It is there, and it creeps up like a silent killer. Maybe it is the wet underwear that you found floating in the hallway bathroom. Or the cat food that has been flung out on the floor like tiny marbles waiting to trip up a passerby. Or the loud thumping and yelling and tantruming as if we live in some sort of primal age where roaring and beating your chest were the only way to get other's attention.
And all of that madness and anger? It wasn't the kids. It was me. The mother. The one who left a pair of Superman undies in a bathroom we rarely use for days, fed the cat without my glasses after someone else forgot, and the loud, obnoxious, downright scary human being I can be when I have just had more than I can handle.
That's the kind of thing that happens when you allow satan to steal your motherhood
No, it's not the mistakes. It's not the forgetfulness. It is what happens on the inside that no one else sees. And he knows just how to get to you.
He admires you, you know. But only when you yell at your kids, complain about tasks that need to be done regardless of how many people are in your home. He loves it when you wish you were the mom with the skinny jeans and tall boots and shiny hair with the perfectly groomed kids at the mall play area. You look at her and think you are sub-par. Satan loves that.
Satan also loves it when you get scared because someone posted a random video online of how their four year old can read, so you freak out that YOUR four year old is more interested in roaming outdoors and playing with bobby pins and giving them names, so you panic because books are the last thing on her mind. Satan is clapping now.
Satan also adores you when you get on the phone and ignore your kids, when you hide your true feelings and dreams and frustrations with your husband with a weak "I'm fine," and when you feel like this fun birthday party at the park for your children isn't "the best" compared to someone else's insanely expensive Pinterest celebration.
Satan wants you to fail. And to feel alone. And to feel inadequate to what Someone Else has CALLED you to do.
Because I might as well have left the front door unlocked and allowed a thief to come right in my home yesterday. I mean, why not?I let satan in. After all the fussing and nagging and utter bone tired exhaustion, I crawled into bed with my three year old for a moment. Just to apologize.
"I didn't think it was rough. I thought it was fun!"
"Really? Which part was fun?"
"The part where we played on the couch like we were on a boat. Where we 'fished' with your belt as a fishing line, and used the couch pillows for life boats."
Tears started rolling down my cheeks.
"Please pray for me. That I can be a better Mommy."
"Oh, I did! Earlier today. When it was sunny. Right before we played the boat game."
Today I'm locking the door tight to whatever evil enters my heart and home.
Today I am going to remember the One who GIVES LIFE and knows I am a mess and LOVES ME ANYWAY.
I washed the undies. The cat took care of the food. That four year old is now six and can read like a champ. But she still names random things. And it's cool that my hair is "shiny" because it is unwashed and I can't wear tall boots because they make me taller than the guy that loves me to the moon and back.
Roll those cars down a ramp, read one more princess story, forget how "busy" you think you are and what the world thinks you should accomplish in a 24-hour period and for heaven's sake, LOG OFF OF PINTEREST.
Take your kids and an old, worn blanket, reheat that coffee and hold them tight and just rest at the feet of Jesus for a moment.
Today? It is going to be OK. Take back your motherhood. It is a gift. Listen to the life-giver, NOT the liar.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on Christie Elkins' blog, Letters From the Nest. It has been republished here with permission.
Christie Elkins is a mother of three, cop's wife, and Junior Mint lover. She writes at lettersfromthenest.com and is a columnist for her hometown newspaper, The LaFollette Press. Christie and her family reside on a farm in the Appalachian Mountains of East Tennessee, where sweet tea is served at every meal and hospitality is second nature.