Motherhood is hard…and that’s okay

Motherhood is hard…and that’s okay. The most important things in life always are.Motherhood is hard...and that's okay. All the worthwhile things in life are.Dear fellow overwhelmed mommas,

Has anyone admitted the truth to you?… Motherhood is HARD.

We knew that before we started down this road though, right? Or did we? People told us about the sleepless nights and the blowouts, about the tantrums and the never ending requests for more snacks. But we didn’t really know, did we?

How could we have? There are some things that can only be learned through experience. In the end, no one can really prepare you for what motherhood requires. No one can communicate the cornucopia of feelings that flow through you over the course of a single day: the exasperation, the adoration, the frustration, the guilt, the laughter, the appreciation, the isolation, the bliss, and the exhaustion.

Yes, motherhood is many things; however, EASY is not one of them. Motherhood is hard. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. It requires more stamina, patience, selflessness, creativity, problem-solving, and analysis than my career in teaching ever did.

Sometimes, in fact, I’ve wondered if it’s supposed to be this hard. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one either. And then, we fall into the trap of thinking that if motherhood is hard, then one of two things is to blame:

Option #1:

My kids are more difficult than most. I must have just gotten the Tazmanian devil of the toddler world. So-and-so’s kids don’t act like mine. She’s so lucky to have it easier.

Option #2:

Maybe my kids aren’t the problem. Maybe they are normal, but I’m not. Maybe I just don’t have what it takes to be a mom. Maybe I need to be stronger, more organized, more patient, more…perfect. If I was a better mom, it would be easier.

Anyone else ever have thoughts like that?

Here’s the problem. When we think like this, we create a false dilemma for ourselves because our underlying assumption that motherhood shouldn’t be so hard is WRONG.

News flash: Motherhood isn’t supposed to be easy!

Somewhere along the line, our culture has created this false (albeit appealing) idea that life should be easy. At first, this seems like a good thing, right? I mean, everyone wants be happy. But the problem lies in the assumption that “easy” equals happy and “hard” equals unhappy. That’s simply not true.

Our culture is so obsessed with making things more convenient, more efficient, and more fun that we sometimes start to expect ALL aspects of our lives to be convenient and easy…like watching Netflix shows on demand or having a hot dinner in just a few minutes from the convenience of a microwave.

With our smart phones that give us directions to wherever we’re going and instant access to so many of life’s questions, we start to think that all  problems should be able to be answered with the push of a button.

Now, do we think this consciously? No, of course not. But the idea creeps up on us over time, and its appealing message can derail even the best of us into becoming dissatisfied with our lives and feeling confined by our role as mothers.

Here’s the truth: life is hard. Motherhood is hard. But that’s okay. We need to stop associating “hard” with “bad”. After all, when you really think about it, what worthwhile pursuits in life are easy?

Getting my degree as an English teacher involved a lot of late night study sessions, writing and rewriting essays that disappeared from my computer, and conquering fear of rejection. I almost didn’t even apply for the program because of how rigorous the application was. But I decided that if it was something I wanted, then I was just going to have to do whatever it took to get there. I didn’t give up, and I don’t regret all the struggles I went through.

I’m pretty sure that no marathon runner would claim, “Well, that was a breeze” as they cross the finish line. It takes months of preparation, dedication, and physical and mental conditioning to achieve such a goal.

I think of Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, and other inspiring historical figures. I don’t think any of them would claim their lives were “easy.” Quite the contrary, in fact. Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison, for goodness sake. But they knew the value of what they were working for. They knew WHY they were doing hard things. They knew WHY they couldn’t give up.

Do we?

It’s easy to say that we know our work as mothers is important, but it’s also easy to get lost in the day-to-day monotony and lose sight of the big picture.

So, mommas, let’s recognize motherhood for what it is. Let’s accept that it is hard. It is full of physical, mental, and emotional demands that push us to the very edge of our limits. Usually at least once a day I want to hide in a closet. That’s okay!

