Well I did. She used to call them “ah-ha” moments, remember? The moment you really get something. Usually something big, sometimes even life changing.
That happened to me this week. Somehow I stumbled upon something big-ish. Let me backtrack a little to explain…
Monday was a rough day. I had another episode of “it’s all too much…I can’t DO this…I never accomplish anything…I am physically and emotionally exhausted…” Yadda, yadda, yadda. Any mom, especially a homeschooling mom, can relate. These happen somewhat regularly around here.
So on Tuesday the kids went to the sitter for several hours so I could get a few things done and clear my head. Time to regroup. Again.
While driving home from running an errand I was thinking intently about my life. How it is it that it is SO good yet SO hard?
Sitting at a stoplight I happened to notice two LDS missionaries walking across the intersection in the cross walk. The thing that caught my eye was the large, yet genuine smiles on their faces. They seemed to walk with a spring in their step that emanated true joy.
I did not serve a mission, but I know the stories. Missions are hard. Yes, they are also filled with amazing joy filled moments. But they are incredibly hard.
Sounds a lot like motherhood to me.
So how can these 18 year old boys walk around with big smiles on their faces? How do they do it? How can I learn to do the same thing?
Sitting at lunch with my hubby a few hours later I asked him how he had done it. How was it possible to turn things around and be so happy in the midst of all the hard?
And here’s what he said. You learn to not think about life after the mission. If you focus on it too much the days get really long and the weeks go by slow. You joke and laugh about the hard things and stay focused on the here and now. You forget yourself and go to work.
And there it was. The beginning of my “ah-ha” moment. I realized that in my longing for a little freedom, a clean house and some peace and quiet, I had unknowingly been thinking way too much about what life will be like after the kids are grown. I realized that I had not yet completely surrendered to the here and now and had not accepted it fully for what it is.
Turns out I have been fighting it for years. Trying to fix it and make it less hard by doing this and trying that. But the truth is – it is what it is and there is nothing I can do to change that.
Right now Little Miss 4 year old is going to pull every item of clothing out of her drawers, steal food, make messes everywhere she goes and do her best not to follow directions. The boys are going to pee their beds every single night, rarely be able to focus on any given task, fight with each other and forget to do the same important things that we do every day for the millionth time. There is no book I can read or strategy I can try that is going to make them not be little kids. And that is who they are right now.
In a way it feels as if I have thrown my hands up and said, “Alright life! YOU WIN! I GIVE UP!!” But I feel even more as if after ten years of parenting, I have finally learned acceptance. I accept where we are RIGHT. NOW. Even though it is difficult for me, I accept that this is my life right now.
And happily, just like that, I have begun to notice a little less frustration and a little more patience winding itself in and out of my days. “It is what it is!” I keep reminding myself.
I want so much to be like those missionaries far from home who walk around with smiles on their faces and a spring in their step. So I’m working on it. And maybe I’ll even learn to laugh and throw out a joke or two when one of the kids decides to paint themselves green again or smears diaper rash cream all over their body…just maybe.