There are numerous phrases that come out of my mouth as I try to navigate through a long day of mothering.
“Because I said so!”
“Don’t make me say it again!”
“If I have to tell you one more time….”
And the list goes on.
But lately, it’s the phrase “you’re killing me” that escapes from my lips.
When I’ve repeatedly asked my daughter to get her shoes on before school, and her search for them doesn’t begin until it’s time to leave. “You’re killing me,” as the frantic hunt for shoes and the anxiety over being late leaves me breathless.
When I ask her to clean up her craft supplies, and it results in paint splattered over every surface of the kitchen. “You’re killing me,” as I stop what I am doing to help her clean up an even bigger mess than what she started with.
When I attempt a 30 second bathroom break only to be disrupted with the banging of my son’s fists on the door and his frantic cries for mama. “You’re killing me,” as I quickly finish up my business and tend to a needy toddler.
When he refuses to take a nap for the third day in a row and begs for my full attention. “You’re killing me,” as another afternoon slips by in which the weight of uncompleted tasks continues to grow.
When I take a five minute shower and emerge from the bathroom to find the house completely destroyed. “You’re killing me,” as I forgo doing my hair and makeup in order to scrub marker off a toddler and clean up piles of smashed crackers.
I cringe when I hear these words come out of my mouth because they make it sound as if my children are a burden. As if motherhood is slowly suffocating me.
But maybe to some extent it is. Killing me, suffocating me. Or at least the person I used to be.
The person who once used the bathroom alone, without interruption or the fear of destruction on the other side of the door.
The person who left the house each day perfectly groomed, never daring to appear in public with a bare face or greasy hair.
The person who was equipped to complete a day’s worth of tasks in just a few hours.
The person who meticulously scheduled every minute of the day, and then actually followed the schedule.
The person who was never late.
And I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss the person I once was. The person who had it together. The person who eased into the morning and ended each day with a sense of accomplishment.
But you know who I don’t miss?
The person whose selfishness always came before sacrifice.
The person who insisted on control and resisted spontaneity.
The person who ignored distraction and in doing so missed out on meaningful interaction.
The person who was more concerned with vanity than the well-being of another.
The person who relied on self instead of Him whose offer of help is always available.
The death of the person I used to be is bringing life to the person I was meant to be. And while this new life is more challenging and uncomfortable than before, it is by far more rewarding and satisfying.