It’s easy to wax poetic on the blog about the divine purpose, broader perspective, grand scheme importance of mothering. In my heart of hearts, I know I feel every single ounce of every such proclamation I’ve made, in this space, and others, or else, I never would have made them in the first place.

But many days, it feels much simpler than that. I find myself motivated not by a desire to be the very best, or give the very most. Rather, I’m simply trying to survive – to make it to the end of the day, the end of the summer, the end of whatever it is that, in any particular moment, is making me stark raving crazy.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say that five kids is hard, that maintaining a house for this many is an endless, often thankless job. I clean and clean, thinking that eventually I’ll get to the end, only to realize there isn’t an end to a circle. And cleaning a house lived in by seven people? Um, yeah. One GIANT circle. But cleaning isn’t all I do. I usher, feed, drive, chaperone, entertain, teach, scold, encourage.

I keep pedaling, pushing onward, trying, trying, trying to just make it through one more day. And I get tired. Really, really tired.

Tired of messes I didn’t make.

Tired of lessons that still aren’t learned.

Tired of tantrums.

Tired of being tired.

I get the purpose, the meaning. I feel it, love it, want to keep doing it. But it’s hard, people! Hard not to completely loose my cool when someone wakes up the baby or poops on the floor or makes a mud pie in the bathroom sink.

It’s hard to hold onto my sanity when I’m loading the washing machine for the fifty bazillioneth time, or sweeping graham cracker crumbs off the floor in my bedroom even though no one is allowed to eat at the computer desk in the first place and I’ve said it so many times, you’d think everyone would remember, but why would they remember when no one really hears me when I’m talking anyway unless someone is bored or hungry and their legs and brains are obviously broken which is why they are standing in front of me with puppy dog eyes wanting me to feed them, entertain them, make a rainbow, build a swimming pool because it’s so hot, and why didn’t I tell them it was going to be so hot so they could put on a different shirt this morning, because I should have known they would not like being hot!

But then the baby smiles. The kids laugh. The husband comes home from work early. And suddenly, I’m rescued. I realize that I’m surviving, because there is so stinkin’ much to survive for. I’m pushing through one more day because in the midst of all those days, are the moments that make this gig so worth it in the first place.

I don’t love every day. I don’t love everything that mothering requires. Some days, I’m merely surviving. But I’m surviving because it is worth it. (Here we go again – waxing poetic.) I’m surviving because I have to, I want to, I need to be with these little people that so desperately need me.

But that doesn’t mean it isn’t hard.

And sometimes, you just gotta say that out loud.

27 thoughts on “Survival

  1. Kristina P. says:

    I think it's great that you do. I do get a bit tired of reading blog after blog of how amazing motherhood is and how they love every minute of it. I think it makes the mothers who don't have a perfect experience, feel inadequate.

  2. M-Cat says:

    You have put it perfectly! And while I didn't raise 5 kids, 3 was plenty enough to make me tired. I thought it would get easier as they got older and all I discovered is that the tired was just a different tired, but tired still the same.But then I remember……I can do hard things.And those boys lay down next to me just cause they want to and talk about their girls/dates/cars and I am remembered that life is good. Life is DANG good!

  3. T says:

    as much as I TOTALLY agree that it's all worth it – I'm afraid those blogs that are all sweetness and light about motherhood make me want to gag. I appreciate honesty. My 5 kids sometimes make me want to scream and knock things down… I could pretend otherwise but I think it's healthy to let it all out there. Not flattering maybe, but healthy :)and no worries, the occasional poetic waxing won't scare me off TOO quickly!

  4. Cluttered Brain says:

    Where have I been lately in Blogland?You are an amazing writer and I will now add you to my blogroll.I too feel tired from doing the same old stuff day in and day out but I do it because it is worth it. It is what I signed up to when I wanted to come to earth.It's what we all signed up to do.There is a great Mormon message this month called "Good things to Come."I recommend you watch it. It brought me so much joy and happiness I want everyone to hear it.I'm sure you know where you can find Mormon messages Right? LOL. Youtube or for making this mom's day a little brighter.(And yes I went to Casual Blogger Conf. but did NOT have the opportunity to meet you.) Darn. Maybe NEXT year right?

  5. Kimberly says:

    I'm barely surviving today and was in tears by the end of reading this post. But good tears…the NEED to cry kind of tears. Thanks for this. It's beautiful, genuine, and tender and I needed that little bit of mercy today.

  6. Stacy says:

    Thanks for this. Today has been most definitely one of those days. A day where, at the end of my rope, I sat and sobbed at the computer desk for a while, wondering if I would ever get the hang of this parenting gig. Not sure I will, but thanks for your honesty. Good to know I'm not alone.

  7. Just Me says:

    Amen! It is a thankless job, and it's hard, and all we want is to do the best for our kids and so often they think we are wrong…but in the end it will pay off…

  8. Lara says:

    You've said it so perfectly I really can't add anything else. I can't even imagine having five kids since my three keep me treading water plenty!

  9. Cindy says:

    For me it's always looking at my sleeping children. They are so precious then, it undoes all of the previous stress. At least until the next day… 😉

  10. Momza says:

    ::::APPLAUSE::::for keeping it realfor doing hard thingsfor laughing when you wanna cryfor keeping it all in perspectivefor doing it all over again day after day!!!(hugs)

  11. Braden says:

    Great post. I think that honesty is critical. It (meaning anything good and of valuable) is HARD. One of my favorite scriptures is in 3Ne. The Savior is praying and it says that He groaned within himself and said, "My soul is troubled because of the wickedness of the House of Israel" (I'm paraphrasing). Even He had to express negative emotion. And then, having expressed it, He moved on. I love that example. He was honest–but didn't wallow in it. I tend to wallow.

  12. Tricia says:

    My parents told me to check out your blog. They are the senior missionaries serving in your branch. It was fun to get to read about someone they get to see often. We sure do miss them!

  13. Charlotte says:

    My sister just had her 5th, too, and she called me frustrated the other day and I gave her similar advice. Sometimes you just need to survive until you can take a breath. Figure out your personal survival mode and use it when necessary. That is the only way I've made it this far.

  14. Amber says:

    I was in survival mode for the first several months of my last guy's life, and he is only number 2 for me! However, I learned much of what you described here. I have written about it as well. I love being a mother and a wife but at times I really want to quit. Usually those moments are followed by something that makes me remember why I did all this in the first place.

  15. Melissa says:

    Yes, survival is a big part of the day to day monotony, which is why it is so essential to find joy, keep a sense of humor, and find gratitude….all things that you do beautifully.

  16. Happy Mom says:

    Oh, how I have been there!!! I'm not there anymore! The kids still don't listen and there are still myriad messes, but no one wakes up the baby, no one poops on the floor, no tantrums.Yup! I miss it! It's a good thing that the teenage years are so stinking fun!! (with a couple of frustrations mixed in)

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