Sometimes motherhood can make you really raw.

This kind of raw hurts.  It exposes parts of you that you didn’t know existed, and if you did know about them, you fought really hard to keep them quiet.  But they all come out when the mothering starts.

Maybe it’s your bear side fiercely protecting your children in ways that your friends and family might feel are a bit wigged out.
Maybe it’s your crazy side who popped up when you stepped on the third lego this morning.
Maybe it’s your scary side that appears like a werewolf with gnashing teeth when your kid screams for an hour about eating pork chops.
Maybe it’s your lazy side that cuts corners with baths and vegetables and hair brushing.

Maybe it’s the realization that maybe you just don’t like parenting very much.  You like your kids.  But you just don’t like parenting.

Whatever it is, we all have it.  There’s not a mother around who can honestly say she’s never lost her ever-loving mind with her kids about something really stupid like losing doll shoes that you told her not to take off, or soaking his shirt in the dog’s water bowl five seconds before you need to walk out the door.  No mother can say that she’s listened intently to the entire twenty minute story about the worm he found on the playground, or hasn’t tried to figure out how to fool the kids into bedtime at 5:30pm.  There’s not a mother out there who hasn’t turned on the tv to babysit so she could zone out for twenty-one minutes of alone time.

Why twenty-one minutes?  That’s exactly the length of a Doc McStuffins episode.  Just saying.

If she is out there, she’s lying.  Ask her husband.

Because kids push us to this level of frustration and exhaustion that is unlike any other, to the point of doneness that no restaurant would serve a steak so charred.  It’s empty.  It’s lonely.  There’s nothing left.

Because within a span of three minutes, the same kid who runs to you with his arms open wide yelling “MA-MA!” will be the same kid to turn around and make art on your walls with a permanent marker.

The same mouth who tells you, “I’m so glad you’re my mom,” will spew incoherent words and sobs over nothing for an hour later tonight while you beg her to just STOP. MAKING. NOISE.

The same kid who is all the teachers’ pet will make you question your entire being as you hide in the bathroom from him later.

They will unroll the entire roll of toilet paper and share pop tarts with the dog.  They will waste food and grind crayons into the carpet.  They will choose the punishment over the chore, and you’ll question your entire parenting system.  You will scream, they will scream.  You will do things that you always said you would never do, and your kids will act like you always said they never would.

And at the end of the day, nothing you could have done would have changed it or made it any better.

Because those same kids who make you want to put your head through the wall will crawl up in your lap and squeeze your cheeks when they give you big kisses from lips covered in snot from their runny nose they’ve had their whole lives.  They will make you pretend breakfasts and get so excited when you read them their favorite story for the thousandth time.  They will clap their hands and dance and glow when you tell them how beautiful they are, and how sweet they are, and how wonderful they are, even when you cursed them behind their backs moments before.  They will draw you pictures and hold your hand and snuggle against you when you watch the same PJ Masks episode just one more time.

And you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them, and if it would be possible to breathe if they weren’t alive. 

When you’re wishing the time away during the hour long tantrum, you’ll wish time to freeze in those in-between moments of sweetness and sugars and snuggles and all those parts that make you remember why you wanted kids in the first place.  You’ll marvel in their creation, and at your participation in it.  You’ll breathe in the smells of that two-day old apple and sweat scented soft kid skin and know that nothing will ever smell as good.

Yes.  It’s raw.  It’s emotionally and physically taxing and torturous.

But the rawness not only exposes your bad parts, but your good parts, too.  The good parts of you that you birthed right along with the baby.  Parts of you that wouldn’t exist without them.

Inhale your kids today, even if it’s in the hugs after the tantrum.  Remember why you decided to become a parent, mama.

The old guard moms will tell you that you’ll miss this time in their lives once it’s gone.  I don’t necessarily think that’s true.  I do think that the in-between moments are what we will remember more than the whatseemslike epic fights over rice and hair bows.

They certainly will.