We had some friends come over for dinner recently. That means I spent all afternoon cleaning the kitchen, sweeping and mopping the floors, dusting, straightening up, and vacuuming our living room. The counters were clear and clean, the sink was empty and sparkling, and the floors were cleaner than they’d been in a long, long time.
Then our guests came – and we all ate, played games, ate some more, said goodnight, and since the hour was very late, went to bed.
I woke up to a crowded, cluttered, messy kitchen, and a full sink. Not even 24 hours after I’d spent all that time cleaning. Times like these make me want to shake my fist at the heavens, dramatically pull out my hair, and cry, “Why? Why? Why do I even bother?!?”
(I may have shaken my fist at the heavens a time or two).
There are so many things like this in life. You spend two hours organizing your son’s LEGOs together, and that night he dumps them all into a pile. Laundry is a constant litany of “Wash-Fold-Dry-Repeat.” You pack lunches every day, and you hang up the same jacket again and again.
Ladies, you know the old adage, “A mother’s work is never done.” Here’s the life-changing truth, though: We have a choice in how we feel about it. We can get mad, frustrated, and even depressed, or we can come to accept that this is part of motherhood.
When I was younger and envisioned what it would be like being a mother, I thought of the sweet moments holding my babies, reading stories to my children, comforting my crying daughter with homemade cookies, etc. Motherhood, by definition, is nurturing, protecting, and caring for another. Now that I am a mom, I know the reality is vastly different than what I pictured it to be.
One of my favorite books, Deliberate Motherhood, frankly explains motherhood as “endless whining, crying, mess-making, disciplining, shopping, coaxing, budgeting, negotiating, laundering, calendaring, cooking, cleaning, and the constant feeling that [you are] always forgetting something” (Reynolds 3).
Motherhood is hard. But this truth, quoted in the book and written in M. Scott Peck’s book The Road Less Traveled, hit me hard:
“Life is difficult….Once we truly know that life is difficult–once we truly understand and accept it–then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”
There’s no such thing as “done” when you are a mother. There are always tears to wipe, hugs to give, rides to offer, dinners to cook, laundry to do, etc. This month, I will strive to come to peace with the fact that my job is never “done.” I need to stop trying to get to “done” and embrace my tasks with peace in my heart.
When I faced my messy kitchen this morning, I remembered these thoughts. I took a deep breath, worked through the mess, and smiled when I finished the task (for now). The kitchen was clean, and that brought me peace and a little brightness.
In addition, I am working on accepting myself, faults and all. I am trying to overcome the “Compare Snare” that all women struggle with, especially those of us who read blogs and/or Pinterest! Today, I will work on recognizing “perfect” as a verb, not a noun; I will work to become my best self rather than trying to appear perfect. This week, I will work to remember that my best really is enough, and to watch my self-talk.
What do you need to accept to be a better mother? Join the conversation — leave a comment below!
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