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Motherhood is Hard--But do we make it worse on ourselves?

I had one of those weekends where I was so stressed: “I will never get through everything I have to get done!” I thought. Balancing other responsibilities with motherhood is hard.

On the family side, I homeschool our two teenage daughters. And we have a family wedding in the next few weeks!

On the speaking side, I had to speak in Burlington on Saturday morning for a women’s breakfast, so I drove down the night before to make sure I was there in time. There I had a wonderful time with a great group of ladies and really saw God work. I’m always a little nervous for the first talk of the season, because I haven’t spoken in a few months and I lose my groove a bit. I don’t use notes; I know my talks well enough that they usually just flow. But I’m always worried the flow won’t be there when I haven’t spoken in a while, but it went fine.

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Then I started for home, a 2 1/2 drive away, and realized an hour into it that I had left my Bible, my props, and my iPad behind. So I turned around and drove back, getting home much later than I thought.

This normally wouldn’t have been a big deal, but on Sunday I had to lead our quizzing program at church at 9 in the morning for two hours, and then at 4 twenty-five people were descending on my house for a surprise Jack and Jill shower for my brother-in-law and his future wife. Losing two hours of my day when I could prepare did not put me in a good mood.

Today I speak again at a women’s meeting, and Wednesday I’m taking off to Washington state for 10 days. So I’m busy. And I’m feeling a little sorry for myself. But the funny thing is that once I’m home from Washington, my life will really be quite smooth. This is just an anomaly.

But what was even more strange was that as stressed as I was by everything, the speaking, the quizzing, and the party actually all went very smoothly and was a lot of fun. I even had some time on Saturday night to just sit and knit and watch a movie with my husband.

So I’m starting to wonder if maybe I get stressed and complain a little too much. It reminds me of this blog post I read a while back about moms complaining that motherhood is hard. Here’s part of what she writes:

I do not think that it is easy to be a stay at home mom, nor do I think a working mom has it any easier (well, most days I believe it’s the same. Some days I envy the working mom- before I realized that I would then have two jobs. Gulp). In either case, it is hard to be a mom. There are challenging days when you can’t seem to put that screaming toddler down or you run out of hours to get all of your errands done. Finding time for yourself can be a bit of a challenge, if not at times impossible, but we can’t always put our own selves on the back burners. If you do not take care of yourself and put yourself first sometimes, who else is going to?

I become very confused by the people who claim not to have an identity anymore once they become a mom. Why on earth not? I get having frustrating days and feel the need to get out alone for awhile. So go ahead and do it. If you feel like you are losing yourself in your kids, then quite frankly I think you are doing it wrong. My kids are an amazing part of my life and an extension of who I am. I have become a better person in being their mom- a different person, yes. My days and my priorities do revolve around them, but it has made me stronger not question who I am as a person. I do not understand the constant lamenting of being a parent or that it affects your appearance.

In other words, if you feel like motherhood is hard and you’re too busy, take some control of the situation.

Of course your life is busy. Of course motherhood is hard. But this is what you chose, and it has a ton of benefits, and perhaps we tend to forget those. (I love this sentence that she writes, too: “Having kids is not easy, staying at home with them is hard, and I can’t begin to imagine working with kids, but I assure you that hourly Facebook updates telling us how tough it is are not going to help your situation”).

So do we complain too much? Looking back on my weekend, I certainly think that I did. Because you know what? It was actually a lot of fun. The speaking was fun. The car ride home was fun (even if it was longer than I intended, because I had my iPod with me and I blasted Broadway tunes and sang at the top of my lungs as that highway went by. That’s fun!). The youth at church are a great bunch. I still had time to talk and connect with my girls last night for an hour before we all went to bed. And the shower went so well, especially with the game that was suggested to me by a woman at the speaking function to  help the guys get in touch with their feminine side. Here’s how some of the guys looked afterwards:

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So what’s the fundamental problem?

I think that, deep in our hearts, we think life is supposed to be about having nothing to do at all.

That life is supposed to be about leisure. And it’s not. Yes, you have to cook. Yes, you have to do laundry. Yes, you have to get ready for friends coming over. But all of those things are part of a rich life. You only have to work because you have people and things to work for.

Yes, we get overwhelmed at times, and there are seasons in our lives that are especially difficult. But maybe we just need a different perspective. Being a SAHM is tiring, I’m glad I have the people I do in my life. I’m glad God has called me to the ministry He has. I’m glad I’m a mom. And I’ll try to quit complaining now!

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