I love being a mom; I really do. It has defined my life for the last 12 years, and will continue to do so to one degree or another for the rest of my days. Now, certain aspects of motherhood don't rate as highly on my list as others. Diaper duty is not a favorite. Cleaning up after children who have been sick with the flu definitely is not an activity I'd volunteer for outside of motherhood. Even the challenges associated with dressing and doing hair for five daughters is less than desirable in my mind. But, none of these challenges can outweigh the blessings and joy my children bring.
Recently I saw a mom who had two young children with her at the grocery store. The little girl, probably two, was cranky and fussing. When I commented to the mom that her little girl must by tired, trying to commiserate because I know what it is like to shop with a tired two year old, the poor woman was not encouraged. Her level of frustration and displeasure was so obvious it made my heart heavy. Parenting is never easy, but it doesn't have to be miserable! Children are a blessing from the Lord! Even challenging children (and I have a few) are blessings and bring joy!
Sometimes it can be difficult to see the joy. I've had days when Calgon couldn't take me far enough away! More than once I've wanted to hand in my resignation to anyone who would take it (no one would), feeling completley inadequate for the task of raising my children. Motherhood is not convenient. It requires giving more of myself than I knew I had to give, and it certainly doesn't work on my time schedule. But joy in motherhood abounds, if we just look.
I found joy recently in a hug from my three year old. As she wrapped her arms around me and put sticky fingers on my clean shirt she said, "Mommy, I love you sooo much." So the shirt had to go in the laundry. I have to do laundry anyway. I also found joy after a rare nap. While my husband and I were sleeping, our two oldest daughters were busy not sleeping. Instead, they set up a table in the Family Room (where we host large dinner parties - just push the couches out of the way), with places for two, and lit candles to eat by. It was wonderful. Now, dinner was not gourmet. It only consisted of one course, and it was a pretty simple course. But, my two oldest daughters worked together to give my husband and me a date. How much more precious can you get?! Focusing on the efforts to bless us, and not on the mess left behind in the kitchen or the candle wax on my linen table cloth made it possible to treasure the gift from our daughters.
Never having planned to have children, I know God laughs every day as He watches me function (barely) as the mother of six. Still, He has instilled in my heart a passion for being a mom that I never imagined I could have. I LOVE being a mom. I LOVE having children. I even love what is required to have six children, though laundry will never be a favorite activity. If only more moms understood how precious their children are, and how quickly they will be gone; even toddlers who are hungry, tired and cranky.