Being a mother gives me a sense of purpose. Because if my crazy body can create another human life, there has to be a point to all this madness, right?
There never seems to be enough money, a constant financial struggle that leaves me anxious and moody. Money does not buy happiness, they say. Happiness, perhaps not — but it could certainly provide comfort.
There have been days of surviving on popcorn and saltine crackers. There have been nights when I was not sure we would have a roof over our heads. There have been needs and wants that have long gone ignored. Sacrificed.
I struggle to know what are the right decisions to make and falter when I misstep. There was no guidebook — my mistakes should not define me. But people are so quick to judge, especially if you are a good enough mom.
As if any of us truly know what we’re doing.
Some days I find grace in the little things.
Some days I find poop floating
In a freshly poured bath
Sighing, “eff my life”
A little too loud as I
Scoop toddler turds into
The white porcelain toilet
And flush them
You smile, and I swear I would do anything to make you happy. My heart started living outside my body the moment you came into the world. Messy and chaotic, you were everything that I could never be — perfection.
I kiss your toes as you sleep, peaceful and still, wondering what things I must have done right to deserve such soul-crushing love. I feel it in my bones, in my blood. I was born to be your mother, created to be your first love.
Something inside me struggles to believe that I am worthy of such love. Worthy of being a parent, despite all the flaws.
Motherhood is a strange experience that nobody mentally prepares you for — not even close. It is constant and requires patience, adaptability, grace. It takes and takes and takes and takes and takes and takes and maybe you will get a gap-toothed grin or a breathless “I love you, mom” as they fall asleep.
There will be days that make everything worth it; but there will also be days of darkness, of getting fed up with the same sh*t, different day routine. Your character is tested, your will is tested, your love is tested.
These are the days that nobody ever mentions.
My kids are the reason I continue to keep the faith, to seek out the good and beautiful parts of the world. They are a constant vessel of strength for me, for there are wounds only their hugs and laughter can heal. Love, unconditionally, without judgment.
Am I worthy of their affection?
Perhaps not, but I find intention is half the battle. I intend on loving my children for who they are and accepting that they owe me nothing for their existence. Yet, I owe them everything for mine.
Three days in a row
I awoke to broken eggs
On the kitchen floor
Despite a baby lock,
Despite a baby gate.
Just another mess to clean.
Emily Lingenfelser is a 20-something mom who writes and captures moments to make sense of this messy world. She runs the website, Emily is Fearless.
This article was originally published at Medium. Reprinted with permission from the author.