Life as a parent is…everything.  It’s everything you could imagine, and it’s so much more than you would ever think it could be…It’s hugs in the middle of the grocery store because the 2 year old demands them, it’s bribing your 8 year old son to help dry dishes with promises of a “special surprise” after his job is done, it’s nights out with the 10 year old daughter who suddenly seems to be craving “girl time”, it’s waking up with your toddler crying in the middle of the night, soothing him in his dark room, and laying him back down in the vomit that had woken him up in the first place.  It’s tangles as big as my fist causing very real tears of pain, it’s questioning every single noise that wakes you up at night, including the radio that your child has left playing for the entire night.  It’s trying to the very best of your ability NOT to rearrange the Christmas ornaments after the kids have decorated the tree almost entirely on their own…trying so hard…(those four balls really aren’t doing any harm all crowded together like that…)

As a parent, there’s always things that you prepare for–things you remember your parents dealing with, or things you saw your friends deal with, or things you read about–and there’s always things that there’s no preparing for–like the constant demand on you, as a mom, the never-ceasing, always needy, always craving demands of your much-loved offspring, the random midnight vomiting for no apparent reason, and finding out just how far you find out you will go to try and make those kids happy.

I became a full-time “Mom” in 2014–the year I gave birth to my now infamous toddler–and never before then did I realize just how different the life of a working mom was from the life of a stay-at-home-mom.  Before, if I cleaned the house at night after the kids went to bed, it would stay clean until we all arrived home from work/daycare–so for a good 15-18 hours.  Now, I’m lucky if the house stays clean from the time I go to bed until the time I wake up, and that’s providing I can dredge up the energy at the end of a very long day to actually clean before going to bed.  I’ll be honest–that doesn’t happen often.  Usually I’m snatching time to clean in the middle of the morning during nap time, or in the afternoon when I can bribe the 10 year-old to keep the toddler out from under my feet while I clean the kitchen, or the living room, etc–and while I’m cleaning one room, they’re busy destroying another room.  Such is how my days go now–there’s always something or someone that needs my attention.  If I am able to solve one problem or organize one area, there’s another issue awaiting my attention.  There’s always a demand, always a need to be met. (As I typed these words, I had to stop and go refill my fish tank which was splashing quite loudly, because it was low on water.  This was an issue last night when I was trying to fall back asleep after the aforementioned vomit issue.)

There’s a video on YouTube of a clip from a show called “Family Guy”–if I was more clever with this blog and knew how to embed video, I’d post it here, but I’m new at this and still learning, so for now, just go to YouTube and google “Stewie, mommommom”–it should come up as the first link.  What it is, if you don’t want to check out the video, is a mom, quite obviously exhausted and drained, lying down on a bed when her toddler comes in and starts trying to get her attention.  “Lois, Lois, Lois, Lois, Lois, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mama, Mama, Mama, Ma, Ma, Ma, Ma, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mommy, Mommy, Mama, Mama, Mama.”  and the mom turns and snarls at the insistent toddler “WHAT?!”, and the toddler smiles and says “Hi!” and runs off giggling.  That’s how I feel these days.  I am Lois.  In that moment, I completely “get” Lois, and I commiserate with her.  Kids are demanding, life is demanding, running a household is demanding.  Mom’s need a break, y’all.

When I worked outside the home, I was able to leave my job at the “office”, and come home and JUST be a mom.  Now, my entire job is being a mom, and I don’t get that separation of home and work.  It’s all home AND work, work AND home.  I feel guilty when the dishes aren’t done at night, or when the carpet isn’t vacuumed for the third (or fourth, or fifth…) day in a row, or when the ferret cage REALLY needs a complete field day because the ferret hasn’t been using his designated litter box; I feel guilty for every load of laundry that sits in the dryer overnight (or, God forbid, the washer!), for every time the garden isn’t weeded or properly mulched for the winter, for every time the kitchen floor isn’t swept up or the stove is messy with the remnants of the kids attempts at making their own dinner.  I feel like my husband looks at me and finds me deficient in that task of “homemaker” (logically, he really doesn’t–he’s great and looks at me with love and understanding always, but man, sometimes I worry anyways…), mostly because I feel like I AM deficient.  I’m not.  I’m really not–I’m just a girl, trying to make it in this world.  My kids are happy, they’re healthy, they’re loved, and they love God.  What else is truly important in this life?  It’s hard, but here I am.

The Bible says “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” ~Phil. 4:13  I cling to this when I feel overwhelmed by the charges He has given me.  These three, so precious children, mean the world to me, as does their father whom God has blessed me to have as my partner in this life.  When I am so overwhelmed I don’t know how I can go on, I cling to God’s word, and I am comforted in the midst of this storm.   I named my blog “Surrounded By Light And Love” because that’s how I truly feel I am–I am surrounded by Gods light, and by not only Gods love, but by the love of my family and my friends who I hold dear.  Love is all in this life.  The Beatles said “All You Need Is Love”, and I’m inclined to believe that while you may need things like clothing, food, and water, Love is definitely among those most-important things that we need to truly LIVE.  So, you who have read my blog thus far, may you be surrounded by not only light and and the beauty of life, but may you know and give LOVE.  Blessings to each and every one of you.