Today was a circus.
The five-year-old, almost-three-year-old, one year old and baby were all cranky from the moment their toes hit the floor. Okay so not the baby’s toes exactly. But anyway, constant noise, screams, and whines echoed through the walls all day long.
The five year old lied three times and threw some verbal punches at his sister. Careless words I’d never heard before. Pinching, hitting, crying, and the like. No one napped on schedule like they usually do.
We converted the almost three year old’s crib into her big girl bed and what was supposed to be a joyous occasion was quite interesting. Jeremiah had spent most of the day getting a new mattress and box spring up north and putting it all together when he got home. Our precious little girl seemed thankful and excited for a short time but ended up throwing fits and calling Daddy and Mommy names.
While all that was happening, the five year old was out playing wonderfully with the one year old and then he decides to push her in the one spot of the yard with mud. Her face and arms are caked with mud. More discipline came after that and then I scrubbed her off in the tub.
Meanwhile, the two month old baby is fussy and needing all my attention and dinner needs to be served next, but the chicken chili is too hot and the older kids are complaining they don’t like it. (They liked it a few months ago.)
My head is spinning and I feel like I’m going to pass out from being up three times the night before.It’s all I can do to focus on the next task.
And then Daddy and Mommy have about had it with all the noise and fuss and start getting on each other and World War III (like the Sara Groves song) is about to erupt in the kitchen. Oh wait, it sort of already did amongst the dishes and debris. All little eyes are staring us down.
So Mommy runs upstairs to escape the chaos and have a good cry because let’s be honest, if that didn’t happen, all of you know what would have broken out because when Mama’s not happy, nobody is. I didn’t want to hear the word “mommy” one more time.
Yes, this is reality some days. Thank goodness days like today aren’t this bad. I wish it was prettier. I wish I could say I got through the day because I thought about how I would miss this when they’re teenagers or that I got through the day because of the blessings and joys of being a mom regardless of the challenges. Or that it goes by so fast and I need to enjoy it.
But it wasn’t like that today.
It was survival mode from the minute my feet hit the floor. I barely had time for a shower. No time for makeup. My husband and I have barely looked each other in the eyes today and it was his day off.
And right now, I’m so glad they’re all in bed and I can breathe and hear my fingers hit the keyboard as I write this.
“This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, Jeremiah,” I said to my husband a few minutes ago.
He gets it because he’s right with me through it all. The emotions, physical exhaustion, the spiritual battles, the sleep deprivation, the demands … There is so much that goes into loving and raising our children that we had no clue about before kids.
And I think to myself, is this what we signed up for? Holy cow. Four kids all still so young. God, you really think I can handle this?
After bellies are full, thing simmer down, and I’m able to think I ask my husband for forgiveness and we reconcile. I ask my older kids for forgiveness and we hug and talk about the conflict.
And that’s when the only thing that comes to mind is grace and God’s goodness. That’s all I’m left with at the end of the day. When all the happenings in my home are squeezing the life out of me and it’s all I can do to hold back tears from being so overwhelmed, God’s still voice says:
Anyone in these circumstances would struggle, Samantha.
It’s not going to be easy.
This is your sanctification.
But, I’ve got you.
Motherhood is your mission.
There is purpose in this.
I’m with you.
I’ll help you hold on.
Everyone’s going to survive.
I will use this for good.
I love you.
Even in times of brokenness, chaos, feelings of failure, shame and absolute exhaustion, His arms are open wide to carry the burden for me.
And I am so thankful for that tonight.
He is who I will cling to when my head hits the pillow. It is He who I will ask to help me better love my children the next day. It is He who I will trust to bring new mercies and change me in the beautiful, messy, joyful, necessary, difficult, rewarding, purposeful work of motherhood.