Kudos to all the moms out there who feel like they've got a great handle on this role in life.
I am not one of you.
Just this week I lost my cool with one of my kids in a big way... big way... righteous anger ignition lighting a fire of less than righteous expression of it. Sigh... it is a lifelong struggle. Well, it's a mom-lifelong struggle. I don't think I ever knew how much of a temper I had until I had kids. Now I am constantly aware of the shortness of my fuse. This week the fuse was lit, and it wasn't pretty.
Also along the way this week I find myself swimming through the puddle of mess that I randomly become as I prepare to send another of my children off into the world "on his own..." It's a good thing, it's the right thing, it's even a necessary thing, it's even time for it to happen, but it 21 years I still never managed to prepare myself for it. So I dwell far more on the lack and mistakes of the 21 years and waver between despair of regret, and wanting to pull the trigger and get it over with quickly. Sometimes in between I just try to find a numb place of denial, which is a little more comfortable.
Kudos to the moms who feel fulfilled in their role as a mother.
I am not one of you.
Most of the time being a mom makes me feel frustrated and inept. I mean, I have had moments of feeling fulfilled as a mother. I think back to seasons filled with crazy sleepless nights (mind you, I had two babies in the same calendar year) where I managed to get all three children to bed and asleep all for the same few hours and I felt quite accomplished. But in all honesty, the longer I am a mother, the more I feel like I don't have a clue, and I am not doing it right and I'm aware of just how much I have managed to screw up. I waver between wishing that the "success" of motherhood were measurable, and being really, really, really glad that it's not. Sometimes in between I just try to find the numb place of denial, which is a little more comfortable.
Kudos to the moms who feel like they have a solid plan that works when it comes to things like direction and discipline for their kids.
I am not one of you.
I think God has a little bit of a sick sense of humor. There, I said it, I do. He gave me the first child who was sweet-natured, passive and compliant... and tricked me into thinking that had something to do with my parenting. Then the limit ran out on that infant/ toddler nature in the first kid (though it sort of swayed in and out and still does to this day), but to make sure I knew how little it had to do with me, seven years later he gave me this complicated, fiercely independent, challenging child... and then less than ten months later He gave me another one, and that one had a really bad attitude to boot.
It didn't take me long to figure out that three very different kids required three very different kinds of parenting all from this same mom. I not only lacked one solid plan, I lacked three very needed plans. And I figured out, for me at least, this whole parenting thing was one long science experiment of trial and error... and error... and error. It is really quite a trial. I waver between commitment to figuring it out and wanting to throw my hands up in hopelessness. Sometimes in between I just try to find the numb place of denial, which is a little more comfortable.
Kudos to all the cuddly, comforting, patient and nurturing moms.
I am not one of you.
Sometimes my kids are talking, talking and talking, and I just can't even force myself to focus, and I keep trying in my head to say, "LISTEN!!" Sometimes I do, sometimes I fake it well enough to get by, and sometimes they look back it me and exasperation and ask, "Are you even listening to me???" And I have to shake my head "no." On a good day I ask them to try to tell me the story again, on not so good days I just shrug, apologize and slip away.
Sometimes my kids struggle with big challenges, especially middle school bullsh... ivek... (just really got hit lately with how much I need to work on my language... courtesy of one of my kids... anyway...) bulshivek problems, and I just want to scream, "SUCK IT UP!! GET OVER IT!!!!" And sometimes I don't just want to, I actually do.
Sometimes one of my kids wants to (yes, still) crawl in my lap, or lay on my chest, or rub on my arm, and I just want to be left alone. If I had a dollar in 21 years for every time I told one of them "GET OFF ME!" I could probably take a pretty nice cruise with the hubby. But I waver between (yes, still) wanting to hide in the bathroom (or now that they're older, my car) and ignore them and knowing these days are fleeting and wanting to get over my no touchy-feely self and soak in every fleeting moment. Sometimes in between I just try to find the not numb enough place of denial, which is a little more comfortable.
Kudos to the moms who love their children with all their hearts and more than their own lives.
I AM one of you.
Even though I don't always love this role - mom - the one people like to call "the toughest job you'll ever love," I love my children more than life itself. I don't always love the painful, difficult, humbling, challenging, heartbreaking job of being their one and only mom though. It's hard, at times hurtful, often stressful. It's not a job I have found to get easier or more manageable, if anything I find it gets harder and harder as they grow up and get older. It's not a job that you can be trained for (have yet to find a single book that taught me everything I needed to know to love and rear my three very different kids). It's not a job where success or failure is easily measured. I don't even know at what point you get to decide the job is "complete" enough to be "graded." Even as my 21-year-old prepares to move out and far away, I still feel the pain of responsibility, and accountability... did I prepare him? Will he succeed? Does he know I love him? Believe in him? But even when he gets through college, even if he gets through well, when he becomes a husband and father, I know I will look at his strengths and weaknesses, successes and failures and tie them back to the job I did as his mom. So even though the role of mom changes, it never really ends. There's no report card to look forward to.
The longer I have this job, in all its increase of challenge and difficulty, the more I realize how much less it had to do with what I could teach and impart to my children, and it's so much more about the work God is doing--- in my kids, and even more, in me. It's messy work.
The longer I do this job, the less opinionated I become about the "right vs. wrong way" of raising my children. More importantly I am much less opinionated about how other people raise their children. I finally recognize that not one of us can understand the specific process, challenge and struggle of being who you are, raising the kids you are, parenting the way you are. I really think that the whole "train up a child in the way he should go," is less about finding the ONE RIGHT WAY, and more about trying to just keep, as best you can, trying to just keep them directed the right general direction. Realizing that in the midst of my own fumbly, failure-filled, uphill trek as a mom, God has a handle on all the roads that are there... mine, my hubby's, and the three different paths for each of my kids.
At the end of the day, I am just really grateful that I was never called to be the perfect parent, but that Christ has promised to work in my many, many, many imperfections. Beautifully, not just for my own good, but for the good of those three precious kids he entrusted to me, knowing full well my innumerable shortcomings.
Being a mom makes me tired-- physically, emotionally and spiritually tired. It also makes me desperately needy, and that is a good thing. That is a God thing.
Kudos to all the moms like me, who despite all the struggle, never give up-- even when they really want to. Kudos to the moms who love their kids in their own failing, fumbling, falling short kind of way, who just do their best because their best is all they can do-- even on the days when their best doesn't seem like much at all. Kudos to you. Kudos to us.