Let us also recognize that struggling with those demands does not make us bad moms. It makes us normal. Let’s be reasonable in our expectations of ourselves and and our kids. And while we’re on the topic, let’s not make motherhood harder than it needs to be. Let’s kindly allow ourselves to occasionally serve cereal for dinner, choose to read a book instead of cleaning the floor, or forget to play tooth fairy. It’s okay.

Remember, our kids are not horrible. Nor are we incapable. Motherhood is just hard…and that’s okay.

Because it is also SO worthwhile.

We may not have fancy offices or be winning awards, but we are creating the most valuable resource in the world. We are making people. 

Not everyone has the luxury of staying home with their kids, but I do. I am blessed to be my boys’ primary influence, guide, and teacher through their early years. I only get a few years with them before the world will begin shoving its ideas and agendas in their faces.

So, let us guard this time carefully. Let us remember that these little people have been entrusted to us by God. Let us embrace the “hard” and see it less as a swamp to trudge through, but as a mountain to climb–a challenge that we know will bring added strength and perspective.

Let’s enjoy the snuggles and giggles, and let’s change diapers and do laundry with an understanding that even those things are of value to those we serve and love.

Motherhood is hard…and that’s okay. The most important things in life always are.

Motherhood is hard...and that's okay. All the worthwhile things in life are.

 

Strawberry Nutella Heart-shaped Hand Pies

Need an easy Valentine’s dessert that is sure to wow your sweetheart (and make your kids smile)? These strawberry Nutella heart-shaped hand pies come together quickly and taste decadent. Enjoy!Need an easy Valentine's dessert that is sure to wow your sweetheart (and make your kids smile)? These strawberry Nutella heart-shaped hand pies come together quickly and taste decadent. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links to the products mentioned, which means that I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you choose to purchase through my link. See my disclosure for more info.

It’s February, people. We survived the bitter cold of January. The boys and I even got outside for some pruning and soccer playing this afternoon! That’s HUGE for us since it’s been months since we’ve been able to play outside. There is hope for spring! In the meantime, I’m taking advantage of the still-brisk weather by baking. This week: Valentine’s treats! Continue reading

Love Monster: A Preschool Literacy Valentine’s Activity

Turn your trash into treasure with this simple preschool Valentine’s activity that includes a book, a craft, and a learning game that can easily be adapted for kids of various ages. Turn your trash into treasure with this simple preschool Valentine's activity that includes a book, a craft, and a learning game that can easily be adapted for kids of various ages. Is anyone else REALLY ready to be done with wintertime sniffles? It seems like at least one person has been sick with a cold in our house since Thanksgiving. Ugh. I’m so ready for summer. The good news, though, is that the empty tissue boxes that have resulted from all the recent nose-blowing are what inspired today’s Valentine’s activity!

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Fun ways to practice sight words with beginning readers

Do you have a little book lover who is ready to learn to read? Here are seven simple and fun ways to to teach and practice sight words (one of the keys to reading) with beginning readers.
Do you have a little book lover who is ready to learn to read? Here are seven simple and fun ways to to teach and practice sight words (one of the keys to reading) with beginning readers.

Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links to the products mentioned, which means that I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you choose to purchase through my link. See my disclosure for more info.

I’ve really been struggling with our home preschool lately. It’s not that I don’t enjoy it. It’s just that Little Man has now mastered shapes, colors, letter identification, letter sounds, and counting from 1-30. I’m so proud of his progress and how much he enjoys learning, but for awhile I was kind of at a loss as to what to teach him next (and I got a little burned out during the holidays and had no desire to plan anything). However, he’s starting to show interest in reading now, so I decided to start working on beginning reading skills. Continue reading

