It’s been a weird few weeks.  Just moments after the kids returned to school from Christmas break, they were handed a four and half day MLK holiday weekend.  And moments after they were back from that, the Snowmageddon hit North Carolina.  So.  Another four and a half day weekend.  Boom.

Basically, we’ve had a few weeks of too much TV.  Too much junk food.  A whole heck of a lotta togetherness.  And zero routine.

IMG_7081This is enough to make my introverted, schedule-loving self go a bit loco in the head.  Except, not.  Not this time.

It has been so good.  I’ve relished the rest and the slow.  The nowhere-to-be and nothing-to-do.

IMG_7002And I’ve really, really enjoyed my people.  Like, actually for-real enjoyed being around them.

Which, I know, sounds so rainbows and unicorns to some of you bone-tired moms out there.  But here’s the thing- I haven’t always actually-for-real enjoyed extended periods of togetherness with my people.  I mean, I’ve always loved them like crazy.  But I haven’t always ENJOYED them.  Because, bless their hearts, two year olds.  And threenagers.  The struggle is real in those years of raising tinys, and that struggle often led me to cower in the closet with a bag of chocolate chips.  In the fetal position.

Sometimes it still does.

IMG_7239But lately I’ve found that I’m in my wheelhouse in these school-age years.  These people of mine can keep themselves alive while I’m showering!  They can operate Netflix on their own!  And on really good days, I can even reason with them!  It’s a whole new ballgame, people.  Glory.

Sometimes, though, I feel guilty.

When I acknowledge that “you know what?  These kids of mine are actually pretty cool little humans.  And get this- I really loved having them around more last week,” I’m met with the skeptical side-eye from weary moms who just need their kids  “Who invited Pollyanna to the party?” they wonder.  And I feel guilty.

IMG_7005Or then there are the hiding-in-the-closet days, the yelling at disobedient kids days, the begging for forgiveness days, and I throw up my hands and wonder if God made an epic mistake in entrusting me with three kids.

But, of course, I then I look to my right and see the instagram-evidence of moms completely rocking this motherhood thing.  And I look to my left and see my friends who long with every fiber of their being to have a baby fill their wombs.  While I’m complaining about my three.  And I, again, feel guilty.

So, I have a proposition to make: let’s ditch the guilt once and for all.  Let’s just acknowledge that we’re all going to have some really hellacious days in raising our kids.  Days in which we look to our precious little angels and think, “Dude.  Child of mine.  I love you.  I do.  But I sure don’t think I LIKE you right about now.”  And then there are going to be days in which our kids are downright pretty awesome.  Perfect?  Heeeeck no.  But truly enjoyable.  Likable.

No guilt.  It’s just the rhythm of motherhood.  Or at least, so it seems in my limited experience.

IMG_6904It’s actually pretty perfect this way.  Because when we’re having One Of Those Days- when we’re hiding in the closet with kids screaming on the other side of the door and we think our everloving brain will surely explode if we hear “mommymommymommy” one more time- we can look to our motherhood-rocking-friends for help.  To have our heads lifted and coffee cups refilled.  For words of truth.  That we can do this.  Because God is our anchor.  And they’ve got our backs.

And when I’m making overly-optimistic statements like “raising school-age kids are the glory days, people!  This is where it’s at!  I can SO do this!”, then I BEST be reaching my arm out to the drowning mama of littles right next to me.  Praying for her and over her.  And encouraging her that IT GETS BETTER.

No guilt.  No shame.  Because I think any mother out there can acknowledge that this parenting thing is. no. joke.  Let’s stop feeling guilty for admitting, in the spirit of authenticity, that our kids are making us want to run for the highest hills.  That they’re on their sixth hour of Disney Junior.  And are wearing the same pajamas they wore yesterday.  And the day before.

But.  Let’s also stop feeling guilty for actually enjoying being snowed in with our kids.  For thinking they’re pretty great.  For the homemade meals and Pinteresty crafts we finally pulled off.  And for almost-sorta-kinda** feeling a twinge of sadness about their return to school today.

Let’s make this motherhood thing a judgement-free-zone.  May our authenticity on the rough days serve no other purpose but to point others to God’s grace and strength in sustaining us.  And may our acknowledgement of the good do exactly the same.  May those days point to His mercy.  His grace.  The lavish love heaped upon us by the Giver of all good things.

**(ALMOST.  SORTA.  KINDA.  I’m not completely off my rocker, you guys.)***

***(But no guilt, no shame, no judgement if you are legitimately mourning over your kids returning to school.  I mean.  I gotta practice what I preach, y’all.)