An afternoon thunderstorm had just rolled through. The dry, mountain air held the perfect hint of humidity, and a cool breeze swept through the sheer curtains, begging me to set aside unloading the dishwasher to instead curl up on our patio chair’s deep red cushion and read. Or scroll through Instagram. Or listen to a podcast. Or simply sit, uninterrupted.
And it was as I dreamt of neglecting my duties that I couldn’t help but notice them. They were everywhere. They being what seemed like just about everyone and their mom, galavanting about freely. Unchained and untethered, they were riding bikes and jogging and strolling along with fingers interlaced. At 7:08pm on a picture-perfect summer evening, they were living life without bounds, and they were clearly rubbing it in my face. They were showing off, oh-so-rudely reminding me that I could only travel as far as the baby monitor’s reception would allow, which realistically isn’t even a foot beyond the sliding glass door that leads to our inviting back porch.
So there I stood, country music playing in the background (softly, of course, so as to not wake the sleeping babe), unloading an absurd amount of tiny silverware and feeling a whole lot like the outcast. A wannabe. An outsider. I was trapped within the confines of my home like a prisoner, and yet, I’d chosen this life without hesitation. I planned it, in fact. I longed for it, dreamt about it, and then, when it happened, I waited with bated breath for those nine months in almost unbearable anticipation of motherhood.
This season of motherhood, though, the one with little littles – it’s teeming with sacrifice. Bedtime routines interrupt the occasional, long awaited dinner party. Oftentimes I turn down that friend wanting to meet at that restaurant for lunch because I’d rather not deal with a toddler screaming, “I want down!” while a teething baby gnaws on the edge of the table. Maybe tomorrow, but I’ll pass for today, thanks. It means having to squeeze weekend activities into the small pockets of time between naps. It’s having to get a babysitter in order to enjoy a genuinely relaxing meal, and then having to pay for that babysitter. On top of the price of the dinner. Ouch. And it’s watching the world rush by without a care as you cram miniature forks into the silverware drawer.
It can be exhausting, this sacrifice. Most days I feel like I do a whole lotta pouring with minimal, if any, refilling. I watch as friends and acquaintances and strangers parade about without having to consider the needs of tiny humans; tiny humans who aren’t so great at conveying those needs and yet are extremely well versed in letting you know when you’ve failed to meet them. With lots of yelling. And tears.
But, despite the fact that I live in a virtually constant state of sacrifice these days, I’ve gained infinitely more. The sacrifice – that’s the easy part. Tending to the hearts of these two unique, vulnerable little boys that I’m privileged to call “mine,” recognizing the preposterous speed at which this is all passing by, and daily questioning whether or not my sacrifices are actually sufficient – that’s the hard part.
So I’ll settle into this season of motherhood, knowing that it will be long gone all too soon. I’ll worry less about the freedom that I’m lacking and more about the lives I’ve been called to shape. I’ll shift my focus to what’s happening within the walls of this beautiful home that my husband and I have created instead of what’s happening just beyond our fence line.
And I’ll keep in mind that each sacrifice I make today is all thanks to having gained the most treasured title I’ll ever hold: Mom.