The sun wakes up and so do they, one right after the other. They start their day so I start mine and our dance begins whether I am prepared or not, because really, they need me.
And so we do our days: the cooking and the laundry and the gymnastics and the outfit changes and the needing and the owie-kissing and the crying and the time-outs and the tower building.
And the reminders of Let's try that again and You need to clean those up and This is how you be brave and This is what it looks like to be a good friend.
And the lonely and the repetition and the monotony and the taking deep breaths and watching the minutes tick by.
And the worries about whether I actually measure up. If I can actually raise three competent, contributing, loving, merciful human beings.
Because I see things that you don't see.
I see the time I lost my temper with my 22-month-old and told her "I am done with you," right before I shut myself in my bedroom to regain a moment of sanity.
Or the time I dismissed a request to play together because I was just so very tired.
Or the day that I relied on kid shows to babysit my children because I had work that I needed to do.
Or the time I shut down creativity because I just didn't want to deal with the mess.
And I wonder: Am I the only mama out there who wonders if she has what it takes? Do any other mamas have moments that she feels like a complete and utter failure? Does anyone else have days that feel like it's all a bit too much, like you just can't get it right, like you just might want to quit?
Because here's the thing: Being a mama is hard. It just is.
It requires your everything from the moment you rise until the second your eyes close, and even those precious nighttime hours are not off-limits to their needs.
It requires the depths of your strength as you watch them wander and fly, the kite in your world. And you are the anchor in theirs, connecting their restless heart to the ground.
It requires your patience and your justice and your compassion and your gentleness and your patience and your patience again.
Because love is heavy and being a mama is hard.
But in each of those moments, the ones that are heavy and the ones that are hard, here's the thing that I have settled on: We keep mothering.
That is what is so unique and sacred and difficult and powerful and demanding about being a mama. We walk in moments that are so profound that the breath is snatched from our lungs and then the very next minute, we are pushed to the limits of our sanity. We know the schedules of five other humans and balance a thousand plates and juggle a million balls all as we hold tightly to our coffee.
But we keep going.
Even though we have moments that are not so pretty.
Even though we might not enjoy every single second.
Even though we are clinging to the end of our rope, wondering how we will make it through the day.
Even though we worry.
Even though we struggle that our only tangible victory of the day was keeping tiny humans alive.
Even though we lose our temper.
Even though we drank a glass of wine at 4:00 pm.
Even though we fear.
Even though our house is not always peaceful.
Even though we feel not good enough.
We keep going because this moment might be hard, but just wait a little bit. Try to look for something you might have missed: The mismatched outfit of the oh-so-proud one just learning to dress herself or the way the one-year-old tries to somersault and looks at you and giggles. Listen to their little voices sing the ABC's. Let these moments speak louder than the ones that whisper failure. Let these moments remind you that you are doing a good job. Because you are okay, you will be okay, and your babies will be okay.
Because this is worth it. It just is.
Don't for one single second think you are not enough. That your unseen work at 3:00 a.m. doesn't matter. That you are Less Than. That your busy Saturdays and your busy homework hours and your busy minutes from wake up to bedtime don't add up to purpose.
You love your babies fiercely.
You are doing a good job.
What you do matters.
Your work counts.
You are enough.
Even when you are still wearing yesterday's makeup and this morning sweatpants. Even if you don't have it together. Even when this requires more than you have to give. Even when you are at the end of yourself.
Those hard and heavy and difficult moments don't define you. Give yourself some grace and then a little more grace with it.
So keep reminding, keep breathing, keep loving them, keep kissing, keep training, keep playing.
But keep going.
Motherhood is a little bit of everything. It is difficult and exhausting and fierce and worthwhile and stretching. It is powerful and magnificent and mundane and ordinary all in the same moment.
So take a breath.
Give yourself some grace, I promise you are doing a good enough job.
And keep going.
Sarah Sandifer writes about her thoughts on life, motherhood, and marriage at www.thejellyjars.com