I got married three and a half years ago. Before I met Mark, all I could think about was meeting a wonderful man and starting a family. I met Mark, we dated for 5 months, we were engaged for 11 months, we were married for 5 months when I got pregnant with Amelia, and 6 months after Amelia was born we found out we were pregnant with Ruthie. So, 3 and a half years, and two kids later, I’d say we have a full blown family.
When I was pregnant with Amelia, I dreamed, I planned, I ate the right foods, and I thought I knew all the stuff I needed to know to be the perfect mom. Well, Amelia came into the world and hasn’t stopped rocking our world since. I labored for two days, she was colicky, we couldn’t figure out breastfeeding, she didn’t sleep, oh, and did I mention, I was pregnant basically all of her infancy?! So, we make plans and God laughs. Because He has better things planned than we can ever imagine. Did my triumphant entrance into motherhood go as planned? Not. At. All. But something, someone, so much more beautiful has blossomed.
If things went as I planned, I would have stayed exactly the same, in my own little world of prideful perfection. But Amelia and Ruthie have changed me. They’ve humbled me so much it hurts somedays. Because before motherhood I had things figured out, but since it’s painfully obvious how little I really know. And they’ve taught me its ok to be flawed, and make mistakes, and to be human. They’ve connected me with myself and others in a way that I wasn’t capable of before.
So what is motherhood really like? Before having kids motherhood seemed so idyllic. You have these cute kids that you love so much, and they love you so much, and you just dress them up in cute outfits, and dance around the house all day. But most days motherhood is messy. Literally messy. I just bought a steam cleaner to clean my house with because there is always oatmeal crusted to our floor. And messy because it’s full of moments when you’re totally at your breaking point because your toddler is crying about how you picked out the wrong undies for her to wear, followed by moments where that same toddler looks up at you with the biggest, sweetest eyes and says, “I love you, Mommy”.
But, I think that’s exactly why we as mothers have always loved taking photographs of our kids. We want a record of every one of those sweet moments because we know they’re so fleeting. We need those photographs to remind us of the sweet moments when we’re stuck in the hardest ones. And we need those photographs to hang on to the sweetness and the littleness of those babies once they’ve grown. In those hard moments it’s so easy to want to wish it all away and to go back to a time when life was easier, when life was without those runny-nosed, crying kids. But then we look up and see a picture, and we remember that we really aren’t even ourself anymore without them and we would give the whole world just to hold them in that moment forever.