Finding Peace in the Hard Days of Motherhood

It's 11 PM and my day is finally coming to a close. The day was full of busy-ness. It was filled with messes, cries, tantrums, disciplining, boo-boos, and more messes. But it was also full of smiles, giggles, hugs, kisses, cuddles, and more smiles.

I feel like I did it all today. My feet tell me I was moving about enough today. My eyes tell me I've been awake enough today. But my heart tells me I didn't do enough today. My heart tells me I didn't love enough.

My little one is almost 18 months old and going through a defiant phase, where she thinks she can throw a fit when things don't go her way, or tell me "no" when she doesn't want to do as I say, or stand there and stare at me instead of obeying a simple instruction.

That rebellious attitude in her was showing a lot today. It was really wearing me down. And then when she was easy going and happy, she was super chatty. Like, non-stop chatty. Usually I think it's adorable but today it was grating on my nerves.

To top it all off, I had a to-do list a mile long, and she refused to take a nap until late in the afternoon. After the third or fourth try over a span of about three and a half hours, she finally conked out, and I just went and sat on the couch in the living room not knowing if I wanted to laugh or cry.

In that moment, I prayed that would God simply wash me over with His peace. I didn't know why I was more stressed out than usual today, but I did know I needed His help to get through the rest of my day. After a few quiet moments I felt a reassurance in my heart and knew it would all be okay. These little things I was anxious about really weren't all that important, and I had gotten so much done already, even with a continuous whining-talking-crying buzzing in my ear.

When you're a stay-at-home mom and doing the parenting completely on your own during the day at least five days a week, it's easy to get caught up in every little thing on our to-do list and then get bent out of shape when it doesn't all get done according to our plan. But instead of worrying over every little thing that's going wrong with our day, which is so easy to do on hard days like this, we need to instead look at the other little things that really are the big ones: our little people. The house needs cleaned and supper needs cooking, but in the end, how those young souls were loved and cared for and raised up are what truly matters. What matters is not that we get it perfect every time, but that we try, and learn from our mistakes so that we do better next time.

So when I said earlier that my heart was telling me that I didn't do enough or love enough, maybe I was listening to the wrong part of my heart. Instead I should have been listening to the part of my heart telling me to look at what I did do, how I did love. Sure, I definitely had moments today when I could have been more patient. There were times I should have been praying instead of huffing. And I know I could have hugged and smiled and cuddled even more than I did.

But I also know that these hard days will be the ones that make me appreciate the easy days that much more. These hard days will help my love for my daughter grow even stronger. And I hope that in the middle of my next hard day, I will remember to stop, take a deep breath, and feel God's peace rush over me so I know I'm not doing this stay-at-home mom thing in vain, and I'm definitely not doing it alone.

Tomorrow may not be an easy day either, but I can do it a little better, and I'll do it with a sweet peace in my heart at the start of the day.

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