I always knew I wanted to be a mom.
I played baby dolls until I was way too old for baby dolls and frequently had conversations with my sisters about what we would name our future children (“You cannot pick ‘Lydia!’ I already picked that name!”).
It all seemed very rosy and romantic, motherhood.
I imagined reading with my kids on the couch for hours, doing crafts together, teaching them to cook, and dressing them in adorable clothes (I was going to have all girls, of course).
Even though I found babysitting boring, tedious, and frustrating at times, people assured me that it would be “different with my own kids.”
Becoming at mom was inevitable, the next step, and blessedly, I never had trouble getting pregnant.
In fact, children came fast and furious into our home, long before we expected them: twin boys, 16 months after our wedding day.
And of course, of course, motherhood was not rosy or romantic. I want to belly laugh at my pre-child notions.
It was not anything like I thought it would be.
It has been gritty, dark, confusing, tragic, and wearisome. It has affected my physical and mental health in extreme ways. And acknowledging these truths sobers to my very soul because the question that follows my analysis of my shattered dreams is this shameful thought:
Why did I want to have kids?
Most days, I just throw up my hands and laugh, chuckling “Who knows?” to the sky and myself, shaking my head and muttering, “You boys! You darling, infuriating, adorable boys!”
On bad days, I push the question down, down deep because I’m afraid of my confusion when I can’t answer.
I love my kids, but I don’t always like them.
I get worn out. I huff, and yell, and roll my eyes, and say “Seriously?! Seriously?!” so much that now they all repeat it back to me at inopportune moments like naughty little parrots.
But I seriously love them. Foundationally, because they are mine, but, in practice, because I have learned to love them just as I have learned to mother them.
If someone asked me what my core values are I would immediately say, “Love God. Love people.” A simple—almost trite—expression that is so much more difficult to do than say.
Sometimes I lose the forest for the trees and all I can see is the sea of Legos, and poop explosions and all I can hear is complaints about dinner, and whining about homework, and breaking china, and my own voice repeating instructions five billion times with increasing volume.
I am weary, and I just want to lie down and take a rest. But when I fall to my knees, I can see my foundation more clearly and it helps me on those bad days to answer the terrifying question of “Why did I want to have kids?”
I believe, with everything I am, in investing in people, in loving people, in loving my neighbor as myself.
And my kids are my neighbors, the closest, best, messiest, loudest, most obnoxious, infuriating neighbors there are.
And—God help me—I want to invest in them. That’s why I wanted to be a mom. I want to invest in people, in the people that I brought into the world. I don’t want to pass them by, to turn up my nose, or throw up my hands and give up when it comes to these little humans God has given me to love. I want my core life values to be most evident in my motherhood.
But Good Lord, it’s really hard most days, to live and love in harmony, to be a functional family, to live out my faith in a genuine way.
It’s really hard.
But lately, answering the question “Why did I want to have kids?” has gotten a little easier.
Tell me–why did you want to have kids? Or why DO you, one day, want to have kids?
I’d love to hear your answers–the beautiful, the honest, the ugly, and everything in between.
Share your story below!