Dear Momma, Find the Joy
Bad days as a mom stick out like a negative Yelp review. You could have 100 raving reviews, but that singular bad one has a powerful sting. I can vividly remember some of my worst days as a mom, the ones filled with yelling, tears, and darkness. If I let myself, I can start to erase the good memories by allowing the lousy ones linger in my mind a little too long. Before I let that bitterness start to taint my view of motherhood, I am reminded of a song. “Open up my eyes in wonder and show me who You are.” When the weight of motherhood is too much, I want to be awakened to the wonder of it, because I know that it is there where God is revealing who He is to us in an intimate way.
Momma, I know that the days are brutally long. I know that some days the cries are deafening. I know that sometimes the burdens are too heavy. I know that there are moments that bring you to your knees. I know this because I too I’ve faced down the nights that never ended. I too have matched their screams with my own. I too have locked myself in a closet to get a moment’s peace.
What I don’t want to do is be defined by these moments. Tonight I lay in bed with my 3 year old. After story time we turned out the lights, she delicately placed her hand on my face like it was the most natural thing to do, and as her “night night” song played she drifted off to sleep. My eyes welled in tears. I knew that this wasn’t a big profound moment that I would remember as an aging woman, but the sentiment of it was filling up my heart and pouring over.
I so desperately wanted to find a magical way to bottle up this feeling. I wanted to store it away to open up on a bad day. My mind crafted an image of a room filled from floor to ceiling with tiny bottles, each one containing a mundane moment of joy. You see momma, as we collect these, our treasure of motherhood comes to life. We begin to realize the grandiose moments of birthday parties and first steps have a certain flair of specialness, but it's these small memories, insignificant to the outside world, but exceptional to each of us, where the lost joy of motherhood is found.
It's the crescendo of giggles in a tickle fights, it's the secret whispers of, “I love you mommy,”, it's the flour fingerprints on the counter after baking cookies, it's the water soaked floor after splashing in the bath, its their sun-kissed faces swinging in the yard, it's the drip of watermelon juice off the corners of their mouths on a summer day, or another night of, “just one more book please,” at bedtime. That is the wonder of motherhood. That is God showing us who He is. And what a remarkable God He is. Bottle those moments up. Take them out frequently and remember the joy. Here is a promise from the words of women much wiser than me, “these are the days you’ll never want to forget.”