Motherhood is Messy

Being Born as a Mother

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Photo by Daria Obymaha from Pexels

“The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.” -Osho

And so we arrive at motherhood. We must nurture this new life being born in us while also caring for that of our newborn babies. The task is absolutely marvelous, miraculous, and at times, feels like bordering on insanity. This has been true of my journey– of seeing Christ born in me in a new way, in this new person that I was becoming, am becoming, as “mother”; a woman in some ways the same, but in other ways, drastically different than who I was before.

I was suddenly faced, in the early days of my motherhood, with the unwanted burden of reconciling the many facets of who I was, while striving to become who I wanted to be. I was caught somewhere in the middle in a sudden, unexpected new mother- identity- crisis.

The process of demolition began in my heart. I sat for some time, amidst what felt like many pieces of shattered and jagged glass–some pieces leafed in gold, other pieces rough and unappealing– as I submitted, daily, sometimes hour by hour, to God, and often paused to notice the way he was putting these pieces of me back together into a new tapestry. God seemed to be holding each piece of me up to his light and asking “Now where shall this piece go?” as I acknowledged each jagged tile, wondering how on earth it would all fit together– how the ugly parts would be used as part of the beautiful whole. Like a new basilica which would be built piece by piece, this new mosaic resembled me but was sometimes not a “me” I recognized at all. I was undergoing a reconstruction of the heart and soul that could only be described as Christ being born in me in a new way. I came to understand that these were the growing pains my daughter would also feel, the ones I, as God’s daughter, was experiencing.

Wrestling with these unexpected feelings, I found the grace within to see myself anew, and like a new baby, which clutches to its mother for moment by moment sustenance, warmth, comfort, and security–so vulnerable to the elements, symbiotic for survival–that is how I found myself before God: needy, clinging, desperate.

Two years of this building later, holding my second large needy baby in my arms, who would grow rapidly, soon picking up language and the ability to walk, I was continuing to learn, anew, what it was like to walk hand in hand with the great comforter who was my father, who was also mothering me by sheltering me in his love through all of my vulnerabilities. God was raising me up in this new role and life– entrusting me to raise my own helpless and precious babies.

Motherhood, for me, has been startling, wild, scary, and sacred– and continues to be. In committing to be the best mother I can be, I am faced with the reality of needing to become closer to Jesus, without whom my mothering comes up seriously short, and without whom I am but shattered glass. What’s more, I realize that in learning and knowing my daughter, and now my son, I am continually given new opportunities to become who it is that God has created me to be. I have been given this holy opportunity to know myself and to know my father more intimately, while growing with my kids. All of the pieces continue to come together into the stained glass that is motherhood.

Motherhood is Messy

Motherhood is Messy

September 16, 2018|MOTHERHOOD (Originally posted on Authenticfamily.org) Photo Credit (my kids pictured): Chels E. Photography, St. Louis, MOThe Wrasman Family 061.jpg

It’s been one of those days where every pen in the house seems to be without ink. Every game my daughter has chosen to play involves a thousand pieces, a million clippings of paper. My attention has been pulled in two directions between my infant and my toddler to such an extent that I feel I am constantly neglecting one or the other, playing clean up and patch over more than being actively invested and involved. And around here somewhere lives the maintenance guy, er, my husband whom I’ve most definitely neglected over the past four months since my son has been born, or has it been over three years, since the birth of our daughter?

Speaking of my daughter, she somehow found a permanent marker today and the dining room table is now decorated with one hundred permanently black C’s. During her five minute stint with the permanent marker she also managed to draw a perfect Hitler mustache on her face.

Motherhood is messy.

I have now started wearing socks in my house, not because it is chilly but because I am shielding my feet from the goop. So much goop. Globs of it everywhere. My feet are actually both up on my chair as I write this because underneath me is an interesting smear of, let’s hope, chocolate. I think to myself, “How is it that everything that we own can end up on the floor at the end of the day?” And also, “Didn’t we clean up today?”

And while my husband and I have done the same bedtime routine with my daughter for the last three years, she has decided to see bedtime as a personal assault to everything she holds dear and has just wailed for a good hour. Everything was wrong and I was the reason in her mind, the enforcer of life’s misery of teeth brushing and shirt putting-on. “You are not the girl I need” was one of the lines she shouted, and part of me felt it was true. Sometimes it takes more energy, more ability to bargain and restrain and calm down than I am able.

I sort of want to bring cookies to my neighbors and apologize for our collective existence as a family, but I am too tired, so tomorrow I’ll politely wave when I see them and act like business as usual.

Raising kids is hard.

I am not sure on days like this whether to cry, or go to bed without cleaning up, or to stay up into the early hours of the morning thinking up how to try to make tomorrow better when I feel like all of the knowledge I have put into the wisdom of today has failed. Part of me wants to pour Merlot to the very tip of my wine glass until it is almost overflowing, but I restrain myself, only because I don’t want to wake in the middle of the night with my eyeballs stuck to my eyelids from dehydration (not that I have any experience with this).

I feel it all below my rib cage. A little ache like a close friend that wants it all to be clean, to be easy, to look nice, to feel perfect, but it does not. Will not. Yet behind that little aching friend is another feeling of being alive. Terribly, wonderfully alive. Amazingly in this moment. Terribly and frighteningly aware that the permanent marker drawings and sock wearing are not permanent at all. And amidst the disaster that is parenting and child-rearing, I am anchored by this feeling of aliveness and I hope that tomorrow will be just as real as today. With just much slobber and mess and baby-breath in my face and toddler dancing. Just as challenging and full of hope and purpose and growth.

Our story is very much still being written and I know there are some good-working pens around here if I would only just stop to look for them.

And until then, I will hopefully shower and wipe the raccoon swirls from my greasy mascara eyes to face tomorrow with a grin. After all, I need my face at least clean when I greet my neighbors.