I got out of bed to write this blog post.
I was all snuggled up and warm, writing out a post for Instagram when it felt like my heart was going to fall out of my chest if I didn’t get up and actually type this out in full form.
I’m sure I’ll regret it in 2 hours when Lincoln wakes up wanting to eat and I’ve only been asleep for 45 minutes.
Today being Easter Sunday, I felt it especially important that we woke up this morning and listened to things that would bring us closer to Christ. So when we had finished opened our Easter baskets and had our egg hunt I played a few general conference talks by President Uchtdorf while
we Jake made eggs and sausage for breakfast.
I guess I thought that this mindset would help me to feel more at peace while getting ready for church. Wrong.
After breakfast, and hanging out for a little while, we got ready for church and may or may not have shared a few less-than-positive comments while the baby was crying, Easton was being fussy, and I was still not ready 10 minutes before we needed to walk out the door. It’s a good thing our building is literally down the street (like for reals about a minute and a half away in the car) or we’d never be on time to church.
Church was nice, and the Spirit was very apparent in Relief Society so when we left I felt refreshed and ready to take on the week.
But when we got into our messy car and our toddler started whining for the sucker his nursery teacher gave him I instantly snapped out of the good, spiritual feelings and back into tired, frustrated mom-mode.
This is something I’ve been struggling with a lot lately. Part of it is the stress of finishing up the semester. I feel exhausted mentally which drags down my physical energy level. When you add in having a newborn who’s sleep schedule is still relatively unpredictable and an extremely active and playful toddler, you end up with a really tired and somewhat grumpy mom. Especially when the house isn’t clean.
This exhausted rut makes me especially susceptible to bouts of frustration that can (and sometimes do) lead to yelling and a quick temper. And when I yell, I feel like the biggest jerk of all time. I stop and think Why the heck am I yelling at my three year old? He’s not doing it to be mean, he’s just trying to push the boundaries and learn about this world he’s still so new to. Calm down crazy lady, but then something else happens and I do it again.
Motherhood doesn’t always do it for me. I don’t wake up everyday with a smile on my face and a song in my heart. In fact there are some days when morning rolls around that I groan and wearily peel myself out of bed.
No, motherhood doesn’t always do it for me.
But here’s the thing: motherhood isn’t for me. Motherhood is the greatest calling in the world, and it’s not meant for me.
Motherhood is meant for my children. It’s purpose is for me to bring them into this world and teach them. Motherhood allows me to teach my children in the way that their Heavenly Father would have them taught. I believe they were entrusted in my care because they needed to learn things that only I could teach them, or in a way only I am able to teach them.
Motherhood is not for me to feel fulfilled everyday, but for me to fill their needs. They need me to nurture and guide them and in return I feel satisfaction and true joy from raising them. From this I have learned that even when I’m feeling entirely run-down and beaten up I can still find the energy to serve these beautiful little boys.
That’s how I know that motherhood wasn’t meant for me- because even at my worst when I feel I have nothing left to give, the Lord presents me with more. He makes up the difference, just like He promises to.
And because He always makes up the difference, I’ve found that the times when I feel the most exhausted and upset are the times that my sweet babes do something that completely melts my heart and helps me to understand my purpose more than I did before.
Another part of motherhood I have learned is that even though I love my little ones and take so much pride in their accomplishments, motherhood does not make me happy.
That sounds cruel and resentful, but hear me out. Happiness is a brief and fleeting feeling of pleasure and contentment. It’s the same feeling that we get when we buy a new car or eat ice cream. Sure, there are happy moments in motherhood, but motherhood does not make me happy.
Instead, motherhood brings me joy. Joy being the synonym of such words as jubilation, euphoria, bliss, exultation, etc. I feel that I am more apt to connect motherhood with joy than happiness.
Happiness feels temporal. Joy feels eternal.
Yes, motherhood fills me with joy in every sense of the word. And it’s such an indescribable and spiritual feeling.
And that’s the whole point of this motherhood thing, isn’t it? Motherhood is meant to be a way for us to lead our children back to their eternal home with eternal families. What good does temporary pleasure do us then?
I understand that not everyone who has the desire to can be a mom, and if that is you then please understand that just because your calling in this life may not include children you are still capable of touching the lives of many and finding that great and eternal joy and fulfillment.
And if you choose not to have children, then I pray that you also find joy and fulfillment in your life through the wonderful things that you do.
But for those of you with children of any age, please know that your calling is a great and worthwhile one. Even when you feel like you’re not moving forward and are instead sunk from the waist down in an inescapable pool of quicksand.
You are amazing, you are doing an incredible job, and you are so loved.
(Even if motherhood doesn’t always do it for you.)