself that allowing yourself to feel low means that another day it will enable you to feel much higher than you could have ever thought possible. We must take the bad with the good. That is life. Hang in there, you have friends who know how you feel.

melissa said...

i know not everyone would agree with me, but i feel that it is really a blessing that these little baby months/years go by so fast. yes it's true that when they're gone we'll miss the fat baby wrists, but we (aka I) just can't handle that much intense mothering for an infinite period of time. they grow up, thank heavens, and we remember their baby-selves with adoration.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love this! I'm glad I'm not the only one with the madness. Thank you :)

kiri said...

'Tis true. I'm curious why you can't have any more children? It makes me sad, yet soooo happy you have three:). By the way, heeey! Imagine me saying that with fluctuating tones.

Emily said...

A conundrum. Well-said. I just love how much you love your kids, because sometimes the exhaustion and frustration can be overwhelming. I know that the things that I complain about now will be what I miss most when my kids are gone...being needed, being surrounded by noise, song, and even arguing. But let's not be too hasty in our nostlagia...it's good to acknowledge that this stage is really intense, really demanding...so full.

The Prigmore Family said...


snbjork said...

I second that! You ate definitely not alone in these feelings. I feel this way almost every single day. Very well written, as always. It feels like you stole the words right out of my head.

Karina said...

YES. That's it, exactly. Thanks for sharing your talent to put feelings into words.

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jen said...

I'm so glad I picked today to randomly read your blog again. This is perfect.