Humans are fickle creatures. It amazes me how easily we can flip-flop from one side of the spectrum to the other. So, what is motherhood really? It is a blank canvas.
Several years ago I met with a doctor to discuss my backup plan should my planned home birth not be possible. When I questioned him about his philosophy about C-sections, he answered, “I do not do C-sections like the average doctor,” and then went on to explain his process. “This takes about 10 minutes longer than the standard C-section. What do I do this? Because it’s my art.”
Motherhood is our canvas. We choose the picture we paint. I attended a lecture recently where the instructor stated, “Facts are neutral.” Initially, I wanted to argue this point. I could think up a million facts that were clearly not neutral. Death is not neutral, right? It is horribly painful. A strained relationship with a family member is not neutral. A fight with my husband is surely not neutral under the best of circumstances. I hate fighting with him! After thinking it through, I slowly came to understand what the speaker intended with her statement. Death is a fact. We choose how we respond to it. We can choose to work through the natural grief process or we can choose to get depressed and be angry at God for the next several years. As painful as it may be, a strained relationship with a family member is a fact. We get to choose what comes next. And, if I argue with my husband, I get to choose whether or not I am going to hold a grudge for the next week, or if I am going to forgive and move on.
Last night my 13-year-old daughter walked into my bedroom and stated, “I wish I had your room, Mom.” She didn’t see the primary color red and blue paint on the walls, left over from the previous home owner, damaged window blinds, or the broken dresser drawer hanging open, waiting for me to find the wood glue. My daughter saw warmth, love, comfort. Most days I all I see are sheets that need to be changed, clothes that need to be washed, a bed that needs to be made, and WHEN AM I GOING TO FINALLY GET AROUND TO COVERING THAT UGLY PAINT? Neither of our pictures was untrue. My daughter’s picture was the true masterpiece.
Which picture would you choose to paint of the months after the birth of a new baby? Sleepless nights, endless diapers, a mountain of dirty laundry, and no dinner when Daddy gets home? Or sweet, slow-moving mornings, baby smiles, days spent in your jammies, and a healthy, yummy dinner shared with Daddy of bagged salad and grilled chicken breast (even if it’s for the 3rd time this week)?
Motherhood is our art. Next time you feel bogged down by motherhood, take a mental step back and consider what the facts are. Then, repaint your canvas. Stay away from the blacks, grays, and reds. You can accent your painting with those, but they shouldn’t be the primary focus. Let soft pastels or vibrant primaries be your overarching theme.
What are you finding challenging about motherhood right now? What are the facts? Which picture are you going to paint?