Years ago, I brought my four small children to our local coffee shop. When I walked in, I navigated my giant black stroller through the tiny spaces and it felt like every eye was on me.
“Good morning; you’ve got your hands full!” said one of the baristas with curly red hair.
“Yes, I sure do,” I smiled, fixated on the warm chai latte I was about to order.
This coffee shop was in the heart of the city and it wasn’t often they saw kids scrambling inside, not to mention several children begging for pink sprinkled cake pops and hot chocolate.
As I waited in line, the same barista made another remark about how young I looked to have all those kids. Her bright pink lipstick shined as she smiled. I laughed at her words and said thank you.
I’d had other opinions and comments before in public that were critical and condescending so this encounter was a pleasant surprise. She chatted with my toddlers and was sweet with my squirmy, teething baby looking up at her.
At that time I remember thinking, yes, my hands are so very full with four kids, five and under. We get stares from strangers. Outings are exhausting. Having every child in diapers and pull-ups is crazy. Installing car seats is a nightmare. Sometimes, I wonder if I can carry the load.
Often, I question God about entrusting with me so much when I’m so weak and fragile. Our family life is chaotic at times. It’s noisy, messy, and imperfect.
But motherhood is also so unbelievably fulfilling. Nurturing four children has changed me for the better. It’s given me a purpose beyond my self-centered desires, tested my patience, grown my character, made me more grateful for my mom’s sacrifices, and given me a community of like-minded moms I dearly love.
Motherhood has shown me the meaning of unconditional, sacrificial love and that anything worth investing in always costs something. The constant pouring out of my time, energy, resources, and sanity is really worth it.
While results and success are hardly seen in the daily grind, one day those small acts of faithfulness will be revealed and remembered in great ways.
Today, my kids are 12, 10, 8, and 7 and they’re ordering their own sweets at coffee shops. I’m starting to see all their gifts and talents shine brightly and it’s humbling. We’re buying new shoes every few months.
I look back at photos and their littleness is now a distant memory. We’re living life among dance and wrestling practices, homework, friends, sibling rivalry, and catching the bus on time. I still have moments where I melt down and wonder if I’m fit for the huge task at hand.
When my kids reach the age of even greater independence and that day comes to pack bags and boxes for college (which is coming faster than I realize!), my prayer is they’ll be able to confidently say:
“My mom’s hands were full, but she was so incredibly fulfilled in loving us.”