Earlier this week, my friend Stephanie emailed me an account of her afternoon. I begged her to let me share it with you, because I know that she isn't the only one who feels the weariness, and the joy, of motherhood.
A Joyful Weariness
By Stephanie J. Leinbach
Weary. So weary with mothering, with caring for the little ones orbiting around me. Weary with the burden of the child I carry, four months away from delivery, four months that seem like an eternity. Weary of this body of mine that does not bear children gracefully or painlessly.
My husband was home by lunchtime. His work had slowed to a trickle. My work, on the other hand, loomed mountainous wherever I looked: the laundry, the cooking, the sewing, the cleaning. Would it never end?
All I wanted to do was go to bed.
But the wall between the office and our bedroom was too thin to block the sound of my husband coughing as he worked at his desk. He’d had that cold for—how many weeks? I had lost count. I stared at the ceiling, longing for mindless sleep, longing for silence. But with his coming and going, accompanied by coughing, the three-year-old kept coming and going from her bed. I lay in tangled blankets and pretended I didn’t hear her calling for me, pretended I didn’t hear her shouting out reasons why she needed to get up. I wanted to scream. I wanted to cry. I wanted to pound my pillow and yell, “Doesn’t anyone care that I’m exhausted?”
I gave up on my nap. In the now-empty office, I slumped into a chair and stared at my slippers. My husband stuck his head in, a small head poking around his leg. “I told her she could get up. It’s getting too late for her to be sleeping,” he said.
I looked at her. He looked at her. “Your mother isn’t very happy with you,” he said.
She came to my side, blinked long and sleepless lashes at me, and pulled my head down to kiss my cheek.
“Sorry,” she whispered.
I wrapped her in a hug. “I forgive you,” I whispered back and shut my eyes against the tears that begged to be shed.
Still weary. The burden of mothering is still heavy. But my heart…my heart is lighter now.