Timehop brought up a photo last week that set my head spinning. I couldn’t tell if it was nostalgia that made me emotional, or PTSD.
The photo was of my three oldest children from seven years ago when they were all quite little. Truthfully, were it not for blogging, I’m not sure I would remember those early years of mothering. There were little ones around all the time, none of them ever napping at the same time, which meant I was needed from sunrise to sunset, and sometimes in the middle of the night.
My husband traveled, and it was all about survival. I handled multiple bouts of the flu, two cases of scarlet fever, more vomiting than I’d like to recall, and several ear infections on my own.
Those were sweet years of young children learning to walk and talk, all of which bring much needed comedy to the routine of parenting.
But they were hard years, too. Physically exhausted all the time, I escaped to the gym not necessarily to work out, but sometimes simply to be alone. I was known to check my kids into the nursery, then sit in the corner with a book and read for my two hour allotted time.
I like to lovingly refer to those years as the Dark Ages.
It was in those days that my work as a writer got buried a little. Outside of blogging the daily (and hilarious) antics of my children, there simply wasn’t time for anything else. Though I had dreams of writing books, I could do nothing more than chip away slowly at those dreams.
I’d find stolen moments of sequestered time, usually beneath the watchful eye of the moon, and that was all the time I had for dream chasing.
Every mother can identify with this. We’ve all walked through the Dark Ages. Some of you are there right now. You have toddlers and babies and preschoolers, and you wonder if you’ve lost yourself completely in the blissfully beautiful art of motherhood. Can I offer some encouragement?
You’re not lost.
The you that was there before kids is still there, and she will emerge again someday. If we look back at history, we see that the true Dark Ages preceded the artistic renaissance. Artistic expression went underground for awhile, hidden away for fear of persecution.
But it didn’t die out completely. The art was simply waiting for the right time to reemerge.
And so it is with the Dark Ages of motherhood. All the pieces of you that were lovely before motherhood are still there. The children will grow, the seasons will change, and you’ll find yourself with a little more time on your hands.
You’ll likely be changed as well, because motherhood does that. It breathes new life into the parts of ourselves that were there before, making them beautiful in a different way. Make no mistake, motherhood has changed you, and it just may be for the better.
So to the weary mom stuck in the Dark Ages, I offer this encouragement: Hold on, sweet Mama. These days won’t last forever. Someday, sooner than you think, you’ll find that the winds of change have blown. The children will be older, more independent. Perhaps they’ll be in school, or maybe they’ll be home but able to entertain themselves for stretches of time.
Either way, you’re still in there. And when you emerge from the Dark Ages into the awaiting days, be prepared for the Renaissance. Embrace it fully and wholly, because it’s been waiting just for you.
And every once in awhile, look back at a picture of the Dark Ages. There’s something sweet about knowing you survived those days. They really are gone in the blink of an eye.
My second book of the year has just released. Co-authored with Wendy Speake, this is a book written to the creative mom who wonders what on earth God was thinking when He made her creative and then gave her children.
Visit our website for more information on the book. And stop by our Instagram feed to be inspired by creative moms who are weathering the Dark Ages with their art intact.