I tend to struggle to learn life lessons. I generally only really appreciate them in hindsight, which seems slightly unfair. They would have been really helpful to know in the middle of my life’s experiences! Lessons in motherhood are no different. I am finally able to apply many of the things I have learned as a mother with my third child. It sure would have been great to know that it was not that big of a deal and not to freak out when my newborn wouldn’t nurse for 5-6 hours. Or to have known that my insomnia, crying spells, and lethargy could possibly have been something a little more than “baby blues.” Now that I am a veteran mother (hey, I’m on newborn number three, that should give me a little street cred!) I have a tin bit more wisdom under my belt.
Oddly enough I had a motherhood epiphany while cleaning toilets last week. I was thinking about all the things I wish I would have appreciated while I was in the middle of them, and I suddenly realized that someday this exact toilet scrubbing, diaper changing, baby cuddling, Dr. Seuss reading stage will be one of the times that I will look back upon and wish I had appreciated. Ten years from now I may be going back to school or working or possibly both, and I’ll sigh wistfully and think, “Man, remember back when all I had to do was be a mom? Those were the days.” And I will be right. These are the days!
I am a doer by nature, so being a stay at home mom has been a struggle from the beginning. Now that my brood is growing I stay a little more traditionally busy, but really my days don’t usually consist of much that the world would define as productive. I used to really struggle with that because I felt like I wasn’t really doing anything. I have come to realize over the last five years that I am mothering! It’s my job, and whether or not it is acknowledged by the world in general, it means the world to my family. And to me.
I am lucky to have this season in my life to just be a mom. I am still a doer; motherhood hasn’t changed that, but now I count things like finger painting, baking with my children, going to museums, aquariums, parks, and libraries, doing laundry and dishes, and reading picture books as productive. They are producing the most important thing . . . my children. Although I will still probably look back on these years and think “Man, remember when all I had to do was be a mom?” I like to think that realizing it now will help me enjoy just being a mom!
About the author
Shannon Bowles is a Mommy, Cook, Housekeeper, Accountant and Activities Director. She and her husband have two sons and a daughter. Shannon blogs about their busy, joyful life at Bowling for Cute.
Photo by Richard Summers