Let me see. Do I feel smothered? The easy, trite answer would be to say something like "Smothered with love..." Awww.... (Gag,gag,gag) OK, there is a bit of reality in the smothered-with-love sentiment, but I wouldn't want you to gag on the powdered sugar. And it would be misleading, really.
Let's just say, yes, I do feel smothered sometimes. There's lots of love going around here, but I have to admit it. I do feel overwhelmed occasionally. It comes over me in waves. On good days I hit those waves on a surfboard, on bad days I go under. I haven't drowned yet, though. I thank my dear husband and my Faith for that.
The truth is, whether you have one child or ten, if you don't occasionally feel smothered, you're not doing it right. Motherhood is an all-encompassing job. Profession. Vocation. When you're responsible for the body, soul, and disposition of other people, and for the health of the family group they're in, too... Well, your whole body and soul have to go into it. It's that important. It is and must be a 24/7/365 job. It's hard work. Never-ending. Big picture. Nitty gritty. And yes, sometimes smothering. But, it's supposed to be.
We have to answer to God for the products we turn out on this job ~ and society will be none too appreciative, either, if we raise ax murderers or professional welfare recipients. There's pressure for you. But very little sympathy in this world. Especially for moms with four or more children, I'm here to tell you. But it's worth choking down the snide responses I want to spit out at people's rude comments. It's worth the struggle for time to myself and space with my husband. It's worth every moment of boredom, of exhaustion, of anxiety. It's worth feeling smothered sometimes to know I'm doing everything I possibly can for my children. Because it's my job, yes. But, more, because I love them.
There is a famous statue of the Sacred Heart that has no hands. A plaque below it says, "Give me your hands." In our rule, we are supposed to "be Mary's Hands, at work in today's world." It is true about losing the hands (or the grip) of the older ones one by one. But if you have had your hands there for them firm and loving, they will come back and have their hands there for you strong and supportive in your need.
So the hope is that they'll be there for us someday, too. They already are in a lot of ways. God willing, we won't need their complete care in our dotage, but it could very well happen. I hope we've raised them to find blessing in that kind of responsibility. I hope they won't mind feeling a little smothered.And, in the meantime, I hope I can ride the waves gracefully. The trick is knowing how to swim out from under when necessary. Through prayer, through support networks, by developing better strategies, by utilizing my own personal coping techniques. And by giving and getting lots of really good, smothery hugs.