There is no way to prepare for all that being a parent entails.
I'm thankful for the times with my girls when I feel love and gratefulness and awe overflowing in my heart. In these precious moments I flash back to my lonely days of pre-motherhood when there was nothing pressing on my soul more than the desire to be a mommy and hold my own babies.
And now, I have that. I try to remember those days simply to remind myself to be thankful for the two most precious gifts I've ever received.
But sometimes, in a matter of a few seconds, I can switch from gratefulness to feeling utterly overwhelmed and frustrated. A big fat failure.
Parenting is hard. This is coming from someone who had "easy" babies. Good sleepers. Good eaters. Sweet babies. Happy babies. Also, stubborn ones.
But seriously, some days, some moments, I feel way over my head. Like I just want to curl up in a ball and hide. Or hang on tight and not let go for a long, long time.
I knew that working part-time in a full-time job would be hard.
I knew being away from my girls for five hours every day would be hard.
I knew living in another country and learning another language would be hard.
I knew that moving away from family and friends and other moms I can relate to would be really, really, REALLY hard.
But I didn't actually know.
I didn't actually know that by being "half-time" in the most demanding job I've ever had would add so much stress to life and marriage and even our weekends. I didn't actually know that being "half-time" would feel like I'm doing everything half-way and thus I would constantly feel inadequate in every area of my life.
I know many friends and family will tell me, Give yourself credit. You're doing a fine job. You're a good mama. And I could say, Thanks, but how do you actually know? I know in my heart of hearts these things are true. Sometimes.
But can't we all be honest and acknowledge that sometimes we as parents are not doing a good job? Can't I admit that sometimes I'm not a good mom? That at times I'm selfish and impatient and human? That I'm only giving the bare minimum, or often less? That sometimes I completely and utterly fail my daughters in how I handle a given situation?
I have worked full time. I have been at home full time with my girls. Both are hard. Both have blessings and stresses. Now I find myself somewhere in the middle. At times I miss my endless days at home with the girls to go the park and color and have playdates. Though my days were exhausting and tiring, I could be intentional with my girls in a way that feels out of reach these days. Now, I have less time with my girls and wish I had motivation and energy to be as intentional as I used to be with the time we do have together.
I don't have answers or a lot of hope to offer except to say that I know the good moments with my family can be really good if I let them. If I make time for them. If I soak them up and hang on to them really, really tightly.