Part of the reason I started Love Laughter Lunacy was to allow me an outlet. Sometimes you just need to share/vent/whatever, right? As it turned out, I also started my first job in 9 years right around the same time so I have spent much of the last 6 months immersing myself in learning as much as I could about my new employment and Love Laughter Lunacy took a major backseat. And even though I’m busy today with various tasks, I felt almost drawn to write for this blog today.
Have you ever read The Invisible Mother? If you haven’t, take a moment to do so because chances are, you’ll completely relate to the first part and the second part will completely uplift you.
I first read The Invisible Mother a few years ago after a friend of mine forwarded it to me. I remember thinking “that’s ME!” and my eyes filling with tears as I read it to completion. It’s my go-to when I’m feeling underappreciated or overwhelmed, which as a mom of small children, happens more frequently than I care to admit. Just this morning, I couldn’t even finish a cup of coffee before my children came running downstairs with breakfast demands. “I want toast!” “I don’t want toast, I want <something that we don’t have!>” “Where’s my milk?” “How much of this do I have to eat?” Once I finally had breakfast under control, their attentions turned to lunch and then dinner. “What are you making for…” followed by my answer which was then, inevitably, followed by “ewwwwww!”
Now, before I go further, let me say that my kids – while they do have “moments” from which they are lucky to emerge alive – are generally really good kids. But they’re kids. They’re 9, 6 and almost 4. The universe revolves around them and anything less than instant gratification is not good enough. It’s frustrating and astonishing and embarrassing and infuriating all rolled into one and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that some days, I am certain I’m doing everything wrong.
The thing is though, that every mom feels that way at some point and anyone who says otherwise is in denial or lying. Look up any “mom” blog and you will see articles filled with moms who struggle daily but don’t think this is a recent development. First published in 1975, “The Mother’s Almanac” by Elia Parsons and Marguerite Kelly is filled with common-sense wisdom for all moms. A quote of theirs that has resonated with me since first having my son over 9 years ago is “Motherhood brings as much joy as ever, but it still brings boredom, exhaustion, and sorrow, too. Nothing else ever will make you as happy or as sad, as proud or as tired, for nothing is quite as hard as helping a person develop his own individuality, especially while you struggle to keep your own.” Don’t tell me you don’t relate to that quote, I won’t believe you.
How many of you bemoan “I used to” or “Before I had kids…”? I used to write. I used to plow through books. I used to weigh 40 lbs less than I do now. Before I had kids, I didn’t even know what channel Disney Jr. was on. Before I had kids, I had hot dinners and unmelty ice cream – and I didn’t have to share any of it! Before I had kids, my husband and I used to see movies in the theaters all the time. I could go on and on about all the great things I did before I had kids. Do I miss those days? Sure I do. But before I had kids, I also had never experienced the smile of a sleeping newborn. The excitement of witnessing my child hit a big developmental milestone. Chubby hands on my cheeks pulling me in for a sloppy kiss. The simultaneous thrill and heartbreak of watching them ride away on a bus on their very first ever day of school. I never had a refrigerator filled with artwork. Never gazed at angelic faces as they slept peacefully tucked in their beds. I hadn’t yet experienced the exhilaration of playing Santa, Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg that is raising a child. That’s the small stuff. That’s not even close to the serious stuff – the building of the cathedral.
Every day is another beam in the cathedral. Every struggle of theirs that need a mother’s help is another nail that holds it all together. I am helping to build masterpieces – the finished work of which I will never see – so despite the challenges that comes with being a parent, despite the fact that my kids will never appreciate all their dad and I have done for them or sacrificed for them until they’re a lot older (possibly even parents themselves), it’s not for nothing. I am building a cathedral.