Learning on the Run Vol. 1: Kids in the Kitchen

Even though it is often messy, involving your kids in the kitchen is a great way to give them opportunities for real-life learning without spending a lot of extra time or money.Even though it is often messy, involving your kids in the kitchen is a great way to involve them in real-life learning without spending a lot of extra time or money.Do you ever feel like it’s a lot of work to teach your child? Pinterest abounds with ideas of crafts, games, and other activities to promote your child’s literacy, numeracy, gross motor, fine motor, STEAM, and who-knows-what-else. But, here’s the thing: you don’t have to do fancy activities to teach your child. Continue reading

How to enjoy playing with your kids

Do you struggle with actually WANTING to play with your kids? These three keys for how to enjoy playing with your kids will help you ditch the guilt and strengthen your family.Do you struggle with actually WANTING to play with your kids? These three keys for how to enjoy playtime with your kids will help you ditch the guilt and strengthen your family.

Confession: sometimes I don’t want to play with my kids. I have one child who can happily entertain himself for long periods of time, and one who is constantly begging me to play with him.

I want to be an involved mom. I want to make beautiful memories with my kids. I know these days will fly by and be gone before I know it. But sometimes I CAN NOT stand the thought of acting out Paw Patrol one more time.

How do we reconcile the two? How do I actually enjoy playing with my kids without feeling like my brain is turning to mush? Continue reading

Practical Ways to Stop Toddler Tantrums

Are you at a loss for how to deal with a volcanic toddler that seems to erupt on a daily (if not hourly) basis? Try these 8 practical tips to stop toddler tantrums before they blow up the whole house.
Are you at a loss for how to deal with a volcanic toddler that seem to erupt on a daily (if not hourly) basis? Try these 8 practical tips to stop toddler tantrums before they blow up the whole house.

Ah, toddlerhood. When our little babies really begin to develop their own personalities and STRONG opinions about life. When they start to do things for themselves…and want to do EVERYTHING themselves.

I have a two-year-old right now who has a serious case of “I do it”-itis, and it’s equal parts hilarious and maddening. I think I’m mellowing out this second time through the “terrible twos” because I find myself laughing more often than screaming into a pillow. I still keep the pillows handy though. That’s progress, right? Continue reading

Dice Wars: A simple & fun math game for kids

This simple and fun math game is a great way to help preschoolers (and older kids, too!) practice counting, addition, and other basic math skills while competing to win the “dice wars.”
This simple and fun math game is a great way to help preschoolers (and older kids, too!) practice counting, addition, and other basic math skills while competing to win the "dice wars".

Disclaimer: This post is completely unsponsored; however, I have included affiliate links to the products mentioned. As always, feel free to shop around for the best deals. See my full disclosure here.

Little Man has been a big fan of playing games for over a year now. He goes through phases where he wants to play the same game over and over, until I have to hide it somewhere to save my sanity (just kidding, I would never do that…maybe).

Lately his obsession has been with alphabet go fish, which he got for Christmas. It’s a great little game really, or at least it was the first 200 times we played it. But last week I just couldn’t handle it anymore. So, I created a new game that I hoped he would like enough to give me a break from going fishing for a few days at least.

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Teaching your toddler manners: 3 rules we live by

Is mealtime chaos at your house? Try these three effective tools for teaching your toddler manners, and reclaim a little sanity at dinner.

Is mealtime chaos at your house? Try these three effective tools for teaching your toddler manners, and reclaim a little sanity at dinner.

Remember way back before you had kids and you could sit down to a pleasant meal and enjoy intelligent conversation with that amazing guy you married? Remember when you could take your time to eating without someone wanting food off your plate, when you had both hands free to eat, and when you didn’t spend half of dinner time making airplane noises?

I know, that memory is starting to get fuzzy and dim, right? Continue reading

Kid-sized food: Healthy banana chocolate chip muffins

Want a healthy and delicious snack for the whole family to enjoy? Make a big batch of these easy banana chocolate chip muffins, pop the extras in the freezer, and you’ll be ready when your little hungry hippos come nosing around.

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Little Man keeps asking me when it’s going to be summer again, and I hate having to tell him that we’ve still got several months of snow before we can break out the shorts and flip flops again.  Continue reading