Three times this week I have had people say to me, "I don't know how you do it. I don't know how you work AND take care of little people. That must be hard." And you know what? Sometimes I don't know how I do it either. It is hard. One of my friends even said, "I love just being able to relax on the weekends and do whatever I want or need to do. What do you do about that?" Honestly? You give that up when you have kids, that's just a sacrifice you have to make - with the hope that someday you might get it back. My "me" times are after 8pm when the kids go to bed or during their nap time on the weekends...if I don't have to clean the house or do laundry.
Coming from both sides of the spectrum, being a working mom is much harder than being a stay at home mom, hands down. For my personality, working helps keep me sane. But the price of my sanity feels pretty high sometimes. No, I don't get home from work and just hang out and relax, not until after 8. All of the house work that a stay at home mom or person without kids has to do, we still have to do. That's what days off/weekends are for.
One person asked me, "Is it worth it?" Well, of course it's worth it. I honestly barely remember life before kids and sometimes hardly remember what it was like to be a stay at home mom. This is just life right now. And there is absolutely nothing better in the world than when my child lays her head on my shoulder and says, "I love you Mommy." Or when she holds my face between her little hands and says, "I have a secret for you Mommy! You are beautiful." There is nothing better than rediscovering the excitement of snow or summer through the eyes of an almost four year old, to feel those childhood feelings for myself again. There is nothing better than loving someone with a love that can't be explained or put into words. There is nothing better than my little family.
When I think about the challenges of parenting, most of the time I don't remember to think about the lack of "me" or "us" time. I don't immediately think about how my kitchen looks like chaos right now, that I can't remember the last time I really cleaned the fridge, about how I really need to wash the floors, about how I NEVER get around to making my bed in the morning because I am trying to feed two little girls breakfast and get them out the door at a reasonable hour. No, I think about things like the conversation that Tryn and I had in the car. When she asked me, "Mom, why do we love Jesus?" The thing that concerns me most about parenting is how to have the right answers to the important questions. How does one explain unfathomable love, immeasurable grace, sin, heaven, death, and resurrection to an almost four year old? I teach my girls to be kind to each other, to be loving to others, to be helpful, to want to be good. But what about everything else? Sure, having kids used to scare me, just like it scares my friends. But now that I have them, dealing with kids is a completely manageable, although chaotic, part of life. It's how they are going to turn out and how much future counseling they are going to have to pay for that scares me the most.
If anyone has any ideas about how to explain God's love to a four year old, please let me know.