The past couple of weeks have not been my finest weeks as a mom. It’s the end of a long school year. As the primary teacher for my 11-year-old, I’m ready for the year to be over. I’m done with school projects for my older one. I’m really not interested in fixing one more lunch, answering one more math problem or checking one more essay.
I’m ready for the lazy days of summer. I’m ready to not have to get up at 5:30 every morning. I’m ready for the end of girl drama and not having to go to practice nearly every night of the week. I’m ready for a break.
The truth is that there’s very little about being a mom that I’ve enjoyed in the past few weeks. I’d love a vacation. I’d love not to go see a doctor, physical therapist or ER nurse for the next year. I’d love to have my house magically clean itself and those laundry elves my husband thinks exist to show up and do the laundry.
I don’t want to drive the carpool one more time or rehash the latest soccer of hockey game. I’d love to get a good night’s sleep.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my kids, and most of the time I enjoy being their mom. But every mom has been sold a lie from the minute we get pregnant. We’re told to treasure every moment we have with our kids. We’re told the moments fly by quickly (and they do) and that we should hold close even the worst motherhood moments.
You know what? I call baloney. Absolutely there are moments to treasure in being a mom — from your child’s first smile to their graduation. There are sweet moments, conversations to remember, achievements to scrapbook and days to be proud.
But there are also moments that no matter how hard you try that you will not treasure. Leaving a full cart in the store to deal with a toddler’s temper tantrum. Cleaning puke out of the car seat. Tears over math homework. Eye-rolling from your teenager. Arguments with your strong-willed child that leave you both in tears. Nerve-wracking evenings when your teen has missed his curfew.
Those moments are all part of parenting, but they’re probably not moments you’re going to love. You probably don’t love the messy house, the eighth load of laundry of the day or the constant picking up after everyone.
And that’s OK. Nowhere does God tell us to love every minute of motherhood. He tells us that children are a blessing. He tells us that they are a reward from Him. He tells us to bring them up to follow Him. He tells us to parent our kids with His strength and wisdom. But He doesn’t tell us to treasure every moment. He doesn’t tell us that we’re going to love it every second.
Because our joy isn’t found in being a mom. Our joy isn’t found in changing that diaper, sitting in that carpool line or disciplining the teen who missed curfew. Our joy is in found in Jesus.
Too often, as moms, we make that our central identity. We make our kids so much the focus of our lives that we let our joy be wrapped up in our identity as moms instead of in our identity as the daughter of the King.
We don’t have to love every minute of being a mom. We don’t have to feel guilty for wishing for a few minutes of peace and quiet. We don’t have to feel guilty when there are moments we don’t want to treasure and, in fact, would rather forget.
Because those moments don’t have anything to do with our joy. They don’t have anything to do with our worth. Our joy and our worth only come from one place. They aren’t dependent on our circumstances or on what our kids do. They are dependent on God.
When we keep our eyes firmly fixed on who God is and who He wants us to be, we find joy. We find worth. We find the strength to make it through those moments that we don’t love. We find that we are loved — flaws and all.
So, it’s OK not to love every moment of being a mom today. As long as you love your kids and keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, you’ll find the joy, the strength and the wisdom to make it through those moments.