The vision I have of who I want to be as a mother is complex and intricate. There are so many moving parts of being a mother and I think a big part of that starts in the home. I envision a home who’s couches are facing each other, so that my family sits down, they face each other and not a television. They can turn their head and eye the dozens of books on the bookshelf. In the background, Christian music plays softly…maybe oldies, or soft classical, or Celtic. The home has more moments of peace to encourage quiet downtime. Each child has their own bedroom, designed with their personalities in mind, but a main theme of relaxation and restoration. A reading nook for each child, with their own personal bookshelf to collect their own treasured adventures. There’s a separate space for both my husband and myself – classic board games, video games, and movie are for him – and a crafting corner for myself. I could go on and on about the home I envision for my family. I don’t have decoration plans or a blueprint of my perfect home to be built because I know that it’s less about the structure and interior design and more about what’s happening in the heart of our home.
The mother of my dreams not only keeps a home that is warm, welcoming, and boosts the creative outlets of each family member, but she also has herself together inside and out. She doesn’t just rise early, she is productive. With a cup of tea or coffee, she sits in her favorite spot reading her Bible and praying before anyone wakes up. She squeezes in making a homemade breakfast for her family who needs help waking up. The entire day is planned ahead, planned around the family’s love of the Lord, finding ways to serve others, and worship through the every day. The home is fueled by love, and service, and academic curiosity, a strong grasp of the arts, and of course a sprinkle of nerdiness.
While I struggle to make our current living arrangements live up to my dream, on a rare day, I become the mother I want to be. Early in the morning, I harvest the fruits of labor in the garden, bake bread, deliver baked goods and extra basil to friends, walk around the local pond with my son (packing a little picnic of course), calmly guide the kids through their homework, make homemade dinner with the organic whole ingredients I purchased at the local farmer’s market the day before. The day would end with board games, bubble baths, snuggles, and a family movie.
The rare day which fulfills my fantasy is never as fulfilling as I envision it. It’s hard. Every day, whether I accomplished something or not, is hard. Some days, it feels as if I’m drudging on like a little slug in a salt maze. Other days, I feel as if I’m another patient in an insane asylum. You can find the themes of the mother whom I wish to be, but as an imperfect person, the day is never how I envision. Tiredness and impatience fuel the mundane day, as I find myself repeating, arguing, breaking up disagreements, throwing snacks in the laps of the children who won’t stop saying their hungry despite eating everything in the kitchen ten minutes ago, demanding everyone go outside so I can have some peace. My days are filled with grace upon grace. Forgiveness, patience, and love is what holds me up during the mundane moments of the day….and it’s the kids and husband who are the ones offering it to me. My day signifies how imperfect I am and how the kids forgive as Jesus forgives.
I’m not the mom I dream of being, but I accept the mom I am today. It’s a special blessing to be able to have this job, as hard as it is. I felt guilty for not feeling fulfillment or that sense of “motherhood completes me” because it felt as if motherhood stole a part of who I am. I grieved the person I once was and it took me time to realize that while motherhood stole parts of me that I miss, it replaced it with so many better traits like strength, resilience, and buckets of love. God has to remind me daily, through scripture, my kids, and my husband, that I am enough…what I do is enough…and I’m doing a good job at it. I’m writing this all down for the other mom’s out there. The ones who feel like they aren’t doing a good job and question every step. The ones who think their jobs aren’t important. The ones who feel looked over. The sleep deprived, oily-haired, all-her-shirts-are-stained mothers out there. You might not be the mom you dream of being, but you are a good mom nonetheless.
“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” -Proverbs 22:6