Motherhood is exhausting.
I know I'm not the only mom who feels this way. It doesn't make us incompetent or ungrateful or lazy or anemic or sleep deprived or overworked or any of the other things to admit it.
Periodically, my husband and I will have an evening conversation (while snuggled in bed or on the couch) that goes like this:
Hubby: "How was your day?"
Me: (slurring from dozing off against his shoulder) "Fine."
Hubby: "What did you do?"
Me: "I can't remember. I'm too tired."
Hubby: "You say that every day."
Me: (long pause to contemplate) "Yeah, that sounds about right."
It's just a LOT, isn't it? And at least once every single day, I wonder how much longer I will be required to address a certain area of a certain child's life.
Examples? (As if you don't have twenty of your own rolling around in your head right now)
My 4 children are all potty trained. (Thank you, GOD, for the retirement of diapering) My youngest, who will be seven in 2 months, still has to be reminded to wash his hands, flush the toilet, put the seat down...nearly every time he uses the bathroom. He's been hearing that list from me for YEARS now. And if you add in all the years his three siblings had to be reminded of the same things (minus the toilet seat lowering for my daughter, obviously) I've recited that list about a million times. I'm tired of saying it, people...TIRED.
Last week I was having a conversation with my almost-10-year-old son, and I noticed his hair was looking particularly wilted and greasy.
"Nate," I asked, "when was the last time you took a shower?"
"I took one last night, like you told me to," he responded.
"Really? Because your hair looks like it needs to be washed again," I mused.
His reply? "I didn't wash my hair. We are out of shampoo."
How long had we been out of shampoo? Over a week, according to him. He had been cleansing himself with WATER ONLY for at least 5 showers, without ever bothering to inform me that the kids bathroom needed shampoo.
I remind my children to put on deodorant, brush their teeth, load their dishes in the dishwasher, put their dirty clothes in the hamper, wear clothes when they go outside, wipe their hands on napkins instead of their clothes, wipe their NOSES on tissues instead of their clothes, put their shoes where they belong so they can find them again later, cover their mouths when they sneeze, don't eat food off the floor, chew with their mouths closed, don't slurp their drinks, don't talk to me disrespectfully, don't talk to each other unkindly...and all the rest...ALL DANG DAY LONG, EVERY DANG DAY.
Plus, we have all the other pressures on us.
Laundry. (yes, I consider it a separate item from cleaning)
Working out. (which then adds a shower requirement to the day, and muscles that are screaming obscenities for the next three days, because, lets be honest, we don't ever have enough time to work out as much as we need to in order to avoid the day-after soreness)
Hobbies. (Not because we have time or energy for them, but because if we don't have them, we then hear the social lectures about the need for balance in our lives.)
Intimate alone time with hubby. (which requires legs to be shaved and teeth to be brushed, which means something else in the day must be put off into tomorrow.)
And when kids are little its a different list, like whether to let them sleep on their stomach or not, and reminding them to not putting their fingers in outlets, and remembering to measure and weigh them for their baby book...
And as mine get older, the list continues to change to include things like how to drive, and reminders to tithe, and why it's not appropriate to wear certain lengths of clothing items, despite the cuteness of legs and booty, and also, apparently, that it is important to use shampoo on hair when showering.
My gosh, I'm exhausted just typing things, and I'm not even scratching the surface of all the things.
And it only adds insult to injury when you spend all day juggling all of it, and your kids seem to not recall that you told them ONLY YESTERDAY to put on deodorant every. single. day.
It makes us want to sit on the couch and watch HGTV and drink coffee and eat sour cream and onion potato chips as a meal. (not that I ever do that...I'm saying it about another mom I know...)
During my bi-weekly church Bible study meeting this week (which I prepared for by doing the ENTIRE previous week's lesson all at once that same morning because I had neglected it until that point)(and during which I received no less than 5 texts from my daughter (who was babysitting her brothers at home) telling me of the bad behavior the boys were displaying that would require my attention upon my return to the house) the teacher made a statement that SHOUTED into my heart with a megaphone, and continues to ping around inside me days later.
"You are not responsible for HOW your life turns out. You are responsible to be obedient to WHAT God has called you, and given you, to do. He is responsible for HOW those things play out in your life, for His glory."
All I have to do is WHAT I'm called to. Obedience.
HOW it works is up to the only One who is an eternally patient Parent to the most forgetful children.
Now THAT is some food for relieved thought.
Motherhood remains exhausting today. (Seriously, yesterday I arrived at the checkout line of a store, only to realize I didn't have my wallet because a child had been looking for change in it and forgotten to return it to my purse)( and this morning I asked a child to get started on their school work (at 9 am) and he replied "But I haven't even had coffee yet!" and I couldn't reprimand him because I say that EXACT sentence to them when they ask me to assist them with anything before I've finished my coffee)
But the voice of my Father whispers in my ear, patiently, reminding me to take a deep breath, and keep being obedient to the task He has given me, and He will continue to faithfully work it out for His glory.
And really, in the grand scheme of motherhood, that's WHAT we want. For our lives, and our children, to be used for the furthering of the Kingdom of Heaven, in eternity and here on earth.
HOW my stinky, dirty haired kids, and my potato-chip-eating, coffee-addicted self arrive at that...is up to Someone besides me.
Happy exhausted mothering today. I pray that you can find a moment of rest in the Presence and Promise of the One who is Patience.
And that your kids remember their deodorant without a reminder.