As a little girl, I wanted to be a mother and a wife so badly. I had an abundance of Madame Alexander and American Girl dolls to prove it.
When I became an adult, I fell in love with an incredible man. I became his wife, and my heart was filled with excitement for the mystery, romance, and adventure of marriage.
I don't think I was truly prepared for how much work marriage was going to take. It took lots of humility and grace to really make mine flourish. It wasn't the fairy tale I'd imagined as a youngster, but it has still been an adventure - with scenic views and occasional bumps in the road.
In addition to marriage, it was also an exciting feeling when I found out I was going to be a mom. I'd always dreamed of a big family and my home filled with love and laughter.
Holding our son for the first time was bittersweet. As I looked down at his sweet face, I was filled with a mixture of joy and anxiety. God had entrusted this beautiful little boy to me.
My determination to succeed at motherhood has often backfired on me. There are days when I swear that it is one of the most thankless jobs I've known.
There were times when nothing would comfort my teething baby. By the end of the day, we were both crying and miserable. I remember thinking, "I can't wait until he's past this stage!"
Potty training was another major struggle. It seemed like every day was a battle to get him to try. Pressure from family and friends increased my frustration. Before I knew it, I'd thought it again. "I can't wait until he's past this stage!"
I was caught in a whirlwind of trying to manage my household, raising a child, be a supportive wife, start a writing career, and do them all successfully. I tried to give everything my best, and I was burning out very quickly.
I wanted to swiftly move past the tough days of teething, potty training, and temper tantrums. I couldn't wait until we were past these "rough" stages.
That's the tricky thing about wishes. If you're not careful, you might just get what you ask for.
Before I knew it, I was waving goodbye to a little boy on his first day of Kindergarten. His independence had grown, and everyday he needed me a little less.
"I can do it, mama."
In a flash, we'd moved from pacifiers and diapers to backpacks and homework.
It moves so fast. I know you're surrounded by chaos some days - your body and mind are completely exhausted. You cry. You scream. You long for days when you'd had more freedom. You're resentful because you feel like you're not getting the support you need. You're desperate. You're surrounded by beautiful children, but sometimes you feel very isolated.
I understand you.
The biggest surprise I've learned from motherhood was that my desire to do the job so well often became a negative rather than a positive. The expectations we place on motherhood, ourselves, and even our marriages can be our downfall.
Motherhood should be savored. There are times I often look back on those frazzled moments with my son, and I actually smile.
He is now in Kindergarten, and the silence of my house while he's away can be deafening. It is in those quiet minutes, that I'd give anything to hold him as a wailing, teething baby again.
As our children grow less dependent on us, maybe we'll even miss those hectic moments when we were needed so badly. Perhaps they weren't so terrible after all. Maybe we'll reflect fondly on them as beautiful and messy moments of motherhood.
Breathe it all in, Mama. From the belly laughs to the heartaches, this is your adventure through motherhood.
You will survive all of these difficult moments, gaining the strength and wisdom needed to be a Godly warrior for your children throughout their lives. You will also blossom and shine in those delightful moments with your kids, making memories that will last a lifetime.
God built you for this journey, making you capable and strong. Sweet mother, never doubt the worth and ability that God has already seen in you!
Chasing Heatherwood is an exclusive member of Becky Thompson’s Writer Network. For more information on how to join, go to www.BeckyThompsonCourse.com