When I got home last night from work, the kids and I had a rough go of it. Five to seven p.m. is hard on us anyways – the trio is tired and hungry and unraveling. Unfortunately, that’s when I get home from work. However, they were in rare form yesterday, and the baby was being particularly disobedient.
I got a wild hare to make a squash casserole with the fresh squash we’d brought home from the farm. I quickly downloaded a Food Network recipe on my iPhone and went at it while the kids played with play-doh at the kitchen table. The baby, despite repeat warnings and chastisements, kept eating the play-doh and then had a gargantuan meltdown when I took it away. While multi-tasking, I threw in some eggplant from the farm thinking that surely it wouldn’t do any harm to the casserole. I don’t know whether it was how I sauteed the squash or the abysmal effect of the eggplant, but the spotlight dish for our dinner turned out pretty awful. Then all three of the kids ganged up on me during dinner by putting their feet on the table (though they know that is an ABSOLUTE no), throwing their cups on the ground, spitting food out (can’t entirely blame them there, but they could at least have spit it out on their plates!), and generally breaking every house rule.
Once I cleaned them up, they started terrorizing the kitchen and I threatened to put them all to bed (even though it was only 6:30). I did finally put them all in time out and received in response deafening cries and pleas for release. It was a total disaster.
I felt like I was losing mothering. I already struggle with guilt because I work all week, but then to come home and be the enforcer, the object of dismay and the not particularly tasty provider made the guilt pretty crushing in that moment.
One of my oldest and dearest friends had this response when I made that comment – “that strikes me more that you are DOING mothering.” To which I replied, “yes but it FEELS like losing.” She concluded, “I think that’s what makes being a mom so hard.”
True. I did feel like a loser. A guilty one at that. But no one said mothering was EASY. It’s a gift. We moms are so blessed. But some days we lose. The perk is that we win a lot of days too. Sometimes, even in the same day. I realized that as I said evening prayers with the kids last night.
I get down on the floor and hold their hands and ask them what they want to pray for that night. I get everything from mommy to grandpa to the tractor. Last night, I started with the baby. He said, in reply to my question, “be a good boy.” Boy. Straight to the heart. He wanted me to pray that he would be a good boy. I have to tell you, I felt pretty darn guilty (again). Yes, he had been disobedient, but I felt terrible that his only prayer for the night was that he would be a good boy. So this is what I prayed:
Thank you God for this sweet boy. Thank you for sending him to our family. Thank you for all of the special gifts you have given him. I know today was hard. We pray tomorrow will be easier. We pray you will help W to be a good boy tomorrow. And I pray you will help me be a good mommy tomorrow too. Help us to rest well. Amen.
God is faithful. We have tough moments, but we also have sweet precious moments that make every struggle worth it. And as I heard the laughing chatter of three two year olds over the monitor after Bray and I left the room, and the little lady’s voice shout “let me talk,” (she’s just now getting her voice, but being late to the party is struggling to get a word in edgewise), I realized everyone would be okay. Including me. I still allowed myself a glass of wine.