Imagine a job where you’re expected to work any time of the day or night. Don’t even attempt to take a sick day or a day off. On holidays, you have double the responsibilities. However you’re feeling, you better show up and be ready to work.
Your bosses are demanding, but don’t have any sense of responsibility. So you pretty much are expected to do…everything. They’re also unpredictable, and sometimes show recognition for all you do, but often they don’t notice. They require all your attention, time, and even hand-holding to get through the day.
Oh, and also, there’s no pay. I hope that’s not a deal breaker for you.
Surprise! The job is motherhood.
I saw a shirt that said, “Hardest Job Ever Loved,” and it so connected for me as to how I think of motherhood.
So last week, we went to the beach, which was not quite the same as a vacation. But we knew enough to expect that.
What I hadn’t been planning on was the steep learning curve of going back to real life after vacation. Or maybe the kids are reacting a week late to last week’s full moon. Either way, Wednesday was kind of a nightmare. It felt like no matter what I said or tried to make happen, my kids did the opposite. At the end of the day, I felt pretty worthless and didn’t want a single person to touch me, talk to me, or demand anything of me.
Most days as a stay-at-home mom are decent. My kids aren’t perfect, I’m not perfect, but we have fun, we do what we need to, and everyone gets along mostly. Their sweetness and random cuddles make up for any defiance and drama, most of which doesn’t last long anyway.
But every so often I have a day where it feels like nothing is going right, I’m a failure, and I can’t take one more second. I know better, but honestly I just want to run away.
When it feels like the worst, you need to know this.
Mama, you need to know that what you’re doing isn’t without reward. It may not be something obvious right now, but the love and care and effort you put towards your kids has a lasting impact. Whether you mom all day, or work all day and mom at night. You just might not see it until they grow older. But even now, my kids surprise me with the things they’ve learned from me, or how they resemble me.
Also? Your value doesn’t come from how good you’re doing (or how good you feel like you’re doing). Or even how bad you are or aren’t doing. I know it seems like it. I know you’re stretched so tight that you’re about to break. That you’re hurt and tired of being fought back against. I know.
But your value goes beyond how healthy your kids meals are that day, or how many educational activities you pack in. It’s in your love for your kids, your determination to give them the best you can, and all the things that make up you.
Motherhood is hard.
We don’t always give it enough credit. We see people make it look easy on Instagram and Pinterest, and we assume that’s the standard. When really, there is no standard. There’s only wanting the best for your kids and doing the best you can. There’s making mistakes, and making them right. And there’s making lifelong memories.
Keep hanging in there, Mama. And if today is that awful day for you, know that tomorrow is another day away, and this moment and season will pass. Motherhood is truly the hardest job ever loved.
How do you hold on when the days get tough?