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The Paradox of Motherhood

Paradox. Such a fancy word for a Wednesday!

What it really means is “a seemingly absurd or contradictory statement or proposition that when investigated or explained may prove to be well founded or true.” (Thanks, Google.)

I do know one thing about this flashy word: motherhood is full of paradoxes. (Yes, that is the plural of paradox. Thanks again, Google.)

Here’s my latest contradictory thought. Maybe you can relate, all big words aside.

Our kids are an endless source of joy and frustration, of happiness and stress. The other night, I caught myself having this thought, “Sometimes I wish I was just done with parenting.”  But then, in the same breath, I almost made myself cry. “I can’t believe my oldest only has 10 years left at home before he could move out of my house for good!” (Tears).

See the paradox? Motherhood is simultaneously wanting a break from your children, and then knowing you’ll miss them terribly when you’re gone. It’s wishing your kids were old and on their own, but then wanting time to stop so you can savor them as little children.

I don’t really have any deep, theological insight to offer you on this one. But I think God, who always knows my heart and my true feelings (1 John 3:20), uses these paradoxical thoughts that I have to remind me to slow down and live in the moment.

That’s so hard, and yes, sometimes it seems contradictory. Mothers are to train their children for the next phase in their lives, whatever that may be. We are to prepare our kids to be successful in the future, and yet, we are to live in the moment.

Here are some practical ways that I have found that help me be in the moment:

Laugh when your kids are funny or when you experience something funny together.Real laughter is such a gift. And you can only really find something funny in the moment. Enjoy those moments more with your kids.

Let stuff go. I get so caught up in my to-do list sometimes. I have goals and things that I want to get done. But I shouldn’t let my to-do list steal my moments with my children. Nothing is worth missing out on them.

Do something you all enjoy. This is such a great fix for a grumpy or stressful day. Find a way to have fun together. Make memories. No one, looking back on their childhood, cares if their house was perfectly dusted. No, we look back and remember the funny times or the random adventures. Those are the makings of great childhood memories.

Live in the moment (preaching to myself). For yes, we only have a short time when our kids are home with us.

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Kristen Johnson

Kristen is an "accidental farmer's wife" and stay-at-home mom of 3. Accidental, because it was never in her plan to "just" be a mom. But it was God's. Former English teacher now turned MOPS Coordinator and Speaker, Kristen now writes at nap-time, blogging about her silly kids and her farming adventures, as a mom Called by God. She lives in Minnesota on a farm with her family, dog and 5 cats.