I have this ugly tendency to spew my emotions on Facebook. Not all the time, granted, but on those days when mommyhood is stressing me out and I feel overwhelmed by the demands of diapers and feeding and schoolwork and sibling rivalry and tantrums… I feel this need to release some pressure in silly posts on Facebook, and I find great encouragement when other moms out there validate my feelings!
Today was one of those days. I looked at the clock and realized that I had been in my kitchen for over two hours. That’s right- the kitchen. No other room in my house, not even the bathroom. Between preparing breakfast for my two older girls and making bottles and baby food for my little, then dishes and cleaning counter tops and meal planning for the next week and mopping sticky orange juice from the floor (oh yea, like I said, one of those days), my morning was gone. And as I stood there in my kitchen looking at the laundry mountain in the next room and listening to the baby cry at me from her high chair and the sounds of the monkeys pulling hair and calling names in living room, I had a momentary meltdown. I realized that this stay-at-home mom gig is HARD. I realized that homeschooling is HARD. And I realized that the expectations that I have for what my children should be and what my home should be and what I should be are HARD.
So, in the midst of the chaos that is life being lived in this home, I sat down and had myself a good think. And this is what I came up with… Lessons I have learned about being a full-time, homeschooling mom to three.
1. There are no “breaks.” Now, I complained about the lack of “breaks” I had when I was teaching. And, granted, they were few and far between. But, wow, how my definition of a break has changed! Most days, my break is running to the bathroom and locking the door as fast as I can so that they (those little munchkins that have invaded my home) cannot find me. Well, actually, they find me, but they can’t get to me if I lock the door fast enough! (However, that does not stop them from trying to break the door down, wiggling their fingers at me under the door, and yelling their requests at me through the closed door). And when they are finally sleeping for the night (an ordeal in and of itself), I’m faced with all of the unfinished business of the day (laundry, housekeeping, showering, laundry, paying bills, laundry…)
2. My house will NEVER be clean. Because somehow, as soon as one room is clean, the other six rooms of the house have been devastated by a massive tornado disguised in the bodies of three cute little girls. It is a never-ending cycle of destruction, and I am learning to embrace the fact that our house is lived in. It may frighten some (most) people to see the clutter and mess that we live in, but it is a sign that my children are alive and healthy and creative and enjoying the gifts that God has given them… and that Mom and Dad are in there enjoying their three little God-given gifts as well.
3. My grocery budget is not large enough. And I’m not sure that it will ever be. So, add couponing and meal planning (as in all three meals and snacks in between) to my to-do list!
4. I spend the bulk of my day in the kitchen as life seems to revolve around meals and snacks and cleaning up in between. Apparently little girls eat way more than most grown adults, and my girls eat like wild animals (and spill things left and right as they are graced with their mother’s lack of grace). Fortunately, despite my small kitchen, we have a nice, open floor plan so that I can still see most of the house from the kitchen sink!
5. Comparison is the thief of joy. I cannot spend my days looking at my messy life and comparing it to what I think I know about another person. I’ve done it time and time again, and it always leaves me disappointed and discouraged. We don’t tend to showcase our chaos… I must not compare my lows with someone else’s highs! And I have to accept that what works for one family does not always work for another- my focus must be on God’s plan for my family in this season of life.
6. I am blessed. This one came to me as I watched my sweet little miracle baby working with her therapist today. For a moment, the big girls were quietly working in their rooms, the living room was semi-clean, and I felt a rush of warmth come over me as I watched the therapist hold my girl in her arms, loving on her and celebrating her triumphs with me.
Harper’s face lit up with a smile, and I was reminded that my role as a mommy is challenging and demanding, but it is the greatest, most valuable, rewarding, fulfilling, amazing job that I could have, and I am beyond blessed that God has entrusted these three children to me. I’m learning as I go, but thankfully God has enough grace to cover my mistakes and mishaps, and, at the end of the day, no matter how much love I feel for my loves, He loves me (and them) even more.