This C. S. Lewis Quote Saved My Parenting Sanity


When Zach was fairly new, I was miserable. Not seriously, not dangerously, just kind of…normally…miserable. It’s hard. Babies are hard. And, look, I had the easiest pregnancies, births, and babies in the world, and it was too, too much. I can’t even imagine if I’d had difficulties on top of the normal.

Babies are all the time. If you do get a break, it’s not relaxing, because you know at any second you could be needed again. Finally ready for Netflix at the end of the night? Too bad. Go do another 45 minutes upstairs. Exhausted beyond measure? Don’t go to bed, because then tomorrow will come ALL THE SOONER. Did you just spend a week so sad that every time you smiled at your baby you were faking it? BAD MOM YOU DIDN’T CHERISH EVERY MOMENT.

Ahem. Where was I? I remember one night in particular upstairs, nursing Zach to sleep, just in the middle of the Hard of It All. And I thought, everyone’s right. I’ll be much happier if I stop having kids. These two will get older and I can do more for me as soon as that happens. I can relax. I can have fun. I can write, and teach, and act, or whatever it is I used to do when I was a person. I matter too. I should be happy.

And then C. S. Lewis’ voice popped into my head. Or rather Anthony Hopkins, because it was the version of Lewis from the movie Shadowlands. And he said, “I don’t think God particularly wants us to be happy. I think he wants us to love, and be loved.”

What, dude?

I mean, that’s kind of dicky, God doesn’t care if we’re happy. I mean, Follow Your Bliss, right? Live Your Dreams.

But the weird thing was, as soon as this quote popped into my head, I felt free. I could breathe. I didn’t have to feel happy this minute. I didn’t have to feel happy this week. Having a hard time didn’t prove I was living the wrong life. In fact, I’d been thinking about “happy” all wrong. I’d been thinking, if only life were easier, I’d be happy. But my life had been easier. Before I had kids. Before I married Andrew. But I wasn’t happier. I wouldn’t choose that life over the one I have now for anything in the world.

Babies are hard.

Everything worth doing is hard.

“I think he wants us to love, and be loved.” When God talks about “love,” he’s not talking about the warm fuzzies you have for someone that make you feel good. He’s talking about all those little (and big) sacrifices you make for the good of someone else.

Look, I’m not advocating being a living martyr and never doing anything for yourself. If I wasn’t alone at a coffee shop right now, people would be dead. Audrey spent the morning at the top of the stairs, crying, “I WANT TO COME DOWNSTAIRS!” while I yelled back, “THEN WHY AREN’T YOU????” Over and over again.

Oh, man, this. So many days.

Yet something happened a couple of weeks ago that surprised me. I was in the middle of some general insanity I can’t even remember, small people yelling at me, trashing the house, who knows. And I started to pray. This isn’t normal; I rarely think to do something so constructive. And I was ready to beg God for the calm and peace to not duct tape my children to the walls. But that’s not what came out. Instead I heard myself blurting out weepy thanks for my kids, and the chance to live this beautiful life with them and my husband, and that if I could have anything in the world, it would be more of this sacred insanity.

Screw easy. Let’s do love.


posted under Audrey, faith story, God, Zachary | Comments Off on This C. S. Lewis Quote Saved My Parenting Sanity