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I start my day with an early morning wake up call from my three-year-old. She walks slowly over to my side of the bed and says “MOM! Are you awake!?”

I groan. I mumble some words that include “cuddle” and “in bed”. She joins me and we cuddle for a blissful five minutes until my other toddler cries from her crib letting us know she, too, is done sleeping.

My day has begun and I haven’t even stepped out of bed.

The cries start from the minute my mind comes into reality and jolts out of dream world. And they don’t stop. Cries for milk, for juice, for food. Cries for “Dora!” or “Paw Patrol!” or “the pony one!”. And then cries because I had to say no to one and yes to the other. Cries to go outside and cries to go back inside. Cries to play and cries from being too tired. Cries at naptime and cries when naptime is done. Cries because Mommy said no to candy for lunch. Cries because Mommy said no to chicken fingers for lunch for the fifth time in a row. Cries because Mommy said no to more TV. Eventually, the drawn out cries at bedtime.

Let’s not forget the screams in between. The screams because “sister didn’t share” or “she stole my toy”. Screams because “Mommy doesn’t give me what I want”. Screams because “I’m two” and screams because “I’m three”.

In between all that, we have the food prep, dishes and laundry. We have the wiping of bums and the washing of faces and hands. We have the picking-up of toys so we don’t all fall flat on our faces or step on one of those dang LEGO pieces. We have vacuuming and dusting and bathroom cleaning.

Bedtime comes. The house finally becomes still. The exhaustion has overcome. Yet, somehow it felt like the day was one big blur. What got done? What was accomplished? Anything at all? Why was there SO. MUCH. CRYING!?

One hour. One hour before you are going to crash. There are still dishes and laundry. Toys are scattered. You begin to do one or the other. But you just can’t. So the TV is flipped on and you settle into the couch while your husband picks you up a McFlurry. You are done. Completely done.

Yet the fulfillment? Fulfillment from a full and busy day? Is it there?

No.

Most days, for me, my fulfillment is not there. Not from being home with my kids, anyway.

Oh, I love them. Don’t get me wrong. And I sure am blessed to be able to stay home with them. Trust me. I know.

So why does it all feel so unfulfilling? Why do my days mostly feel like a whirlwind with no accomplishments or checks on the to-do list? Even if checks are made somehow it feels never truly completed.

Perhaps it is because I’m not meant to find fulfillment in my job as a stay-at-home mom.

Maybe I’m not meant to find fulfillment in answering my kids’ cries and keeping the house in order. It’s possible that I’m not meant to find fulfillment in making homemade meals and bringing my kids snack . . . after snack . . . after snack.

In fact, my fulfillment in this life cannot come from any job, title or action I do.

True fulfillment in this life can only come from one place. True fulfillment can only come from our God, our Savior, our Hope. True fulfillment can only come from trusting and relying on Him completely. True fulfillment will never be found in my job as a stay-at-home mom.

It won’t be found in yours either.

Perhaps one day you somehow finish all the laundry, do all the dishes, make three healthy meals, pick up all the toys, AND keep the kids happy for the entire day. Will that be enough?

No. Because the next day it all comes back again. And again. And again. And again.

It will never be completed. It will never be “all done” as my two-year-old likes to say.

If we trust in our abilities as stay-at-home moms, we will feel failure continually overcome us. Because our abilities are weak. We are weak.

But . . .

If we trust in HIS ability to pull us through our work as stay-at-home moms we will be lifted up and filled with an everlasting feeling of fulfillment and joy. Because His ability is strong. He is strong.

And because of His grace we, too, can be strong through Him.

So no, I am not fulfilled as a stay-at-home mom.

But I am fulfilled as a child of God. And as a child of God, He has given me immense purpose in this job as a stay-at-home mom. So yes, I am fulfilled.

I am fulfilled through Him.

Esther Vandersluis

Esther is a Canadian writing from Hamilton, Ontario, living in a sea of pink as a girl mom to three. Find her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/beautifulalarm) where you will find writing for stay-at-home moms, moms with littles, sleep-deprived moms, moms feeding babies, and babies with failure to thrive, all under the umbrella of faith in Jesus Christ.

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