As the mom of two young children, my work is very physical. Functioning on little sleep, holding babies, toting around at least a dozen bags, carrying car seats, cleaning up messes, sitting on the floor, rocking babies to sleep until my arm is asleep too—it’s safe to say that motherhood is physical work.
But on some days, the physical demands fade into the background of the emotional work. On these days, my heart has an actual ache for my babies. It’s the days when they don’t feel well or I can’t quite tell what’s wrong, only that something is “off.” It’s the days that just don’t seem to go right, no one is happy, everyone is crying, no one is sleeping, and we get weary.
It’s the days when I want to be everything to both of them, but feel like I’m giving nothing to either of them. On those days, I feel defeated, inadequate, and exhausted. It's also true that those days almost always end the same way—with me being completely wiped of my own strength and abilities. After laying it all on the table and still feeling like I’ve come up short, I settle in to hold them a little longer before bed. I let their breathing get deeper and their eyes slowly fade to closed, and it’s then that I realize my touch, my presence, and my love have been enough all along. My weariness gives way to rest, heaviness gives way to relief, and in a moment’s time I’m intimately reassured that I have the best job in the world.
This is the work of motherhood.