My very quiet, observant daughter asked me shortly after this picture was snapped, “Is being a Momma hard?” I could tell she was hesitant to ask because of the scolding that had just left my exhausted lips. I was trying to get supper done while listening to my lectures for my online classes as her siblings rode scooters through the kitchen and running over each others heels causing a three-scooter pile up and puddles of tears. After clearing up the wreckage and bandaging boo-boos, I gave my own lecture of how it isn’t safe to chase each other with scooters and delivered a pop quiz that consisted of one question.
“Why are the scooters even in the house?”
No one knew the answer.
Consequences included suspension of said scooters for the rest of the evening.
I assumed my position back in front of the stove to make sure my potatoes hadn’t scorched and hit play for the lecture on prayer when I heard the shutter from my phone’s camera.
“Put my phone down and go play please. I’m trying to get supper done and finish up the last of this video.”
“Is being a Momma hard?” she asked sheepishly as she hopped down from the counter.
My heart sank.
Is that what she thinks? Do I make it seem unbearable most days? Am I complaining and comparing more than I’m content?
“Wait.” I called after her bouncing white curls.
“What do you mean, baby?”
She looked down at her feet and kicked around a forgotten, half melted ice cube.
“Well…you do a lot of stuff at one time. Like, fixing my hair and taking orders on the phone for concrete, or like what you’re doing now, doing school work and cooking. Is it hard? Doing a buncha stuff at the same time?”
I wanted to cry. I wanted to laugh. I wanted to give her the short answer and send her on her way. But instead, I pressed in. I asked her, “Why?”
She tilted her head, opened her blue eyes wide and her voice rose, “Cause I dunno if I can be a momma if I have to do a buncha stuff at one time!”
“Girl! You’re so silly…It doesn’t happen overnight. They don’t just hand you a baby at the hospital in one hand and in the other a stack of books to study and the key to a business.”
“Then how come you do all those things?”
I assume I spent longer than she liked, reflecting on her question because she demanded my attention with a singsong, “Mah-ma?”
“Well, baby. I just do. It’s kinda like breathing. One day, when you become a momma, you’ll see. You’ll magically be able to fix hair and answer phones. You’ll be able to cook while taking classes. You’ll even be able to eat while changing a baby’s diaper across your lap underneath a restaurant table.”
“EW! I don’t want to do that!” She laughed.
“Believe it or not, yes you will. That’s the magic of being a momma. Things that seem hard to others come effortlessly as breathing. Sure, sometimes you may feel like your drowning and you’ll want to quit, but what happens if you quit breathing?”
“Yep…If I didn’t have ya’ll to love I’d die.”
By this point the ice cube had almost disappeared into a puddle completely and without thought I grabbed a paper towel to mop it up.
“You’re doing it again. Ain’t it hard?”
I sighed and shrugged.
“No, baby. It’s not too hard. It’s just love. I fix your hair and changed the diapers because I love ya’ll. I cook the food and clean the house because I love ya’ll. I answer the phone and keep the books because I love Daddy. I take the classes, record my podcast, and write because I love God. I volunteer at the school and Safe Harbor because I love people…Do you get it?”
“I think so…Love is magic.”