Written by Mary Katherine Backstrom
Every day I’m a mother, a little piece of me dies.
When my son is in his highchair and I’m cleaning the floors and dishes. And his arm magically transforms into a windshield wiper against the high chair tray. Waffle and oranges fly across the room. Rising up inside of me is a piece of my heart that is angry and impatient. And then I catch my son’s eyes–bright and bubbling with laughter...and that angry little piece of me dies.
When I’m comfortable in bed and the sun is still sleeping, I hear coos and then squeals. Eventually loud cries are coming from his crib. I roll over, frustrated, and a piece of me longs for the days when Saturday meant sleeping in until 10. Then I remember: mornings are Ben’s best time. When he tries new words and flirts with his mommy. And that piece of lazy longing dies.
When I’m trying on clothes in Target’s family dressing room, my son’s legs swinging happily from the cart. Nothing fits right, even though I’ve lost the baby weight. A piece of me whispers, “Before the baby you would have looked awesome in that dress…” And then I remember that skinnier, more fashionable me. Whose dreams and hopes centered around the possibility of a life with children. And that bratty, self-deprecating piece of me dies.
When nap time arrives and I’m soaking up the beautiful, coveted silence. A piece of my mind aches at the memory of quiet independence. Of books on the couch and long lunches. But then I think of his laughter…and the sound of his little feet, pitter-pattering across the tiles of our family home. And that rogue little ache, that selfish piece of me, quickly dies.
Motherhood is such a strange dichotomy. It is life-giving and exhausting. It constantly exercises my faith, tests my patience, and stretches my heart. But, as a result, my faith and patience are stronger. My heart is bigger. And although sometimes I still reach the end of my rope–my rope is getting longer.
It’s true that every day I’m a mother a little piece of me dies. But I will not mourn these losses. My child is making me a better person every day.
And then the piece of me that doubts I’m doing this “mom thing” right … it dies, too. And I’m left with gratitude.
And a floor covered in waffle bits.