Some days, I just don't want to be a mother.
It's not all the time, not all day long. But truthfully, hardly a day goes by that I don't at least once, at least briefly, wish I were anywhere but here.
It's hard to put my finger on why, exactly, though a strong case could be made for the screaming, stomping, toy-throwing tantrums my 3-year-old frequently engages in. It's not the lonely, boring, isolated life as a stay-at-home mom, for I've always done quite well on my own — maybe even better than when I'm surrounded by others. It's not even the monotony of the same old jammie changing, dishwasher loading, bum wiping, sandwich making, toy cleaning, errand running, dinner cooking, never-ending daily routine that is motherhood.
It might be that the payoffs seem few and far between. It might be the jealousy I feel when my son is pure sunshine, an absolute joy and delight, for everyone else but saves the attitude for me. It might be the frustration that no matter how hard I try or what I do, ultimately my children will grow up to be who they will be, for better or worse, making my constant efforts feel like a waste of time.
But I think that most likely, it's the inexpressible weight of being needed, truly needed, every minute of every day. While my 3-month-old twins have been infinitely easier than I imagined, having two babies is still so very much work. Now, there are three human beings who depend on me for survival. Unless fate smiles upon us and I manage to get them all napping at the exact same time, there is hardly a moment in the day that I am not called upon to do something for someone, with some tasks more crucial and urgent than others. Some moms may handle this better than I, but I'm not there yet. To say it's exhausting is an understatement. It is utterly draining. Everything I am and have are given away, every single day, without fail.
And yet .
Something happens when I look into my children's eyes. Something magical.
It's so potent but so hard to describe. There's an energy, a powerful, life-affirming force that flows from my children in their peaceful, quiet moments. And when I look in their eyes, they are sending it directly into me.
When I hold my little ones and cuddle them close, they look at me and say without words, "You are everything." In them I can see such infinite love it is almost too much to take in. This love tells me that just being there, in that moment and in their lives, I am all I need to be. At the same time, it also tells me of the limitless potential I have and can yet grow to attain as their mother. It is as though God is in their eyes speaking to me, saying, "You are where I want you to be. Stay here, be present, and you will become all you ever wanted to be and more."
I wish I knew how to make that feeling last. Perhaps the answer is to cuddle them more and do dishes less. Or maybe I just need to truly believe what I see and hear when we are in that moment, to trust that this love is always there even when toys are flying and screams are plentiful — that my love is there, and that it is enough.
Lindsay Maxfield is a full-time mom to a 3-year-old superhero in training and 3-month-old twin girls. She is also a writer and editor for Deseret Connect and blogs at anothermormonmommyblog.blogspot.com.