After watching a kids movie last night, my oldest daughter was scared and unable to sleep. Kicking myself for allowing her to watch it, I let her climb in bed with me and burrow into my side while I did some grading on the laptop. She was comforted and fell asleep quickly. It was hard to work with her next to me, and as the lights began to fade, the darkness lulled me to sleep as well. Work can wait, I told myself.
And so the cycle began again this morning. My sweet and independent four year old clung to my side, allowing me barely a bathroom break. Sometimes we have a day like this, sometimes days. She pulls her energy and her strength from me, but some days I find myself with nothing left to give. It's been this way since she was a newborn, so although it is nothing new, the cycle is tiring. I want to love unconditionally and continually, but sometimes my wellspring needs refilling too.
Do you ever feel the same way too? Life--with all of its complicated schedules, family members with different emotional needs, and trying to balance work and home--can feel simply overwhelming some days.
But I've found that for every few days where I am searching for the light at the end of the day, there are other days where my emotional wellspring is filled. Days where my daughter tells me how much she loves me or shares the stirrings of her little heart. Days where we play and laugh until we're silly and breathlessly out of control. Days where we explore and learn, adventuring hand in hand with her little sister in tow. Days where I DO catch a break: a bubble bath, a chance to write or read, or a lone errand to run.
Yes, it is easy to believe the generalizations that motherhood is exhausting and all-consuming, because honestly? It is. But rarely do we hear in mainstream media the simple joy and genuine love that is the gift of motherhood. I am challenged by motherhood every single day. My work week doesn't end with the weekend, and I often stay up late to complete my (paying) job as an online instructor. But like a piece of molding clay warmed in the cradle of two hands, I am more pliable than I was five years ago at the beginning of this journey. I stretch and mold to the needs of my family. I've learned to be more patient, more selfless, and slower to impulsive anger. These are the gifts and challenges of motherhood, the two forever entwined once the positive line appears on the pregnancy stick.
I'm still learning and growing into motherhood. As I sit in my quiet bedroom typing this, I can hear my rambunctious and joyful daughter playing in the living room. She lives her days at full-tilt, completely immersed in the moment, drawing pleasure out of every minute. As grateful as I am for this quiet time to reflect and to refill my emotional wellspring, my heart clamors to rejoin my family for a Sunday of togetherness.
Isn't that just the way of motherhood?
Please tell me....what have been some of the greatest joys of your parenting journey?