I’ll be in the middle of my morning routine—brewing coffee, letting the dog out, getting the kids’ breakfast—when all of a sudden I’ll feel it creeping in: the overwhelm.
I’ll break up one more fight or be asked one more question, and it will hit me. I’ll go from opening a pureed fruit pouch to yelling. I’ll go from yelling to sighing loudly. I’ll feel my thoughts spiral and my chest tighten. I’ll try to take a deep breath, and then another thing will set me off. I’ll overreact and in the middle of it, realize what I’m doing. I’ll apologize. I’ll try to start over. I’ll hug my kids and kiss their cheeks.
Sometimes, the demands of motherhood sneak up on us.
I’ll be in the middle of making dinner, and my son will proudly hold up the picture he’s been coloring on the kitchen floor. I’ll smile over his scribbled sharks and puffed up fish, and then his sister will show me her bright curlicue paper. I’ll help place their drawings on the fridge, and I’ll feel it settling in my heart. The joy of this moment. I’d always wanted to hang kids’ creations on my fridge, but I never knew how sweet it would truly be until I had kids of my own.
Sometimes, the levity of motherhood sneaks up on us.
I’ll be in the middle of tidying my room when my freshly made bed will be overturned by a jumping 3-year-old and sprawling 2-year-old. I’ll order them off and smooth the rumpled blankets.
They’ll dart down the hallway to my son’s room where toys litter the floor like sprinkles on a cupcake. I’ll follow them down the hall, and while I stand in the doorway looking in on their disaster, it’ll hit me. The resigned frustration of having to clean it all up again. I’ll be thankful they gave me a break by playing together, but I’ll remember how I’d spent yesterday afternoon gathering up the same LEGOs, robots, and dinosaurs.
Sometimes, the repetition of motherhood sneaks up on us.
I’ll be in the middle of snuggling my toddlers on the couch while a show plays on Netflix when my son will turn and grin at me. My daughter will burrow closer, and I’ll adjust the blankets. I’ll feel their bodies warm up as they grow sweaty with sleep, and it will hit me. The indescribable wonder of being their mom. My eyes will well with tears as I look at their fluttering lashes and full cheeks. I’ll stroke their hair, and the memory of this moment will burrow deep into my heart.
Sometimes, the miracle of motherhood sneaks up on us.
I’ll be in the middle of bathing my kids when my daughter will slap the water and water will surge out of the bathtub. I’ll tell her to stop splashing and mop up the floor, and she’ll lean over the tub watching me, more water dripping down. I’ll pull them out, dry them off, and help them dress—even as they run away shrieking. I’ll make my way downstairs to get them one more snack before nap time, and it will hit me. Just how badly I need this break. I’ll tuck them into bed and pray with them, and then run downstairs to temporary freedom.
Sometimes, the exhaustion of motherhood sneaks up on us.
I’ll be in the middle of taking a break when I find myself opening up the photo album icon and scrolling through the thousands of pictures that clog up my phone’s memory. I’ll be transported to a single moment in time—completely mesmerized once more by their smallness, feathery hair, and wrinkled feet. I’ll think about the way they smelled and the softness of their newborn skin. Then I’ll look over at the two toddlers laying on my living room carpet, and it will hit me. How much I’m going to miss this, and how I still can’t believe they are mine.
Sometimes, the soft memories of motherhood sneak up on us.
And when they sneak up, it’s OK to pause, to breathe, even cry.
This journey is beautiful and so hard, but we’re better for it.