We meet again, here, bumping up alongside one another in the fog of motherhood. Motherhood that bends our knees and tightens our shoulders, that spins webs of worries and gives us no rest, beneath the ceiling fan on an eighty-degree night.
I hear my daughter shouting in ugly tones at her brother out in the kitchen.
She’s right, he shouldn’t use the twenty-five cent plastic blue bowl in the microwave, no matter how badly he wants to eat his oatmeal from it. She’s wrong though, because she’s just…so…unbearable to listen to.
She raises her voice over his whining cries. She barks and I think I hear her stomp her foot. She huffs and ignores me when I call out to her to come see me.
Asher just won’t listen to me! She storms into my room, hands tucked firmly into her armpits.
You’re not wrong, Lila, but he might be more likely to listen to you if you were nicer.
I can’t! He’s just so frustrating and annoying! And off she goes, to sneer at her brother, to see where everyone else is going wrong (being annoying, not following the rules), to complain about the injustices of her life, to do anything other than, perhaps, accept that there is ugliness within herself, too.
So….she’s me, sixty-five percent of the time.
And as much as I want to blame busyness, the sink full of dishes, the three year old who insists on only using the toilet when it suits her, the children who bicker and snarl and grumble and growl – as much as I want to blame motherhood for the state of my heart, the overflow of my cup, I can’t.
Motherhood is the forest I’m in. It is a maze of trees, of thick fog and downpours, moments when everything looks the same and we’re going in circles, complete and utter exhaustion, skinned knees, annoying insects, hunger, nightfall. It’s a forest. But no matter how I choose to make my way through, I am still only myself reacting to the forest. The journey informs who I am becoming, but it isn’t responsible for the condition of my heart when I walked in.
It’s so easy to want to think otherwise.
If I had more time for myself.
If I could ever just finish a shower without opening the door once or twice to listen for the sounds of my kids shouting over one another in the next room (and debating how much of an emergency it either is or isn’t.)
If a trip to the grocery store didn’t feel like an Olympic event.
If I wasn’t always balancing the weight of the entire world while just trying to drink a cup of coffee, still hot.
If, if, if…
But, truth is, motherhood doesn’t make you impatient or snarky, or an unkind person who barks and snips. It can rattle you and it will test you. But, how you respond?
That’s on you.
Oh. Now, there’s a doozy to lay in bed and consider beneath a spinning ceiling fan.