I’m getting more good-natured comments about my growing baby bump these days, especially when I’m out and about with my three children (currently ages 6, 4 and 2).
“Whoa–you have your hands full, honey.” Yes, I do. You have no idea.
“You’re so brave!” Actually, no, I am only here at Costco pregnant with all three kids by myself out of sheer necessity, trust me. I threaten them within an inch of their life before we walk in and then bribe them with pizza and another 3lb container of jelly beans if they’re good.
“Girl, you’re on the saint track!” I hope so..may God have mercy on me, a poor sinner!
I don’t want to tell people how hard this is. I guess I don’t want to say the truth out loud: that I don’t always do this mothering-many-small-children-thing gracefully. And I don’t even always love it.
It’s not so much a pride thing as it’s a complicated thing to talk about being a mother. There are moments of grace and consolation so sweet that they nearly take my breath away. Those are the moments that make me want to share the joys of parenthood with everyone. And those are the moments I cling to when I feel called to be a witness for truth in a culture that views children not as blessings, but more as acquisitions, products, or alternately burdens–even as something like a disease to be avoided or cured.
Michael and I were thrilled to conceive and deliver each of our children, and we love them fiercely. Each of them make us laugh every single day, and it’s a special joy to watch them grow up. And yet there are days that I beg God for mercy, because I am failing, failing, failing at keeping my temper in check and my demeanor cheerful and my home a reasonably nice place to be. There are days when I want to be doing anything else but the soul-refining daily work of feeding and cleaning and disciplining and laundering and refereeing and loving my blessings.
Sometimes motherhood feels like I’m surviving my blessings. It is a complicated thing to have something as wonderful and irreplaceable as motherhood also be so difficult.
There…that starts to scratch the surface a bit, all you kind strangers.
But here is what I find myself actually saying these days when I get those good-natured comments: “Well, I’m doing what I believe I’m supposed to be doing, and there’s a lot of peace in that. Being a mom will either make you crazy or make you a saint. I just try to go for saint.”