Today my daughter had her one-year-old vaccinations. Her actual one-year well check was last week but, since she had a cold then, they didn't want to give her any shots. So back to the office we went today … And I will tell you, I dreaded it. Because I knew this would happen:
After a morning rush of breakfast (two different types for picky eaters), getting two babies dressed (my preschooler was harder than my newly termed toddler), packing a diaper bag (diapers, wipes, snacks, cups, oh did I remember hats and sunscreen just in case?!), getting me showered (during my toddler pushed back the curtain while standing on wobbly legs with her mouth full of her brother's waffle she found) and dressed, answering phone calls and setting up an appointment, trying to put shoes on the preschooler who screamed and threw them off, putting shoes back on said preschooler who screamed again and threw his cup, grabbing toddler from rushing out the open front door, where's the keys, where's my wallet, buckling both kids in car seats then remembering I left the shot records upstairs, looking at the time and debating whether or not there was time to unbuckle both kids and pull them back upstairs, realizing there wasn't enough time, so rushing out of the apartment complex.
Then, I realized I went to the wrong exit, swing back around, arrive to the doctor's office exactly at 10 a.m. appointment time, pull toddler out of the car and realize she has made a "muddy" diaper in the short drive, realize preschooler had thrown off his shoes again, buckle toddler back up, put shoes on preschooler, pull toddler back out, rush into the office, ask if I had time to change a diaper before the appointment which was responded back with a sigh and "um, OK" from the attendant, rush into the bathroom and realize there is no change table, try to make a make shift one on the bathroom floor with a change pad, trying to take toddler's cute jumper off but now regretting I decided to put her in a one piece with no snaps, telling the preschooler to please not run the water, to please not touch the toilet, to please not put his stuffed "Lambie" on the floor, trying to keep the toddler from grabbing her dirty diaper, change her as fast as I can, find a mom and child waiting out the bathroom door staring at us exclaiming "OK, now we can go in…"
We finally arrive back to the waiting room were we sit and wait. And wait. And wait.
Our pediatrician is usually very prompt but we waited a full hour for only two shots (no weighing, no measuring, just shots). So I spent the next 60 minutes trying to entertain one very bored preschooler and one very tired (why did we schedule around nap time again?) toddler.
I was exhausted.
As we waited, the door to the waiting room opened and in rolled a beautiful red stroller, the top covered with a gorgeous swaddle blanket, and the mom effortlessly pushing it in wearing a light orange blouse that swayed as she walked and a flower (no lie) tucked behind her ear. After she checks in at the desk, she sits down at the bench next to us, lifts the stunning blanket and then I was left speechless as she just stared at her little month-old baby with a huge, loving smile on her face. And glowed. She was glowing.
As I sat there and watched her in all her motherly glow, I meanwhile was uttering, "Landon, get off the floor. Piper, don't eat that. Landon, put your shoes back on. Piper, quit pulling Mommy's hair – it hurts. Landon, I'm not telling you again, please quit pulling on my nose!"
And I was jealous. Huge amounts of envy because I wanted to have that glow. I wanted to just stare at my child and beam with pleasure. I didn't want to be so … worn.
But that's exactly as I felt.
Being a mother is tough. So much tougher than I thought. Like they should pull you aside as a child and tell you how tough it is so you can mentally prepare yourself over the years. I always thought I would be a good mom. But mostly I just feel like I am a shell of what I should be.
Every other week, I meet with a beautiful group of eight women for our "book club." It's a wonderful and therapeutic time to speak as mothers and wife and daughters of God. A few weeks back, as we discussed children growing and the "challenges" that can bring, one of our lovely members said she constantly tries to remember these babies are young, still learning, and to "give them grace" as they grow.
That phrase is one I now keep in my back pocket. "Give them Grace." And not just for my babies, but for me too. I'm learning. I"m growing. I am challenging to so many people in my life as well. I need grace. My babies need grace. We all need grace.
Such a simple lesson and yet the simplest lessons can always be some of the most important.
I may not look at my children every moment of every day with that motherly glow. But I can look at them through the eyes of grace … and isn't that more beautiful anyways?
Tammy Moyle writes about her real-life struggles and joys (as well as her passion for cupcakes, lipgloss and coffee) from her home in Las Vegas, Nevada where she lives with her husband Zac and their 3 kids. She has written pieces for various online magazines and currently blogs way too much about her personal life at Blithe, a blog.