You will be required to run a marathon whether or not you feel trained for it.
I overslept my alarm this morning, which means I woke up to Abby running down the hallway and Pax stirring in his bedroom. Moments into alertness, I'm changing diapers, pouring cereal, cleaning up messes, and commanding the day. I like to wake up slowly, even if it means forfeiting precious sleep. There was nothing slow about today.
Pax was testy. I'd like to say it was because he is teething, but I think we both have to admit at this point that it is just because he is 17 months old.
He thinks the world should revolve around him still, and he is learning the painful truth that it does not. My old familiar archenemy fatigue was dragging down my pace, and Abby's energy was causing her to run laps around the house in search of an outlet to satisfy her curiosity.
Pax was melting down over everything from the cereal not dancing in front of him to the chairs being too white that he sat in.Realizing that I was not going to be able to keep up with them while doing chores, we forfeited all and started working towards leaving the house for a splash park visit. An hour later, we made it to the car mostly in one piece. It took me 10 minutes and more spankings than we'd like to admit to push Pax into the carseat against his will. 15 teary and tantrum minutes later, Abby and I emerged as war victims from the car, and Pax looked content that he had let us know how frustrated he was in transit.
I let the kids run and play at the splash park until Pax clearly needed to nap. I loaded them back up into the car with towels bundled on top, and we made another 15 teary and tantrum minutes later back home with Pax and stuck him in bed. Abby was a trooper and helped me unload the car. I filled her full of PBJ sandwiches and laid her down for a nap.
Now, in the quiet, I rest for a minute before Pax wakes up and we do the whole thing again.
I frequently have people ask me why I would leave a profitable career to stay at home with my kids. It's not because it is easier.
It is easier to change diapers when you make $25 an hour to do it. It's easier to care for a grumpy toddler when you know you get to say goodbye at the end of your shift and leave him.
I do it because of the Gospel. I believe that Jesus is real and that this world is at war against the Enemy. I believe the most powerful moments of influence we have over our children are in the trenches of motherhood.
I want to invest every moment I have into training my children to love and follow Jesus well because our time on earth is short and the days are evil.
When my energy is low and I wish I could hide away under my fluffy down comforter, I am teaching Abby and Pax that I treasure them more than sleep when I still get up and serve them to the best of my ability.
When our groceries run low at the end of the month, I teach Abby and Pax to be thankful that God has provided us food by not complaining and demonstrating a thankful heart as we eat bean tortillas or PBJs again.
When Pax pushes me over the edge and I respond in grace, Abby gets to see that being a mother is hard but that God gives grace to the weak and that kids are still valuable even when inconvenient.
Abby tells me she wants to have ninety kids one day. I smile about it and imagine her running an orphanage with her outgoing personality and boundless energy. I'm thankful that she sees motherhood as a gift and not a burden. I hope I get better at demonstrating that.
Moms, none of us are perfect. Most of us are tired. Let's remember that serving our families is not worthless or vain. In fact, everything we do for Jesus' glory, even in the shadows behind closed doors, is important. Keep running the race. In the Spirit's power, we can finish well.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."