I mentioned a podcast about “grit” in the last post I wrote. I LOVED this podcast, however it brought up a lot of feelings. You know, the Wow-I-Am-A-Loser kind. Grit: the will power to keep going when it gets hard. The ability to push yourself far past comfortable. The “I will NEVER give up” mindset. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I may not possess this quality at all, and it is pretty much a precursor to any sort of REAL greatness.
I quit ballet, soccer, basketball, and cross country because I wasn’t as “good” as I wanted to be. I LOVE art but changed my major to Spanish in college so I could graduate and BE DONE faster. I have had about a billion ideas, things that really get me excited…but never follow through. The longest I have stayed with one job was four years and that was in high school. I officially realized I am gritless.
But then…the other day I was changing one of those particularly AWFUL poopy diapers that led me to the memory of THE WORST DIAPER CHANGE OF ALL TIME (Cabella’s, no wipes, two year old, blow out, up the back, toilet paper sticking to everything, no change of clothes, screaming child, out of soap, scarred for life) and I thought to myself, “Hey, I am still at it! I have hit an all time poop low, and I didn’t throw in the towel. I am still changing those bums. That has got to count for a little grit.”
What about all those nights with Bennett when he was up every 45 minutes? I pretty much lived on no sleep for 6 months and just kept on loving him. GRIT. And when I am carrying two children, a bag, five toys, a bottle, and a lunch box up a hill because one child fell and the other is too tiny to keep up and I swear I will never do this again because my arms are falling off, but later that afternoon I am walking up that SAME hill with the SAME load plus 3 new toys all because I love to see those boys happy? Griiiiiit. That time I managed to hold myself together after a 12 hour airport traveling day by myself with two kids when Boston pooped on the last 30 minutes of the last plane and Mrs. Proper sitting next to us acted like she would pass out from the smell so I had to wake Bennett up right after he had fallen asleep for the first time just to save Mrs. Proper’s delicate nose. Grit, baby.
The more I thought about it the more I realized all of the monotonous routine things I do EVERY day over and over again to keep these babies alive take a lot of grit. As a Mother, you never get a day off. It is emotionally taxing and physically demanding. Boston and I found this book at the library:
It really depicts motherhood well. Even on our WORST days we still have to function:
Jeffrey R. Holland shares a letter from an anonymous mother who wrote this: “How is it that a human being can love a child so deeply that you will willingly give up a
major portion of your freedom for it? How can mortal love be so strong that you voluntarily subject yourself to responsibility, vulnerability, anxiety, and heartache and just keep coming back for more of the same? What kind of mortal love can make you feel, once you have a child, that your life is never, ever [to be] your own again? Maternal love,” she says, “has to be divine. There is no other explanation for [such feelings]. What mothers do is an essential element of Christ’swork,” she concludes. “Knowing that should be enough to tell us the impact of such love will range between unbearable and transcendent, over and over [and over] again […]” (find the whole quote here)
I know moms who have watched their tiny newborns from outside a hospital box and were only able to hold on to a finger for months and months. I have a friend who had twins with severe colic and took care of both crying babies every day and night even though she thought she might not be able to make it through the day every morning. One mom I know has grown up children who have every manner of scary addiction, and she has to endure the heartache of not knowing where they are sleeping or if they are ok. I know more than one woman who has had to say an earthly goodbye to a child, and still wake up the next day and be a mom to her others, even though her grief was enough to swallow her whole. This ability to keep on going when it seems impossible is grit.
Motherhood makes women who are selfless and strong. I may have quit most things and have bad follow through, but I have grit. Whether it is potty training or nursing, never ending homework nagging or sleep training, teenage-all-night-worrying or trials of the heart that should never have to be faced by a woman who has given her whole heart to her child the second she found out he or she existed….a mother never gives up, pushes herself way past comfortable, and lives in the “hard” zone. I guess I do have grit after all.