I grew up watching shows like Full House, the Nanny and re-runs of the Brady Bunch. I loved these shows and they made parenting look so easy. Their homes were always clean, the kids sat quietly at the dinner table, no one threw a tantrum because they wanted the blue cup, and any family arguments were resolved within the allotted 30-minute time slot.
Fast forward to 2008. My boys were 18 months old and 6 weeks old. It was a Monday morning. I hadn’t showered for more than 24 hours and I was so exhausted that I tried to make a cup of coffee with our coffee machine without actually using a cup. FYI – it doesn’t work. My precious coffee was all over the bench, the floor and all through the cupboard. I cried. Not just because I was desperate for the caffeine that was currently pooling on the floor, but because I was so angry at myself for making this stupid mistake and for creating more work for myself. Didn’t I have enough to do that day already?
This was not how things were supposed to happen. I wanted that perfect image of motherhood I had seen on TV. I wanted to have time to read a book… I wanted to sit in a coffee shop with a friend and chat while my children sat quietly in a pram… I wanted to have the energy to research and cook new healthy recipes for my family… I wanted to wear makeup and do my hair each day…
But the truth is this is not what motherhood is like. The reality was there were days when I was still in my pyjamas at 2pm. There were days when I would leave the house without doing my hair simply because I forgot. There were days when I wore dirty clothes because I couldn’t remember the last time I washed. There were days when my boys ate cereal for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This was real life!
We need to let go of the idea that there is a perfect image of motherhood, because it simply does not exist.
Some days are just hard, and I struggle to be the mum I want to be. I get exhausted, I lose my cool, I make mistakes. I feel guilty for things I’ve done or haven’t done for my kids. I’ve called myself a ‘bad’ mum and I’ve felt isolated and helpless. There have been days where I’ve questioned who I am, what I’m doing and whether I’m up for the task.
Motherhood is tough work but still each day I show up because in the end, no one can love my kids like I do. God made me to be my children’s mum, and He has entrusted these little ones into my care. Don’t see those tough days as a negative, but as a reminder of just how important your role is. Embrace the exhaustion, the overwhelming and the hard days by looking for the little moments to help you get through. Tell your kids you love them, have an extra cuddle each night before bed, read that story they requested for the sixth time, stop and enjoy their smiles and giggles as they make a mess on the floor. These moments are our daily reminders of what motherhood is all about.
Carly is the Prep-Grade 4 Pastor at Crossway. Carly and her husband Andrew have three children and love spending time together outdoors.