Friday, April 15, 2011

Different Kinds of Hard

Last night, I sat with some wonderful women and had a great discussion about hard and good being so closely related.  It really got me thinking about all the different kinds of hard we experience in the day to day of motherhood.  And I just mean the day to day stuff.  Not the really hard stuff that some people at different times are dealing with.  I mean the hard stuff that's so temporary, yet so real.

I think back to when I was pregnant with my first.  I received all sorts of advice and concern:
"You'll be tired."
"The baby will control your life."
"The newborn poop stains everything."

And then it seems that well-meaning parents of teenagers are always willing to give advice to mothers with younger children...
"Just wait until you have teenagers."
"Enjoy the time while they are young."
"You don't know what problems are until you have teenagers."
etc. etc. ETC.

Rarely do people ever mention the in-between newborn and teenager stage.  It's as though it is just supposed to be cheery and bright.  Seems everyone just says "Enjoy it, it goes by too quickly."
And really.
I am enjoying it.
But boy is it still hard sometimes.

A while back, a friend expressed her frustration with an elementary school aged child having problems with his academic studies and potty issues.

As she asked my thoughts, I really had very little to say except, 
"Motherhood is hard."

More recently, I was visiting with the principal of our elementary school.  We had just finished discussing some typical, normal, non-desirable, childhood behaviors.  I asked her, "Why does nobody tell you these parts of motherhood?  They just focus on what will be difficult about newborns.

I will never forget her reply (I am paraphrasing here), "I remember my daughter used to play at my feet in the kitchen, emptying the cans out of the cupboards.  It seemed hard at the time. And then one day you find yourself wishing the cans on the kitchen floor were the worst of your worries!"

As she was saying those words, I knew I had a one year old and three year old whose supervision was a daddy laying on his back in bed.  I made a mental note to 'enjoy' what mess I came home to, rather than some of the more monumental issues I was dealing with, with my older children in school.  

I'm past the sleepless nights of newborns and I'm not in the thick of teenage years yet, but you know what?

There are still some hard parts.
And maybe not AS hard as a past time or a future time.
But in its own way, still hard.
It is hard to:
  • See a child come home from school trying not to cry because of how unkind 'a friend' was.
  • Deal with a child who starts crying two minutes before the bus arrives and won't say a single word-and so eventually you just sort of shove them in the general vicinity of the bus. 
  • Knowing your child has a deep longing for something that seems there is no earthly way to provide it for them
  • Receive a phone call from the school principal when her reason for calling has nothing whatsoever to do with PTA.
  • Watch children give a subject their all, and then see the tears of frustration, when it still isn't quite enough.
  • And plenty of other things that are too personal to air so publicly.  
Motherhood isn't easy, and it's okay to recognize and accept that there is some hard IN EVERY STAGE!

Onward, ever onward.

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