For mothers with young children, there seems to be a trend in the message that we speak, hear, and read about our days in motherhood: it’s hard. I’m deeply thankful to belong to a generation of women and an online community of moms who are not afraid to honestly speak about the challenges and sorrows of motherhood. In the many moments of struggle, it’s a source of encouragement to know that I’m not alone and that my struggle is common and shared.
But while it’s a blessing, for sure, to belong to this generation of honest, transparent mothers who aren’t pretending life’s a breeze, it sometimes feels like the pendulum has swung a little too far and that there’s become a bit of an imbalance not just in the articles we write and read or the things we say, but even in our own hearts.
It’s almost like we’ve imbibed this motherhood mantra that goes something like this: “motherhood is hard, but it’s rewarding.” And while that’s true, and while it’s a good thing that we never pretend perfection and readily affirm the challenges, I can’t help but wonder if it’s a bit of an imbalanced message.
Motherhood is not just hard but rewarding, motherhood is also a lot of fun!
Sure, not all days are picnics and playgrounds and stories. But a lot of days are. This season of life with young kids will pass quickly and we don’t want to get to the end of it and realize we’ve spent more time meditating on the difficulties than reflecting on the joys.
We want to honestly acknowledge that days spent with young children can be hard. But we want to be balanced and make sure we’re also talking about the fun, lightheaded things that fill so many of our days.
Do we too quickly affirm the “hard, but worth it” challenges of motherhood but then forget to also affirm how crazy fun this job is? It’s not one or the other. Motherhood is both.We don’t want to miss that.
As mothers, we want to cultivate hearts that overflow into words voicing both the challenges and the joys of this job. We want to remind each other that this job we get to do is not just gruelling and hard, but often light, wonderful, funny, playful, and fun.
A couple days ago my two kindergarten aged boys had a day off from school. After cleaning up from breakfast and doing a few chores around the house, we packed a bag with snacks, a picnic blanket, some books, and a couple of softballs and gloves. Then we loaded the bikes and stroller into the car and drove down to the water. We spent the next four hours down by Lake Ontario in the warmth of a beautiful June day, walking, riding, playing, reading. At some point during the day it struck me afresh how this—walking along the water, reading to my kids on a blanket under a tree, eating fresh strawberries and cucumbers, watching the ducks and swans beside three of my favorite people in the world—is my work! Taking care of my children all day is, albeit sometimes hard, a pretty awesome job.
Balance is key. Some days motherhood is hard and we’re stretched thin; other days motherhood is light, fun and playful. We want to be women who write and talk about both, because sometimes we'll be used to encourage others not only when we show empathy, but also when we show enthusiasm. In my own life, I've been encouraged not only by those mothers who transparently share their struggles, but also those who have an infectious joy and excitement about what they spend their days doing.
Life isn’t a picnic, except that sometimes it actually is. And when it is, we want to be happy and give thanks.