Being a stay with child mom is not a glamorous job.
I used to think it was all cuddles, blanket forts and frolicking in the park. In my pre-mom years I often saw women strolling their babies around the neighborhood and others having mommy dates at the park. How relaxing! How fun! How free!
How wrong I was.
When I actually became a stay with child mom, I learned about the other side of motherhood—the endless dishes, diapers and laundry.
Don’t get me wrong. I love being with KidFish all day. It’s the dishes, diapers and laundry that I could do without.
This year, I am challenging myself to see from a different perspective. To look at those dishes, diapers and laundry as a result of memories that were made and moments that were shared.
What stories can those dishes tell?
What sweet words have those diapers heard?
What adventures has that laundry experienced?
Instead of seeing a stack of dirty dishes…
…I should smell the delicious meal that was shared with love.
…I should hear the meaningful dinner conversations.
…I should see the opportunity I had to teach KidFish manners.
Instead of seeing a pile of unfolded laundry…
…I should see a life of abundance.
…I should see the stains on KidFish’s pants from the time she found a sand dollar at the beach.
…I should see the time my sweatshirt kept me warm on the cable car ride as my husband and I pretended to be tourists.
Instead of seeing a diaper that needs to be changed…
…I should see the awesome little person that I get to love.
…I should find comfort in knowing that KidFish is getting enough to eat and drink.
…I should hear the giggle that came out of KidFish’s mouth as I tickled her exposed belly.
Listen closely because those dishes, diapers and laundry tell many stories. Hopefully mine tell of a life well lived.
What stories can your dishes, diapers and laundry tell?
Can I be honest? Sometimes I get discouraged for not having this whole parenting thing figured out. I’ve been a mom for more than two years, which equates to more than 18,000 hours! In any other area 10,000 hours qualifies me as an expert, but when it comes to parenting, I’m just a beginner.
I may still have a long way to go, but I’m so glad that I’m not where I used to be.
When I was in college, my brother told me that he would never let me babysit his future kids. EVER! (emphasis his) Something about being irresponsible…or something…I guess I wasn’t really paying attention and was too irresponsible to listen to what he was saying.
That was almost 15 years ago and since then, I’ve babysat all my nieces and nephews…all 5 of them! I’ve even volunteered with middle schoolers, high schoolers and now preschoolers…and I love it!
When I start to get discouraged about still having a long way to go on my journey as a parent, it helps to remember how far I’ve come, not just how far I have to go.
This exchange came completely out of nowhere, took less than 30 seconds and reminds me why I love being with my daughter.
KidFish: “What’s this?”
Me: “That’s a list of the people I pray for every day.”
KidFish: “That’s how you love them.”
Sometimes the things that come out of KidFish’s mouth are so insightful and wise. I’ve never thought about prayer as an act of love, but it truly is.
Sleep is my favorite activity. I am NOT one of those super moms that wake up before the rest of the family to start the day. In fact, I have a super human ability to sleep long stretches of time. Sometimes I think I’m a koala trapped in a human body…they sleep 22 hours a day!
This morning, however, I woke up to one of “those cries.” You know, the ear piercing kind. The kind that translates into “Mom! Come get me NOW! RIGHT NOW! WHY AREN”T YOU HERE YET? I’M GOING TO KEEP SCREAMING UNTIL YOU COME!!!!!”
Eyes blurry, I looked at my clock, which read 5:27. 5:27?!? Maybe I could ignore her or pretend to be asleep. But that’s not what good moms do. Good moms get up. So I dragged my limp, lifeless body out of bed to calm her down. It was in those moments of sleepless delirium that I realized three things:
1. Treasure these moments, because it won’t always be this simple.
It’s not easy, but it’s simple now. A cuddle and a song can fix just about anything. There may come a time when my daughter experiences pain and heartbreak at a level that my cuddle cannot soothe, so I better enjoy these moments while I can.
2. I am irreplaceable.
Of the 7 billion people in the world, KidFish only has one mom—me. She will only ever have one mom. She’ll have people that come into her life that love, mentor, teach and guide her, but she’ll still only have one mom. What an awesome privilege!
3. It’s as much for her as it is for me.
Sometimes I think that parenting is a one way street and that It’s my job to take care of her. Although for the most part it is (at least at this stage) KidFish also has the ability to take care of me in ways no one else can. I am insecure and have a deep fear of rejection, but knowing that I am the only one that can comfort her in the wee hours of the morning is healing for me.
What things go through your mind when you have to wake up at all hours of the night for your children?
It’s amazing how sometimes a song can so perfectly capture the cry of my heart…
(Invade by Watermark)