J is gone for the week for work and we are holding it down on the home front but I am tired exhausted.  Growing a human is no joke and it is particularly tiring when said little human still insists on making me puke daily.  The girls ate McDonald’s for lunch and crackers and string cheese for dinner one night and just whatever about it.  Days feel long and summer has made my kids cray-cray for real.  Finding the space to be content in the right now is difficult but I think that is one of the repeated lessons of my entire life.  Maybe I should get Philippians 4:11-13 tattooed on my forehead.

I find myself existing in this bizarre in between space where I am so grateful for my life and at the same time wanting to escape it.  I know right? I love being “Mama.”  I love that there are two little girls that only want me a majority of the time.  That I can help, fix, explain, comfort, love, cuddle, teach, and nurture them.  I love seeing them experience the world and discover and learn and grow.  I love that I see their ‘firsts’ and can laugh at them giggling and playing and the hilarious things they say.  I burst with pride at the many times they help each other or someone else and the way God has made their hearts soft to His truth. This is blessing poured out for me.  But it also means dying to self a lot of the time and even though I know that is His will for me I struggle with my selfish heart and asking how the heck did I get here? 

Most of the day I hear “mama” in a whiny voice, or one that requires my immediate attention lest one of them simultaneously combust. It seems an endless barrage; “Mama, sorry I spilled my milk,” “Mama, help wiping my butty,” “Mama, Anni is mean,” “Mama, I hungry,” “Mama, Evy broke my toy (said SOBBING),” “Mama, I too hot (or too cold).” You name a first world problem and my kids have it.  And I don’t solve my kids problems most of the time.  Really, I don’t.  I am famous for saying “you go work it out” or “pole” (sorry for you) but yet they insist on making me aware of every feeling they have every moment it strikes them. Mashed goldfish crackers and spilled milk and tears and bickering.  That is a lot of what this gig involves. I seriously uttered the words to Jason on the phone that if the girls spilled one more glass of milk one of them was being sold on Craig’s List.

I mean seriously people.  I went to college.  I was sorta good at what I did.  I was a teacher and got dressed in real clothes and went to work. I had adult conversations that were not interrupted by “mama, my butt hurts.”  And things are about to go the way of the baby around here.  After having two I am too realistic (ok and a bit jaded) to sugar coat this stage.  It means no sleep for months, sore nipples, marriage meltdowns, round the clock needs, losing pregnancy weight while at the same time fighting the urge to eat everything in sight because of emotional overload, and being lucky to get in a shower while still holding it down for other humans that depend on my not having a nervous breakdown. I think if I am honest a lot of my restlessness has to do with the fact that nobody really notices us Mamas.  Unless you are a Pinterest Diva we sorta go through each day without much recognition.  But for a girl who tends to care too much about what others think this is exactly where God wants me for now.  Lessons I need to learn.  Doing the Mama gig for Him and just Him. The verse “for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:43) convicts me to my core. May it not be said of me.

But it is all the path I am invited to walk on not merely to do it myself but to learn to be needy and dwell with Him.  The path to having an extraordinary life is not about what the world defines as such but about contentment, joy, and abiding even when there are discouraging days or seasons. I write this to remind myself because just because you know something does not mean you always apply it to your own life (Um, guilty!).  I want to be transformed to more of what God has for me as Mama. I am asking God to lead me past the days of holding my breath survival to the richness and abundance He has in store for me as Mama.  I am too tempted to settle for ordinary.  But I know I cannot get there without the trials and challenges.   I want the blessing without the pain that proceeds it.  But it is not His way.  The Way of the cross that He invites us to take up means death before being made new. 

And all of this was swirling in my over emotional prego brain last night and came out in utterances of prayers like “help me SEE the joy in all of this, in every moment.”  Then in the middle of the night I awoke for the P3 (the prego puke & pee as I like to call it in an attempt to make it sound more fun that is actually is) and when I settled back into bed I heard Evy sighing and making lil Evy Imani noises next to me on Jason’s side of the bed.  She rolled over, woke for a minute and whispered “Mama” while reaching her arms out to snuggle my neck.  And I laid there for the next hour thinking about how she won’t always want to lay in bed and snuggle with me all night, how she is growing up too fast, and how this space and moments were sacred. And I cried because I was so overwhelmed with gratefulness that I am her Mama.  And while I long for the day I have more time and space for personal pursuits that have been shelved for years I will also mourn the loss of these little hands with chipped nail polish and messy blonde curls and warm nosey kisses. God answers prayers, even lame, exhausted, desperate Mama whispers in the middle of the night.  No, especially those kind. 
My constant vacillating between the momentarily but utter desire to flee and loving this gig and embracing all God has for me is real.  But it is all my calling and today I am asking for the strength and courage and trust to live fully in it. 

  1. Anonymous says:

    thanks for sharing your thougths, feelings and struggles… and I am sure, all >Mamas< know what you are talking about. But as you said, in the midst of all this we have the chance to learn a lot if we are open and willing…I wish you lots of strengths for every moment and that you are able to see the wonderful parts of this time of your life and don´t feel so much the heavy burden! Praying for you, dear friend 🙂

  2. Anonymous says:

    I hear ya! Sometimes I get frustrated with all the cheery facebook posts that say, 'I love my family and I wouldn't change anything. They are the best, I'm so blessed' I love my kids, but there are a LOT of things I would change if it were up to me, and some days I just want to quit. But I trust God knows what he is doing. and the days are fleeting. There are definitely somethings I will miss like crazy (just not the whining, screaming, bickering…..)

  3. Anonymous says:

    You, mama annikah,I am blessed to learn from. Thanks for sharing the journey.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Girl….I.FEEL.YOU.Would say more but leaving on a jet plane in three hours.Here's to living close to family or having family and live-in help to keep you sane.See you on this side sometime!!!!steph c