For almost every waking moment of the day, I concern myself with the well-being of my progeny. It’s not hard to place their needs above mine. They are helpless and dependent on me. I would sacrifice everything I have to ensure that they have their basic needs met.
It seems simple: Feed them. Clothe them. Protect them. Keep them clean. So why can’t I keep it all together?
I bemoan the laundry baskets that taunt me in the corner of the room and evade the tower of dirty dishes that grow like stalagmites from the sink. I am belittled by the treadmill covered in baby accouterments and tortured by the unread books that gather dust waiting for me to release them.
I regularly find myself overwhelmed, exasperated, and desperate. I am spent. Burning the candle at both ends has left me exhausted and drifting in a sea of responsibilities that never relent.
Even if I were given a moment of respite, it would be completely inadequate at replenishing my reserves. I am lost in the desert of motherhood, searching aimlessly for the oasis that is my former self.
I have prayed for the answer to my predicament. While I hoped for the answer to be a physical transformation I discovered that a shifting of my heart was the antidote for my condition.
Love and suffering will always coexist. This is the lesson that birth immediately teaches all mothers. It is the secret of broken hearts, childless couples, and orphaned children. The suffocating burden of motherhood cannot be shirked. I must face this battle head on with love as my war cry.
I am my children’s destiny, and they are mine. This is our fight. They have been waiting in the primordial ooze to burst into life at this exact moment. Like a magic spell, they were longing for my husband and me to bring them to fruition through the incantation of our love. I refuse to believe that this stardust can exist without reason. I must allow them to smooth my hardened edges while I simultaneously place them into the light so they can grow.
It is my job to remind them that the strong nose they will inevitably possess, traveled oceans to survive. The color of their skin proclaims boundaries that have been crossed. Their determined nature is the same resolve that built homesteads and fought in wars. Their need for an audience is a whisper from past generations when our history was secured with a carefully crafted tale.
I have birthed a leader, an inventor, a storyteller, and a peacemaker. I can not break them. They are tender and precious, but they are equally powerful and free. They do not belong to me. They are a part of a much greater design that I cannot fathom.
All I need to do now is my best. I need to survive this trial.
None of my circumstances have changed. I am still struggling to get my toddler to sleep at midnight and rising with the sun when my oldest bursts into the room assaulting me with questions. I am trying to hold my tongue when my six-year-old tells me another long and pointless story. I am attempting to savor holding my toddler when she won’t allow me to put her down. Most importantly, I will not give myself so much credit for who they are or who they will become.
I will try to see their difficulties as gifts. I will try to give them space and parameters they need to succeed. I will continue to fight against my self-doubt and perfectionism.
My childless self is gone. Good riddance to her. She did not know how strong I am. She did not know how deep my emotions run. I am a new creation, bursting from the ashes.