My childhood dream: Go to college, find a tall and handsome man to marry, and stay home with the multitude of beautiful children we'd create. We'd live in a house in the suburbs, I'd be a perfect housewife complete with delicious meals on the table every night, we'd say our prayers as a family and live a long life.
So far, my dream isn't too far from the truth! Well, the "perfect housewife" part is always a work in progress. ;-) God has blessed me in more ways than I can count, and it's unbelievable to me that He would give me all I asked.
But there are days, weeks, or sometimes even months when I think, "This can't possibly be what God had in mind when He created man and woman!"
I remember thinking that I could have this perfect little (well, big!) family. I knew I'd have to discipline children at some point, but never in a million years did I imagine motherhood would be so difficult. No one prepared me for this.
I knew motherhood was a blessing, but I didn't know there would be days when I thought it was a curse. I knew my fertility was a gift, but never did I think it was a gift I wouldn't want. I knew God had a plan for families, and that our path to heaven was best traveled together, but I didn't know that some days I'd feel certain I'd missed my calling to become a cloistered nun!
I was wondering, why didn't I realize it would be so difficult? How could I help prepare the next generation of mothers for the fact that motherhood is not all over-sized girly bows and trendy boy mohawks? More than a coordinated nursery and shelves lined with toys and books?
I wondered, if anyone had told me how much I'd be unappreciated, pushed around, ignored, or hollered at, would it have changed my mind?
The process of creating and carrying a child is the closest I've ever been to God. Actually creating a person and asking God to breath life into him... Giving my body for a person the way Jesus gave His precious body for me... serving my children and listening to the bickering and fussing the way God grants me grace when all I do is whine and complain to Him...
It's not easy, but maybe that's the way He intended it to be. Maybe the sleepless nights are meant to help us mothers grow in prayer- afterall, aren't we crying out to God to just let the baby fall asleep already? Maybe cleaning up potty accident after potty accident all day long is a way to humble ourselves. Maybe postpartum depression is our 40 days in the desert with the devil.
I hate that there are days when I truly wonder if I am fulfilling God's plan for my life, since I think surely this isn't the path for me to heaven. After all the sinning I do in a single day just staying home with my children, wouldn't I have been better off in a convent??? Then I remember... Three little souls. Three souls that were entrusted to me, no one else. Three souls that were meant for all of eternity for me. They're not in my life to make me crazy, they're not in my life on accident. God gave them to me because He know that I was the best Mother for them, in all of time and space, that I would be their one and only mother.
As I consider my advice to women about to marry and embark on motherhood, I think my best advice would be to remember those words. Serving your children will be your path to heaven, and you were always meant to be their one and only mother. There are many beautiful moments to be had in motherhood, hopefully many more than less, but even during the worst of times the Plan hasn't changed. They're still meant for you, and you're still meant for them. I think if mothers remember that, the rest somehow falls into place.