It only took me two years, but I've finally stopped thinking of motherhood as it's own part of life. Motherhood is life now. I can be myself all day long, but that doesn't separate me from my duties as a parent. I can't go to bed until the kids go to bed. I have to provide food for the little gremlins. They need baths and appointments and around-the-clock care. Not only that, but they need love and learning and all kinds of things I didn't appreciate as a toddler, either.
I've always seen mothering as just a thing I do. I'm still me and I live my life, and motherhood is the collection of necessary tasks that interrupt me daily. Now, I realize that motherhood is my job right now. Trying to prioritize a career or certain personal goals simply won't work for me right now. I can do it, but babies come first. It may seem simple to some, but the faithfulness in the everyday routine is a challenge in itself. I'm shaping the world's future, for crying out loud!
This isn't to say that I don't still have to meet my own needs and take care of myself. In fact, I understand that fact better because I'm accepting my daily routine as my job. I can be a better mom when I don't let the constant selflessness wear me down. (At least, I don't let the constant selflessness wear me down as quickly.) These days are numbered, and I know I'll forever miss them when they are gone. I realize this all too well, now that I'm only a trimester away from bringing home a new baby, and I've watched how quickly the last two years have gone by with my first. I need to do a better job of accepting my role right now, even if it means "me time" doesn't come as often as I'd like.
I won't deny that pregnancy hormones and the sheer exhaustion from being pregnant while taking care of a toddler could easily have worn me down enough to not fight life so much. I've always loved being a mom, but as any mom knows, it's not a piece of cake. (Actually, I'm not sure anyone could get through it without lots and lots of cake. I don't worry about the calories either, because chasing and wrestling a toddler is all the workout I can handle right now.) As the arrival of a new baby gets closer and closer, I realized how excited I am about it. Maybe I can appreciate it more because I know what to expect this time around. Accepting the worst parts of motherhood only makes it easier for me to appreciate the beautiful parts. Those parts aren't hard to find.
Don't get me wrong, I have fun daily as a mom. However, seeing my crazy daughter act exactly like me has made me much more aware of my own behavior. Teaching toddlers to be respectable people is nearly impossible anyway, so there is nothing wrong with "life" being on pause. After all, life isn't really paused—it's just different right now. This is my life; this is my job, and I intend to do it to the fullest. And I'm not ashamed to say I'll need a lot of cake.