Having kids can put life over the top. Overworked, overstimulated, overwhelmed and overboard, which is where a mom often wants to jump. Simultaneously she feels very much under it all. Underappreciated, underpaid, undermined and under water, which is where she’d be if she jumped.
Is there any middle-mothering between over and under? The truth is, most of our days fall somewhere inbetween. It’s just that having kids, being a mom, can toss us to either extreme in a flash. We know it, and we fear it.
In our family, each time I became pregnant, I puzzled over how another kiddie-commitment could possibly fit into our over-the-top lives, especially the part about stretching the love we felt for the ones we already had, to cover over another.
But children, when they arrive, seem to come pulling a wagon load of the extra everything that will be needed, an over-abundance of flexibility, of energy and especially of love. It’s one of motherhood’s wonderful surprises.
As we plug away at mommy-hood, riding the waves of over and under, we can sometimes be overtaken by good things, too. Overworked and overwhelmed might morph into overflow, i. e. an abundance of whatever we need at the moment. Underappreciated and undermined can transform into understanding, i.e. wisdom of how best to handle a confusing situation.
Whether children are newborns or fully-grown, our challenge to sink or swim as moms will always be with us. When we get nervous about that, it’s good to look for those positive overs and helpful unders. If we see them, the wild ride of motherhood becomes a joy, sometimes even making us overjoyed.