Being a mom has been one of the biggest joys of my entire life. The fun that I’ve had with my two little ones has been over the top. It’s such a hoot to watch them grow and discover and become, well, people. If you are a mom, you know there are the really great days, the really boring days, and the really hard and terrible days that you feel like storming into the bosses office and demanding a huge pay raise only to remember you do this job for free.
These past few days have been the latter. We’ve had the stomach bug. Need I say more? Okay I’ll say it anyway. Little kids needing to be snuggled the very moment that the contents of her stomach are emptied on your shoulder and down your neck. Laundry load number one. Lesson learned, right? Bucket at the ready. Now how do you convince a two-year old to hold her head in a bucket instead of being snuggled? Luckily for me, mine is a quick learner and she got the bucket thing down after the third load of laundry. Fast forward 48 hours and just when I thought things were all right with the world again, it starts all over. Yes, ALL OVER. All over the floor, the clothing, the bed linens. Then my four-year old wakes up not feeling so chipper. Round three. Thank God for Cost-Co size laundry detergent and a mother-in-law that can come bring us applesauce.
I got to thinking about motherhood and wondered why in the world there isn’t some training program for us. We don’t send our brave men and women into the battle without first sending through extreme mental and physical training at a military boot camp, so why in the world don’t we send soon-to-be-mothers into battle with at least some sort of training? And, I’m not talking about that little one hour session on breast-feeding they give you after you birth your child. I’m talking about a real, two month training course designed to equip each mother with what she’s going to need for life with kids.
Picture it with me: a group of new recruit mothers, some with bulging bellies, some with the dream of one, standing in a line with a seasoned Sargent Mother walking back and forth screaming to them about how they were going to need their wits, their strength, their stamina, their patience, and their courage to go into unknown circumstances always being ready for the next thing. “Now drop, and clean that vomit off the floor, and while you’re down there, do some push-ups because you’re going to need strong arm muscles to hold a 40 pound four-year old.” While pumping her full of postpartum hormones, she’d be trained on how to survive extreme sleep deprivation, not by keeping her awake for hours and hours on end, no, that would be too easy. She’d be given the chance to fall into a deep sleep for about 15 minutes, only to be jerked awake for another two or three hours. They would repeat this cycle over and over and over.
When the new recruit mom is thoroughly exhausted, she will be set in front of a panel of 6 three and four-year old kids and while meeting their physical needs, she would also have to navigate the murky waters of their emotional psychosis. They would force the new recruit to cook kid friendly meals, clean up the sand from the sandbox off the kitchen floor, bounce a crying infant, correct a bad attitude coupled with bad behavior, wipe a little behind, wash her hands for the 200th time, ooops-pull the burning bread out of the oven, and walk with a screaming kid attached to her leg. “NO!! I don’t want noodles with red sauce! I wanted just plain noodles with sprinkle cheese!” said the kid in a whiny voice.
Wait, wait, WAIT!
What in the world am I thinking? There would be no boot camp in the world that could prepare you for motherhood. Nothing can prepare you for the demands both physical and emotional. Nothing can prepare you for the sacrifices you are required to make. Nothing can prepare you for all the work. Nothing can prepare you for surviving and thriving in “those days.” But on the flip side, nothing can prepare you for the amazing wash of love that will come over you when you look into your newborn’s eyes for the tenth time in the middle of the night and he looks into yours. Nothing can prepare you for the excitement you feel when you see him scoot across the floor with a chew toy in his sights or takes his first few wobbly steps. Nothing can prepare you for the absolute joy you feel when your baby calls you Momma to say nothing of the first time he says “I wuv you, Momma.” Nothing can prepare you for the feeling of pride when you see your son comfort your daughter when she has taken a tumble or when they give each other a goodnight hug and kiss. Nothing can prepare you for the adventure that is mothering. Each day brings new and different challenges, new sets of joys, and no book in the world could prepare you for what you are facing, except maybe for one.
God’s word gives you what you need for each moment. Hebrews 13:21 “May he equip you for all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him.” It’s right there in front of you. God’s grace, that is. It’s there.
I can’t tell you how many times I said, “I can’t do this” in my head these past few days. And, I can’t tell you how many times I said, “God, help me!” (and sometimes it came out in more of a swear than a prayer) but I can tell you that I know that he heard those prayers of desperation. He is equipping me for this very good work of raising two little ones to become mighty. He gives me grace and I accept it with my whole heart even when I can’t feel it.
Now, I’m going to start researching boot camps for mothers of teenagers because I hear it’s a doozy too.
And so it begins!