It’s the trenches of motherhood that I’ll miss the most. But it doesn’t feel like that while I’m in it.
Most mothers know what I’m talking about when I say the trenches. It’s the early days with a baby, where your life revolves around the three hour feed cycles. The trenches are an intense but temporary phase.
Each day is jam packed blending into the next, with its own set of challenges, and it’s own set of victories. It’s hard to even tell when one day ends and the next begins.
But after my children go to bed, I look around my messy house, filled to the brim in toys, pet insects, and large stuffed animals, defeat infiltrates into my heart. I swear to myself I cleaned today but yet the same toys are scattered about. It looks like I haven’t done anything.
But before I let myself linger in defeat I give in to the exhaustion that meets me by 7:00 pm and go to bed. A mess never killed anyone.
Then there are the days the sleep deprivation catches up with me. I can’t complete a thought or finish a simple task. On these days, where I forget an appointment or can’t remember where my thoughts were headed, I miss aspects of my pre-kid life.
I remember that version of myself that started the day slowly, sipping coffee overlooking the river reading the news prepping myself for the work day. A day that required critical thinking and any missed details could result in dire consequences. A day that looks so very different from the days I face now.
The speed of the day isn’t the only difference. The trenches are a period where you are rarely alone.
The rare moments of solitude come at a price – as they are laced with guilt. Any time carved out for myself is at the expense of something else. If I carve out certain time for myself, I must sacrifice something else – time with my children or with my husband. It’s all a very delicate balance that I have no where near mastered as I soldier along, learning from my own mistakes as I go.
Despite it all, I know it’s these very chaotic days that I’ll miss the most. It’s only when kids are young, when they need you so much, that you feel the most in touch with your essence as a mother.
I also know, that this messy house, is a lived in house, that’s filled to the brim in love and life. That doesn’t make the hard days any easier, but it does make them worth it.
Each day is so saturated with laughter and love. At the surface each day feels the same, as we carry on our routine. But of course no day is the same with kids. My kids constantly surprise me as they show me who the very depths of who they are. I know I’ve never felt more challenged and alive than when I’m with them.
So while it can be terribly difficult, it’s also brought the best moments and days of my life. One day, in my clean house, sleeping through the night, in an eerily still house, I know I’ll look back and realize these were the very best of days. My time in the trenches are the days that I’ll miss the most.
Next time I look around my house and feel like I’m Dorothy in the tornado – I’ll give myself a gentle reminder – that these are the days I won’t get back. So embrace all of it – the good, the bad, the craziness, and most of all embrace the absolute magic that comes with motherhood.