Candice is a busy wife to Matt and mom of Noah (5) and Tyler (3 going on 21). Candice also works part-time at our Rosebank Store of Christian Book Discounters. In her spare time Candice writes for her own blog and is a travel consultant.
People say that when you get married, you have to commit to “marrying” that person every day. I think it’s the same with motherhood. Making a decision to be a mother before you have your first born is one thing ~ but living in the throws of family life on a daily basis, I’ve had to certainly step back a couple of times and refocus my heart on my kids ~ re-commit myself to motherhood.
The wonderful thing about motherhood is that you don’t know how deep you’re in until you walk through your front door with a tiny, little human being and begin trying to piece the remnants of your life back together. Believe me, if I could’ve taken a ride forward in time and had a look at what my life would look like having a newborn, I might’ve needed a little more convincing!
You’re almost automatically hit by the fact that life as you knew it before, will never be as it was ~ and that’s crushing. Having had post natal depression with both of my kids, I can share that that valley is a dark one. I think the hardest thing is chatting to other moms who seem to have it all together and you feel like you’re struggling alone. Moms, who have their kids sleeping through WAY before mine did for example ~ I can’t understand how I got that wrong and my first born was and still is to this day, a terrible and very restless sleeper and he’s nearly 4!
As my kids get older, their lives get larger and oh boy, do they get louder. Sometimes, I feel like I live in a mosh pit of screaming, shouting, crying, juice-spilling, food-messing mayhem. There are times when I want to run to the bottom of my garden, rock myself in the foetal position and sing kumba-yah. Some people say that motherhood is the only place you experience heaven and hell at the same time. Just typing that, I feel like I’ve betrayed my kids in some way, that I’m not grateful for the amazing blessing my kids are. That’s completely untrue. It just means that it’s ok not to be ok sometimes:
- It’s ok to feel like you’ve lost yourself in all things baby and forgotten who you are, before you had kids.
- It’s ok to feel like life outside of your house or the baby’s room is carrying on without you and no-one knows you’re trapped in a time warp of continuous feeding, sleeping and nappy changing.
- It’s ok to feel like you’re never having an uninterrupted night, working a 24 hour day shift, and HATING the fact that it feels like it’s never going to end!
- It’s ok to have a living room that always seems to be invaded by Buzz Lightyear space ships, Barbie’s entire clothing wardrobe and shoe collection and you have to climb a Mount Everest of blocks and teddy bears just to find the couch. That’s of course assuming you have time to even sit on the couch, for longer than say, 8 seconds.
- It’s ok to feel a sense of relief when your kids are tucked in bed (hopefully to sleep through the night, unless you’re in the same boat as I am! ) and you can sit and stare into space without anyone needing you to pour their juice, find their dummy or get them ready to bath or go to school or to their swimming lesson.
- It’s ok to feel like all you ever do is plan your baby’s life, while yours takes the back seat. You plan the next nap time, plan the next gap you have to puree food for the next meal, plan the next shopping trip so that’s it’s in between a nap and meal. Basically, your day is dictated to by sleeping and eating patterns.
Motherhood has been my greatest blessing and at the same time, it’s been my biggest challenge. One of the greatest lessons I want to teach my kids is who they can most depend on in life, who they run to when they need comfort and who will never forsake them, no matter the cost. Of course, us moms fill that space without a hesitation but above us, there’s their Creator who loves them more than we can ever love them, even though that doesn’t seem possible sometimes. I want to teach my children that. But why don’t I ever take that lesson to heart and believe it when I have those “I-feel-I’m-not-coping-as-a-mom” moments? I’ve had nights when my kids were smaller, where I’ve actually called out loud to God ~ I’ve shouted at the top of my voice in the middle of the night, through tears “Jesus, I need you to help me ~ I can’t do this!”. Just admitting that I’m not ok to the One who loves me the most has brought me relief.
Vulnerability is the first step towards strength ~ as paradoxical as that may seem. I’ve realised that it’s ok not to be ok all the time. And it’s ok to admit it. I’m not a robot ~ I’m a mom.
“Being a mother is learning about strengths you didn’t know you had, and dealing with fears you didn’t know existed.” It’s 11pm, my four year old has just woken up for the second time tonight, and it looks like another long night ahead ~ bring it on, it’s game time.’