The Mom Life.
Before I became a mom, I envisioned life as this beautiful portrait – home-cooked meals, an immaculately clean home, guests over for dinner and coffee with the kids sleeping soundly in their beds, and all the time in the world for hobbies and DIY projects. In my portrait I was thin and fit with perfectly styled hair, freshly painted nails, and enough make-up to freshen up my face without looking overdone. In my portrait I am stylish, put together, and I smell like heaven; a beautiful bouquet of freshly washed laundry, bread baking in the oven, sunlight and spring air, a hint of rain and floral scents from working in the garden, and just a dash of brown sugar and vanilla from the cookies cooling on the counter. Emblazoned on my kitchen apron is a glittering gold ‘S’ for Superwoman, a badge I have earned and been awarded by my adoring family. In the background are the symphonic sounds of my daily tasks; the humming of the washer, the percussive slap of bread dough against a flour-dusted surface, the fluttering notes of my singing as I work, the harmonies of my family singing, “We love you,” and the click of my heels against the hardwood floor, because Superwoman does everything in high-heels. I believe that there really are women like this out there, in fact, there are a couple I could name whom I know personally.
However, an honest self-portrait would look quite different. If you could look in on my day-to-day life, this is the picture you would see – oddball meals made of whatever leftovers I can find in the fridge and usually eggs (because they’re quick and easy), a home that has not been immaculately clean since the day we moved in, dusty furniture and lint-covered carpets, crumb-covered floors, overflowing garbage bins, mountains of laundry as far as the eye can see, and a babbling baby maneuvering through the ever-changing land of toys a.k.a. the living room. The scent of dirty lingers over the household; a bouquet of soiled diapers, worn clothes, used dishes, stale air, and a hint of sweat and breastmilk wafting over you as a crazy woman rushes past you. The sounds you would hear would be a mixture of long exhales through pursed lips, clanging dishes, banging doors, overtones of noisy neighbours, and sometimes a colourful harmony of words I should not repeat.
I am not Superwoman. I am a chicken with my head cut off. I am a mess. Hair that has not been washed in a week. clothes that have been sitting in their baskets for weeks, dishes that have been in the sink for days, and a baby that is sometimes happy and sometimes not. I can no longer function in the morning if I do not get some caffeine pumping through my veins, and a daily dose of fresh air is hard to come by now that Winter has drifted in and baby should stay out of the cold.
My life is an abstract painting. Every time you look at it, it’s different; every time it evokes a different emotion, reflects a different moment, or portrays a different scene. It is colourful and jumbled and chaotic, but it is mine. It is an original, and I often need to remind myself to be grateful and to find the silver lining. Every day is full of love. After a sleepless night with a cranky baby, my morning starts with snuggles and kisses and coos from my sweet girl. After a difficult day at home I can greet my husband when he comes home and find solace for a few seconds in his arms. After an exhausting week we can catch a break by sharing our little girl with her aunts, uncles, and grandmas and grandpas (and get a few free meals taboot)! At the end of every day there is the dawn of tomorrow, and at the beginning of every day is a fresh start. Amidst all the chaos I am reminded how little control I have in life, from big things to small, and am humbled as I give it all to God. And as I give it all to God I realize that content will never be mine as long as I am trying to meet anyone’s standards, even those I set for myself, or even complete a to-do list. Goals will be left unmet, dreams will remain confined to the imagination, and you will be left wanting. Perfection will never be reached and I will fail time and time again, but that does not make me a failure. It makes me human. And when I accept my humanity, my inevitable failures and mistakes, and choose to see success as the amount of love in my life instead of stuff; then I will find content, then I will find happiness. When I sacrifice a shower so I can bathe my child, I will find joy in it. When I sacrifice a meal so I can feed my family, I will find joy in it. When I sacrifice my body so I can bring a child into this earth, I will find joy in it. When I sacrifice sleep to comfort my little ones, I will find joy in it. When life is difficult and daily challenges arise, I will find joy in it all, because at the end of each day I have love. And with love, I am content.
This is the mom life. Love, sacrifice, and the art of being content. Far from perfection, but it’s good enough for me.
A special thank-you to all of the parents out there who are sacrificing for those they love. Remember that you are not alone and there is beauty in the chaos if we choose to see it.