Dear Older Me,
Hey you with the highlighted hair and the quiet house. I see you looking at the scrapbooks and crying and wishing you were right here where I am. You see the cute smiles and the funny things those kids of yours said and you are wanting it back. I get it. I do! But, can I just jog your memory for a moment? Then you can go pick up your book or take a bath and stop all the crying and just enjoy your time.
This taking care of kids gig is hard work. Hard. Work. The laundry never ends. In fact, I believe it multiplies in the washing machine. It has to because otherwise the massive amount we have just defies logic.
And let's talk about the kitchen, shall we? Clean floors? Hah! An empty sink? Hah! Oh, hi there little one, you want another snack? Another meal? Another cup of water or milk? You wash dishes and prepare meals and clean it all up just to mess it up again. It's maddening.
Your kids need disciplined. They aren't perfect. They sin and you've got to come up with consequences that mean something and that will help them change their hearts. You have to be on it and ready. Even when your kid does something incredibly weird and unexpected and you just shake your head and wonder why they even thought that was a good idea. You're on. Always.
You have no quiet time, no personal space, no choice on how you are going to spend your day. You are with the kids. The kids are with you. And on you. And in your face. And some days you just don't want to be touched one more moment. Your poor husband.
Some days you feel like you are the biggest failure ever. I mean surely the monkey at the zoo would do a better job mothering these hooligans than you. There is too much TV and not enough reading. There is too much yelling and not enough leading. There are days when you are too tired to even put the effort forth to mother well and then you lay your head on your pillow at night and feel the guilt (oh, the guilt) creep up and suffocate you. You pray for God's new mercies the next morning and then you wake up and fail again. It's hard on you, the failing. You question yourself and spend too much time in the pit.
These are the trenches of motherhood. These are the poopy diapers and snotty noses and whining and time outs and these are the days of locking yourself in the bathroom. Its day in and day out and its real and its hard and I'm praying it's worth it.
Because you there, older me, I hope you have few regrets. I really hope you can look back on these years with great joy. I hope you can remember the hard times and know you gave your all. You fought when it would have been easier to give in. You gave when you were totally spent. You cleaned that dang kitchen one more time and folded that hundredth load of laundry for the week. You read to your babies and listened to them even when you felt like zoning out and you made a million memories and only a few mistakes.
I hope you can look back and cry because it was so good and laugh because it was such a mess. I pray you get to see the bigger picture and that all your years of sowing and planting and watering and praying reaps a good harvest.
So go ahead, remember the good times. Just do me a favor, remember the hard times too. And send some young mama a card of encouragement, okay? Oh, and don't cut your hair super short.
The Younger You