I know, after almost a year of this motherhood gig, I should be used to it by now. Used to the dark circles and the dragging hours on the hard days before daddy gets home to offer reinforcement. But, when I was up five times with the cranky kiddo between midnight and 7:30am, I almost feel justified in letting the exhaustion take over.
I just don’t feel like “momming” today.
But, my baby is too young to be entertained by the TV. He gets bored in the bouncer after a few minutes, and it’s totally unsafe to let him crawl around unsupervised. Frankly, there isn’t an option besides just “suffering through.”
Except, I don’t have to suffer.
I don’t have to look at the clock and count down the hours and minutes until bedtime. I don’t have to stomp around in frustration as I clean up another mess, prevent another fall, change another diaper.
I can choose joy in those hard moments. I can choose joy when I want to choose crankiness. I can choose joy when I want to choose exhaustion, laziness, boredom.
I remember meeting with our pastor before my husband and I got married. We talked about the likelihood that in some moments, or even some years, we’d need to choose to love each other when we didn’t feel like loving. The love is there of course, but sometimes the feelings just get in the way. And in the seasons of life where love doesn’t feel easy, we have to “fake it ‘til we make it”.
In those moments, when I choose to pray for grace and act with love, even when I don’t feel like it, I’m usually pleasantly surprised with the sudden improvement in my overall attitude. It’s wonderful how ready God is to offer strength and patience and peace when we come to him willing to take that first step. It’s wonderful to lean on His example of love.
It’s the same now when I just don’t feel like being a “good mom.” I don’t feel like reading the same book over and over and over again. I don’t feel like wrestling a fussy, wiggly baby into a fresh diaper before naptime. I don’t feel like slicing fruit into tiny pieces just to be smeared around by tiny fingers.
But, I do love my son. Of course, I do. I love being his momma more than I ever imagined. And I can choose to be better for his sake. I can choose to do all those things I just don’t feel like, and I can do them well. Not just “suffering through” them. Truly enjoying them.
On the days when I’m too tired… too cranky… too impatient… those are the days when I choose to play. Choose to smile. Choose to giggle, and tickle, and peek-a-boo. I choose to lean on God, the ultimate Good Father.
Because it’s easy to laugh and read and sing on the good days. The days with long naps and happy playtimes. The days when everyone wakes up feeling rested and ready for adventure. It’s harder when we all wake up on the wrong side of the bed and I just can’t handle another minute on my own.
But it’s worth it. More than worth it.
And pretty soon, even without expecting it, I find myself right back in my momma groove. Grinning like a crazy woman and beaming with joy at the tiny human making a mess of everything.
And honestly, I don’t even feel that tired anymore.