When Motherhood Doesn’t Feel Magical

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It’s bedtime and I am dreading it, but like everything in life I just have to deal with it and get it done. I didn’t always dread bedtime. My girl used to be the best sleeper. Every since Aurelia realized how easy it was to climb out of her crib and we decided to remove the railing and turn into a big girl bed, it’s not so easy.

I know, I know. It’s never easy. I know lots of you reading have newborns and multiple kids. Many of you are single moms, or may as well be. Many of you are just exhausted, emotionally done, anxious and depressed. Some of you fight to get up every morning because you want children so badly and you can’t have them. Some of you have gone through the unspeakable grief of losing a child. It’s easy to compare my situation and scold myself,

You shouldn’t feel this way. Count your blessings! 

On the flip side, I know sometimes I just need to stop filling my head with other people’s magical motherhood moments on social media. It’s too easy to think that’s real life and internalize it and somehow think I come up short.

I rub my fingers through her 2-year-old cherub-like blonde curls and feel a surge of intense love.

I don’t always FEEL that way. Lately, I am just numb. I have this beautiful, intense and intelligent child coming more and more alive to the word around her every day, and most days I am just getting by.  For that I also feel guilty and judge myself and the cycle continues.

I want to have this magical feeling of being in love with my kid 24/7. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? To feel overwhelmed with joy and rapture constantly. Some days I feel like I don’t even deserve her and I take her for granted. Some days I am not even sure if I can handle another child even though I want one so badly. Most days I just feel inexperienced and unprepared.

“You’re a good mom,” a friend will tell me.

But it’s hard to accept it sometimes. It feels a little like being in junior high and a boy told me I am pretty for the first time. I am not sure I believe it, because I don’t believe in myself enough.

Most days I wonder if I got too frustrated, if I was too strict, not fun enough. I feel my patience running out so much. I honestly didn’t think it would be like this. I used to be so care-free, so patient and laid-back. (Or so I thought.)

She’s sleeping finally. I am sitting on her floor next to her big girl bed because that’s what I do now. Her baby sixth-sense will know the second I get up to leave and she will bolt out of her bed to bang on her locked door. The only way to prevent this is by making sure she is in a deep sleep, like REM, and that’s not as easy as it used to be for her.

My back aches from the position I am in and I still have to take care of the dog and make dinner and do laundry. I know I am selfish. I’ve always done what I wanted when I wanted. I’ve always treasured being alone, having quiet time with my thoughts time to write.

I feel like that’s how I survive and lately I am just barely getting by.

Lately, there is a constant feeble, half-whispered prayer in the back of my throat.

I know, it worth it. I know, it’s over so fast. I know, the grass is always greener.

I stroke her hair again, whisper the words I’ve been telling her since she was born:

“Never forget. You are beautiful, brilliant and brave. Mama and daddy love you more than there are stars in the universe. Jesus has amazing things in store for your life.”

I take a moment and let my own words be real, not just a repeated phrase.

I get to be her mom.

It’s the best and hardest thing I’ve ever done. It’s a privilege to care for this amazing human being. I know it’s probably never going to get easier, but that’s what grace is for.

I know many days will feel too hard, many will feel mundane, speckled with a few patches of joy and magic.

As a super sensitive person, I have to constantly remind myself life isn’t about feelings either. They are too fickle.

There is a Truth beyond what I feel or don’t feel, and when I purposefully put my eyes there, true peace will follow.

I start another lullaby, and feel the words.

I sing over my daughter and the room became sacred.

I almost hear God echoing the song, singing over me.

When you walk through the river, I will be with you

When you pass through the waters, the waves they will not overtake you

When you walk through the fire, the flames they will not touch you, 

You are mine. You are mine.

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