A little something extra this week…No it’s not from the book of Genesis. It’s something that’s rolled around in the recesses of my heart and found its way to my keyboard one day. No matter where we are at in life sometimes we all just need to hear that….we’re doing a good job. For me it’s being a mommy. So for all you mommy’s out there…I just want to say…you’re doing a good job! Keep at it. Don’t loose heart. And it’s ok if you don’t enjoy every moment…
It happened again yesterday at the end of a long doctor’s appointment. One that made me wish I had caked on the deodorant and brought more than three packs of fruit snacks. The kind of appointment that sends us to the ENT today for one precious but cranky baby boy. I was tired. Nothing new…I’m always tired. And those words fell upon my tired tender heart yet again. That kind nurse, while gazing at my sweet boys, lifted her eyes to me and said “Enjoy it. It goes fast.” And there it was. Those words. That phrase so often repeated to me at the grocery store, church, out for a walk, wherever I go! That phrase…again. Those five little words that pelt the deepest most secret spots of my heart with guilt.
“Enjoy it. It goes fast.” So I guess I’m a failure. Because I didn’t enjoy the last four days of ceaseless crying. I didn’t enjoy the unending cycle of vomit, diarrhea, and potty training accidents I’ve been knee deep in all week. I didn’t enjoy it at all. In fact I failed miserably at enjoying any of it. I longed to escape to some place warm and sunny and germ free where the only person I have to take potty is me. This past week was long and exhausting mentally and physically. Did I fail because I didn’t enjoy it? Where did I go wrong? Was it not enough that I stuck it out and faithfully served my family this week, all while wading through muck and mess? Please don’t tell me to enjoy it. Not right now. Instead could you just tell me I’m doing a good job. Tell me to keep up the hard work that is good parenting. Tell me the reward is great. Tell me I can do it. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Remind me that I can clean the messes with a good attitude because Christ can and will enable me. Please just tell me I’m doing a good job.
“Enjoy it. It goes fast” says the gray haired lady at the grocery store. I smile and say thanks wondering if she heard the tantrum from Mr. Two Year Old because I wouldn’t buy him a donut. Was I supposed to enjoy that part? Because I didn’t. It was embarrassing and loud. I’m stressed, out of suckers, and tired of simple tasks being so hard. I want to enjoy it but right now…right now I’m not enjoying it. Please don’t tell me to enjoy it. Instead could you tell me your kids threw tantrums too. Tell me it’s normal. Tell me I’m normal. Remind me to cast my anxiety on God because he cares for me. Tell me you remember how hard grocery shopping was with little ones. Tell me I’m not a failure. Tell me it’s ok to not enjoy every moment. Please just tell me I’m doing a good job.
“Enjoy it. It goes fast” says the cute couple at church. I want to I really really do. But do you have any idea what I went through to get here today? I got up three hours before service just so I could shower and dress four pairs of little legs and feed four hungry mouths only to hear them bicker all the way to church. I will go home to a pajama bomb all over the living room floor, a fruity pebble explosion in the kitchen, and little people ready to eat again with no lunch in the works because I didn’t have time. Enjoy it? Maybe by two o’clock I can enjoy a deep breath and a few minutes of quiet. But right now I’m thinking about what’s waiting for me when I get home and I don’t find it enjoyable. Please don’t tell me to enjoy it. Instead could you tell me I look pretty today? Tell me motherhood suits me. Tell me you remember the days of getting little ones ready for church. Tell me it wasn’t easy for you either. Tell me you’re there for me. Tell me you’re praying because you remember the hard unending toil of raising little people right. Please just tell me I’m doing a good job.
“Enjoy it. It goes fast” says the mother two stages ahead of me in life. And the guilt pummels at my last bit of resolve. I look at how put together she is and place the unrealistic idealization upon her that she must have enjoyed all of it. The long nights of her husband working late. The fixing of dinner with little arms and legs clinging tearfully about her ankles. The endless parade of toys around the house. The public tantrums. The vomit. The endless amount of work without pay. And I wonder…did she really enjoy it? Did I some how miss the memo on how to enjoy those parts? No I don’t think I did. My tender heart squeezes at the realization. It’s not all fun. Parenting little people is hard sometimes…really hard. And some of it is amazing…really amazing. And enjoyable! But I don’t need to be told to enjoy those moments. It happens naturally. I enjoy the enjoyable! But what I need right now. What I need today is for the mother two stages ahead of me to look me in the eye and tell me I’m doing a good job.
To the mother at IHOP who told me my children are well behaved. Thank you. Your comment was a soothing melody I carried around and cherished all. day. long. Because your words, they told me, I was doing a good job.