It’s been a rough week over here. My toddler’s been having sleep problems lately and has been keeping us up half the night. Because of this, it’s made for some long days and cranky family members (parents included). Extra whining, extra discipline, extra exhaustion. Of course, being sick and pregnant doesn’t help things either. Without my normal energy and gusto, the house is also showing signs of being ignored. The state of my house often reflects the state of my mind, so as my home starts to collect clutter in the corners, so I’m also collecting clutter on the inside. I don’t always feel this way, of course. Just today, perhaps. Or really this week. But there it is.
It’s days like today that I start to question things. I start having second thoughts. Why did I want to be a Mom again? This isn’t as fun as I remember it being last year (y’know, back when I was energetic and on top of things). And now I’m about to bring another little one into the world? What was I thinking?! Will I ever see a full night’s sleep again?
Then this little voice speaks up inside. It’s the voice of the rest of the world, looking at me as I wander through the grocery store with a whiny child. You asked for this.
When my child wakes up in the middle of the night for the umpteenth time, I hear it again. Remember, Kelsey. You asked for this.
When I’m on my knees in the bathroom, doubled over and about to lose breakfast yet again, there it comes again. I asked for this. I even prayed for it. I begged God for this child.
I now I have three. Two out, another in. I should feel blessed, not overwhelmed. What’s wrong with me? Was I wrong to ask for something I’m obviously incapable of handling. Do I have any right to complain about any of this? After all…
I did ask for it.
After my husband watched the kids for an hour, I got a long nap in and woke up with a clearer head (amazing, the miraculous powers of sleep!). I was able to realize that was not exactly true. I didn’t ask for this.
When I asked for God to bless me with children, it wasn’t because I wanted babies. I’ve actually never been much of a baby person, until I had some of my own. They’re smelly, irrational, pukey little things that have no sense of personal boundaries or basic hygiene. I do love children, but prefer those who have some basic conversational and reasoning skills. Let’s just say, I never saw myself collecting babies as a hobby. If I wanted something cute, cuddly and fun to play with, I’d have gotten a puppy that I could stick in a crate at night and move to the garage if he got too noisy.
Baby giggles and chubby thighs have their delights, don’t get me wrong. But the irrationality and upkeep of a toddler outweighs the cuteness factor pretty quickly. When I asked God for his blessing, I was asking him to fill my hands with productive work and good fruit, to give my life purpose. I wanted to build a godly legacy, a heavenly heritage, and build the only kind of reward I could take with me into the next life.
I wanted to raise world changers, society builders, Word wielders, faith defenders, family protectors, and Christ worshipers. I wanted people I could mold from the very beginning, to turn out the best I could enable them to be. I wanted future friends and comrades. The kind that were ‘stuck’ coming to my house for holiday dinners and birthday parties for years to come. I wanted people who would love me, care for me, and change my diapers when I’m feeble, worn thin, and used up by old age.
My babies don’t reflect all that just yet. We’re still working on walking straight and eating with a spoon and not their fingers. So though we have plenty of joys and delights in the present, these days are not what I ultimately asked for. Its easy to forget the promises of the future amid the exhaustion in the present. I have been blessed with great heavenly wealth, to be sure. My arms and heart are full. But in many ways, I’m still in the investment stage. And it’s okay to wonder sometimes if this is not all there is. In the words of one of my favorite bloggers, I am taking blunt-edged babies and turning them into sharpened arrows. It’s a work-in-progress, but we’re getting there.
Though we should learn to give thanks in all circumstances (I’m still working on having a contented heart, as you can see), it’s okay to want more out of this parenting thing. We moms of littles are still weeding and plowing. God knows, the work can be backbreaking and sweaty. The fruits of our harvest are yet to come. But they’re coming. And twenty years from now, we’re going to look back on these sleep-deprived days and count every single one as worth it.