Falling into the couch the other night after a long day, my husband says to me, "This is hard work!" He was referring to the complex task of raising three children that day. His simple comment stuck with me, as I realized I needed to be reminded of this fact.
So, here is your reminder, Friend. This job is hard. Motherhood. Homeschooling. They are not easy tasks, and we should not keep hoping for the day when it will get easier. Don't get me wrong. It does get easier. Different seasons of life result in different levels of difficulty. But, in the grand scheme of things, this job is hard. It is hard, because it is important.
Physically, by the end of the day (or the middle of the day) you want to fall to the ground and surrender. Of course, this may not apply if you are under the age of 30! You may ache from pregnancy, ache from a night with a toddler flopping all over you as he slept, ache from running to rescue dare devil children from certain injury, ache from rocking an infant for hours, ache from keeping up with children at a park or zoo, ache from standing all day long (the last time you sat was to go to the restroom, and that was yesterday), or other similar feats.
Then, there are the worries. Are they eating enough? Sleeping enough? Are they behind in math? Ahead in spelling? Do they know Jesus? Will they keep the faith? Who are their friends? Are they healthy? How do I keep them safe? Do they have kind hearts? Will they get to Heaven? These and more spin in our heads, as we try to do what's best for our babies. A mother's worries never end...unless she finds the peace in giving it all to God.
The heart of a mother is stretched like her bulging belly during pregnancy. We are forced to love harder than we ever thought possible, which makes loss that much more painful. Someday our children will "leave the nest." Even though my oldest is only nine, I am starting to see evidence that she will one day walk away from me and have "her own life." The years of my influence are waning, and so I feel called to love her ever more each day. I work harder to help her grow into the strong, delightful young lady I know God has created her to be. But, this mother's heart knows I am not in control. God will lead her. I just have to keep trying to steer her back towards Him over and over again.
To raise virtuous children, I must grow in virtue. I must control my reactions. I must never let my guard down. It is exhausting, as it should be. We are called to give our all to God to fulfill His will for us. His will for me is to raise these babies and give them back to Him, so if I do not give every ounce of myself every day to glorifying Him in this vocation, I fail. It is okay to be tired. I must acknowledge that I am working hard.
Note: I do not mean that if your sanity is compromised by your exhaustion, that is excusable. Sometimes we truly do need a helping hand, whether from another person or by giving ourselves a break and/or cutting something on our to-do list. I am speaking here about the general day-to-day weariness that comes from loving until it hurts but still knowing in your mother's heart that you can do it all over again tomorrow.
For God has designed motherhood. Our model of motherhood, the Blessed Virgin Mary, had the most difficult motherhood of any. She saw her son ridiculed and crucified, knowing that He was the Son of God. What a painful way to let go of your only child! In Mary's strength, we can find strength for this job. We can endure its struggles and be renewed in mind and spirit to carry on with a loving, gentle, mother's heart.
How do you cope with exhausting days? Have you found ways to stay consistent despite the weariness?