A Wife Loved Like The Church

Finding joy in motherhood, Part 1

Posted on: February 10, 2009

Motherhood is a journey that, once started, never stops. I have heard it said that even long into a mother’s empty nester years, she still plows down the path of being a mom. Much like marriage, mothering doesn’t stop until death. Even though our society would have us believe it stops much, much sooner.

Recently (ah, heck, let’s be honest, since the get go), I’ve been struggling with finding true joy in mothering. Please don’t get me wrong, I love, love, love Julia with all my heart. She lights up my life in a way no one else ever has. She makes me laugh, she makes me smile, she truly is a delight. But, these delightful times don’t last forever. She doesn’t always laugh, doesn’t always smile. She throws fits, she can be demanding, clingy, cranky, loud, a crybaby, she can change from happy baby to “evil” baby in a matter of seconds (or milliseconds). And it’s in those moments that my joy is fleeting. Those days where all we seem to accomplish is survival, and all I can do is keep from throwing myself on the floor and crying right next to her.

Julia has never been a quite, content baby/toddler. Literally within the first week she started crying, and it seems like it has never really stopped. We may go weeks with sunshine, followed by weeks of gray clouds and rain. Currently, we are in a gray clouds and rain period. It all started about 3 weeks ago. Julia started “losing it” one afternoon. Every mama trick I’ve learned didn’t seem to do me a lick of good. I prayed for the clock to speed up so Jonathan could come home. The next day seemed pretty much the same, followed by a day of constant crying (no joke, she woke up crying and cried all day until church started, BEAUTIFUL!). If you’ve ever been around a crybaby, you’ll know that it is stressful. Every one is on edge, every one is ready to jump out the window and go running down the street screaming. When this goes on for weeks, the stress just keeps building.

It’s no accident that one of the fruits of the Spirit is JOY and not happiness. Joy is long standing. Joy is knowing that when the day is done, you really do want to do it all over again. Happiness is the feeling I get when I eat at Cold Stone. It’s fleeting. Once that Love It size mint ice cream with multicolored sprinkles is gone, so is my happiness about the ice cream. 

So how do we find joy?

Through prayer. 

Every day I wake up between 5:15 and 5:30. I use this time to read my bible, journal and prepare myself for the day. About half the time I actually get “alone time”, while the other half Julia decides to wake up early. I can get easily frustrated when the latter happens, but I brace myself with prayer. Nothing long and drawn out, usually just a few mumbled words spoken between coffee, tantrums and Curious George. But they are always sincere. “God be with me today”, “God allow me to see your grace and to show your grace”, “Thank you for my life”, “Thank you for your mercy”, “Give me a heart to love my daughter”, “Direct my mothering”. 

I wish I could say that prayer fixes all the issues. That once I pray, magically Julia’s attitude is better, that we frolic in green fields and she takes 2 hour naps. But it rarely happens. Usually the situation stays the same. She keeps crying, keeps not napping, and life continues as though my words were useless. Yet, I know they weren’t. Slowly inside my spirit God changes me. He reminds me of His goodness, His grace, His love. He reminds me that joy isn’t an mint ice cream feeling, but a long abiding, self sacrificing attitude. He keeps showing me why I do what I do, why I must stay on His path, and that eventually there will be a reward.Julia Mabel

4 Responses to "Finding joy in motherhood, Part 1"

dude, i’m finding that time alone with God in the mornings as essential now that i started! i never knew what i was missing. oh yeah… and i’m growing in those 1 sentence prayers as well… good thing God doesn’t mind the simple stuff 🙂

that WAS awesome- and SO encouraging! thank you for saying that. a lot of times.. emails pictures and blogs show fun times and oh so easy times with kids- so you think maybe you are the ONLY one that goes through what you just wrote. thanks for being honest! i’m going to read that post again!

L- Good thing for sure!! 🙂

Jamie, glad you were encouraged! I have really been challenged with the idea of using my blog to be pretty blunt and honest about my life. Even the not so pretty parts.

Bless you for honesty. I feel like that with my Luke sometimes…misery loves company, eh?

It has been great seeing your face pop up on facebook and my bog. 🙂

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