That moment... When you feel so very, very horrible. And all because you have left your middlest child at the rink, waiting for the better part of an hour because you had no way to get in touch with her. And all because you were driving from Point A to Point B to Point C to Point D. And on the way you nearly ran out of gas.
And then. When you finally did arrive and met your crying child at the door of the rink, her friend says to you, eyes raised as she breezes by, “She sure was getting worried.” And you later find out that said friend also asked your child, “Does she always forget you like this?”
That moment... When the semi-middlest child tells you that you never give her enough attention, that you always favor the youngest because they’re the baby. That you never listen to her. Oh! That dreadful word never. Never, never, never.
That moment... When the oldest tells you that you never (there it is again…) go to the rink to watch his games; or that, at the very least, you are not there as much as he would like. That you never pick out the right kind of jeans, that you don’t buy the right kinds of cereal. That you don’t live up to all his wildest expectations of what a mama should do and say or be.
And you think you might be a failure.
That moment... When your older child takes a compliment you’ve given to a younger child and turns it into a stab in her own back. As if to say, that in complimenting anyone else, it automatically means attacking someone other than them in the process.
That moment... When you are trying to tell everyone how well they’ve done, how very proud you are. And no one is listening because it is not about their own very selves, at that very second.
And you feel so very tired.
That moment... When you are worn down and feel drugged out and used up because of life. And because you went to bed late the night before. And all because you were booking a solo ticket south FOR YOURSELF. For the very reason that you dropped a chair on your foot earlier in that same evening. And that incident was the last straw that broke the camel’s back.
Because you’ve hardly given your own worn-out self any attention lately.
That moment... THAT MOMENT. When you look at your hands, at your feet; and they look...old. When you look at your body and it seems flabby. When you look at your eyes, and they seem tired.
That, my dear Mama, is the moment you realize that being a mother is the hardest gig you’ve ever had to do. Harder than anything—ever. And a secret part of your own self knows this to be true: The reason God doesn’t let us look forward is because in His great wisdom, He knows a mother’s heart would fail if she knew all that was to come. Yet, in His great mercy, He allows us to look back and see how far we’ve come.
That moment... When a Mama gives herself grace. When she forgives herself, even when her four precious off-spring in their immaturity cannot. And she tells herself:
“Well done, Warrior Mama. You are doing a bang-up job being a Mom. You are doing me proud, Self. I know how hard you work at this. Keep on keeping on, Soldier Mama. There will come a day when this too will pass, and you will forget how hard it was and only remember how awesome you did at the hardest job know to human-kind: mothering. You are beautiful, wise, full of grace upon grace. And your children will one day rise up and call you blessed. Don’t you ever give up.”
That moment is what keeps me going.
Keep on keeping on, Soldier Mamas.