This is motherhood and marriage in increments of 19.
19. That’s the number of times my 2-year-old told me she loved me today and we are talking completely random, unprovoked, endearingly uttered “I love you” declarations.
19. That’s the number of hours this week, I’ve spent thinking that I’m a terrible mom and screwing all three of my children up in seemingly irreparable ways.
19. That’s the number of minutes it takes me to go from patient, calm, sweet Mommy to Maleficient’s doppelganger.
19. That’s the number of times I tell my kids “in a second,” every single day when I fully know I won’t be responding to their need for a while longer.
19. That’s the number of loads of laundry I do weekly and by do, I mean wash, let sit in the washer for a few days, dry, let sit in the dryer for a few days, place on my dining room table, let sit there for a few days, getting nice and wrinkly, then fold them and cram ’em into drawers.
19. That’s how many times I bribe my kids with snacks or a cheap toy each week to make my life easier and without consideration for what bad habits this may breed.
19. Multiply that number by four or more, and that’s approximately the number of times “Mommy” is spoken, screamed, whined, yelled, bellowed, and cried in a single day… by each of my three children.
19. That’s the number of people who will judge me when I reveal that I just gave my 2-year-old a Hostess cupcake to appease her so I could finish writing this post.
19. That’s quite a lot of missed opportunities for passing affection to be delivered between him and I if we both weren’t so self-absorbed and selfish.
19. That’s how many reminder texts I have sent to myself about writing prompt ideas only to find the time to draft less than a quarter of those into actual articles.
19. That’s how many complaints I make a day about my “lack of time” to get any writing or housework done, let alone any self-care.
19. That’s the number of minutes I waste every hour checking Facebook and other social media and then valuing my worth on how many “Likes” my latest thought or picture received.
19. That’s the number of times I interrupt both family members and friends to ensure that I feel heard.
19. That’s just one number shy of the actual amount of next-day scenarios I run through in my mind while laying in bed at night to heart- and head-prep myself for what the following day may bring.
19. That’s the number of hours I am awake each day, and to translate for any of you that suck at on-the-spot math as I do, that means I typically sleep five hours a day.
19. That’s how many times I thank God each day, usually during nighttime prayer, for the many somethings or someones in my life.
19. That’s how few minutes I use to get myself ready in the morning so that I can tend to my three love nuggets, our two Labradors, and all of the morning tending to that all five require.
19. That’s the number of times I willingly and somewhat calmly repeat myself before all three kids, dress, eat, and brush their teeth in preparation for their day at school.
19. That’s the number of minutes it takes for me to get each child to their school and it’s also the number of minutes I get to overdose on nonsensical kid convos, jokes, and very loud singing.
19. That’s the number of times I think about my children every hour that I am not with them.
19. That’s approximately the number of times I make it to the gym each month, a stat that makes me feel both proud and guilty.
19. The age I was when I was in my “then prime,” which doesn’t hold a candle to my “now prime.”
19. That’s how many people (or more) I have the chance of uplifting when I choose to exercise compassion towards others (and modeling that for my children who in turn will do the same) spurring a ‘pay it forward’ chain of kindness.
19. That’s the number of minutes into a date night with the hubs before we can’t keep our hands off one another or the amount of time before we start arguing about something menial.
19. That’s the maximum number of minutes into a fight before one of us sincerely apologizes.
19. That’s the minimum amount of times each day that I voice to my children that I love them.
19. That’s the number of minutes after my daughter’s last “I love you” that I realized there is no way I’m messing up too badly if my child, without prompt or incitement, will broadcast her affection for me.
19. That would be too few reasons why motherhood and marriage are fulfilling, draining, inspiring, depleting, wonderful, hard, stifling and growth-provoking all at the same time.
19. That’s how old I was when I thought I knew it all, including what real love is like and what is important.
19. That’s the number of times I question myself a day and ponder if I am getting any of motherhood and marriage right.
19. That’s how many times I told myself today, “Yes! Yes! You are!”
This story originally appeared on @jthreenme on Facebook