As I reflect on my job as a mother, I realize that I:
-Have been pregnant 12 times, for a total of about 71 months
-Have changed more than 20,000 diapers
-Done more than 2,000 loads of laundry
-Breastfed for more than 48 months
-Cooked way more than 5,000 meals
-Bandaged uncountable ouchies, cleaned up countless vomit puddles
-Had countless sleepless night caring for crying babies or sick children
-Homeschooled for 10 years so far in 7 grades
-Currently homeschool 4 children in 4 grades and work fulltime and run my household without outside help (not including plenty of DiGiorno's pizzas).
-I don't have easy pregnancies.
-I don't have easy births.
-I don't have perfect children.
-I don't have outside help, paid or family.
-Things are never perfect, and they rarely run perfectly smoothly.
It's worth every second.
When I chose to give up any of my own dreams and ideas of what I thought I would do with my life before children, I had no idea what was in store for me. How "just being a stay at home mom" (although I think I really fit more into the "work at home mom" category) would challenge and change me in ways I could never dream of. I didn't know of the sense of accomplishment when I look around after a hard day and can see the fruit of my hands. From learning to read and tackling Algebra, we're conquering every hill. Even in the days when I think I can't- if I can just dig out a bit and give myself a good pep talk, I can see that little by little, I CAN. More than that- I AM.
Frankly, I never knew it would be so hard. I also never knew what I was capable of accomplishing. In a world where there is almost never encouragement for women like me, a world that tells me that I'm crazy to have so many children, and does it's best to prevent any more lives, a world that insists it can teach my children better than I can, and that things are "too hard": that makes things even more difficult. Then there are those 6 holes in my heart that no one else will dare talk about. I still remember them, and I am still their mother.
I'm in the trenches. Every day is huge and bursting with a million things that must be done, taught, and fixed. Every day can seem the same as the day before. It can seem overwhelming and completely exhausting. It can seem like I'm not getting anywhere and all of it is for nothing.
Thing is, as we walk this road, we may never get acknowledgement or support. No one may ever know the sacrifices and tears that went into our job. Even so, there is a great satisfactory pride in the knowledge that every day I'm doing it. Every day is moving us in a direction, and each day that I don't quit means that it is in a positive direction. One more life lesson, one more educational lesson, one more meal, one more feeding for the body and soul. One more life.
I never knew it would be so worth it.