How to find sustainable rhythms in motherhood- getting used without getting used up. I'm three kids deep, the fourth nine(ish) weeks from being born.
I homeschool one in kindergarten. I only just stopped nursing a kid a few months ago and a few months into my fifth pregnancy. I miscarried a baby in July. I am training up a little man warrior, and will get to walk with three little women. I grew up with nothing more on my agenda than being a wife and mom- and being a missionary to Ethiopia. I've fulfilled the first two. And yet the life goal of motherhood has stripped me of my pride like nothing else ever has.
I am still constantly frustrated and ashamed at my own lack of patience, lack of time management, lack of foresight, lack of enjoyment in the mundane and daily tasks that motherhood entails. I get so busy cleaning up after them, I forget to enter into play with them. I stress over sleep patterns and eating patterns and wonder if I should or shouldn't vaccinate, what health tips I am totally missing.
Motherhood for me can oftentimes bring my greatest failures to the surface, just asking me to try and overcome them. But God.
How do I meet God here?
How do I juggle three little lives and still try and retain my own joy, my own personality? How do I be a mother and be me?
I never want to NOT be inspired by my friends who are moms. None of us do it exactly the same. I learn stuff from moms of one and moms of seven. I learn how to do laundry, how to travel, how to discipline, how to not fight every battle, how to laugh, how to educate, how to feed, even how to birth children from my other mom friends. But there's a fine line between inspiration and comparison and shame. I struggle with finding peace in my lane of motherhood. Am I doing this thing right?
I think the short answer is no. I'm not doing it all right. I'm imbalanced in so many areas and probably missing a lot of the pieces on the way. It reminds me of a Melissa Helser thought- she describes how when she first started parenting she was asking God about it and felt like He said "teach your kids to need me. There will come a day when they will outgrow their need for you, and that's a good thing. But they will never outgrow their need for me."
If I've ever known my neediness for God as a human, it's in motherhood. Nothing lays my heart bare like mothering, nothing pushes my buttons more, nothing makes me more defensive or feels more personal or jeopardizes more of my love or takes up more of my thoughts. I have to ask my kids forgiveness a lot, and together we have to go before God and let Him bring peace. My kids watch me repent- almost daily. But I'm believing even that is a win.
Its my finiteness that will press my kids to know Jesus. Where I fail, He won't. My kids don't need a mom who did everything right, they need a mom who knows how much she needs Jesus. They need a mom who demonstrates for them what to do when they reach the end of themselves. They need a mom who can say, guys, I am going to let you down- but JESUS won't. I don't have all the answers, but Jesus does.
Me pretending to be a mom-goddess wouldn't benefit my kids in the long run. They'd think and expect perfection from themselves was Gods idea. They'd have major dilemmas when they got on their own and realized they also fail at the very thing their heart loves to do most.
Where my imperfection and motherhood meet is the perfect launching pad for the Holy Spirit. It is the breeding ground for actual salvation. My kids need to see me in need of grace, and receiving grace, and activating grace so they will know how to do it in their own lives. So, scary insecurities about motherhood, I don't have to listen to you. Fear of messing up, I won't bow to you. Lies about my own personality getting reshaped, I'll reject you. My kids are seeing first hand what happens when Jesus walks with a human and stoops low to make her great for the millionth time. They're going to know Jesus isn't afraid of, intimidated by, or disgusted with weakness. They're going to know He "gently leads those with young".