I think the hardest parts of being a mom are the ins-and-outs of daily life.
I also think the most rewarding parts of being a mom are the ins-and-outs of daily life.
Maybe I think this way because we haven't reached many major milestones or a major turning point that tend to define a person's child-rearing skills? Our oldest did win a spelling bee once and I felt proud of her and thankful for the time we dedicated to learning how to spell words like "school" and "patient", however, I feel more proud of her - and a wave of this indescribable LOVE washes over me - when I see her help her little brother tie his shoes in the morning, without rushing him - just letting him do it and offering words of encouragement. Or when my two oldest daughters help to rake the entire yard without being asked. Just straight up offer to help. Expecting nothing in return. Or when I witness my son reading to his little sister the same book he's read her twice already that morning. These are the glimpses into their character and who they are turning out to be that give me joy and offer encouragement that I might be doing something right.
But then there are the times when my oldest daughter refuses to let her sisters into their room. Just because. Or the times when my son tells me he's cleaned up his room, but really he just went and played Legos. Or when the words fly out of my middle daughter's mouth with the sole intent to hurt whomever it is she's talking to. These are the glimpses into their character that leave me wondering where I went wrong.
To prepare for motherhood I read some books. I prayed a lot. I was raised by a wonderful, loving, caring, devoted and engaged mother (and father). I have a great mother-in-law who is always willing to help and offer advice when asked. I even was blessed with two incredible grandmothers who had a huge impact on my upbringing, one of whom is still on earth just a phone call away when I need her.
Yet, even with all of these resources, I feel like I'm winging it. Every. Single. Day.
I don't remember ever being told to brace myself for the emotional rollercoaster that is the life of a 10-year-old girl. I don't remember ever reading about how pretty much everything I recommend or purpose is exactly the opposite of what she decides to do (or wear) - and how much we would butt heads about so many things. I don't recall ever being told to prepare for the hundreds of thousands of questions I will be asked by my 8-year-old. Daily. I can't think back to a chapter in those books that talked about how much of a mess a 6-year-old boy can make and how little he cares about it. And I certainly never learned about how when your youngest is old enough to go to school, you start to second guess every single choice you've made as a mom and secretly wish you could just go back to them all being at home, under your wing, where you can control everything.
More confessions from this convicted mom:
- I let my children down. Daily.
- I am the queen of empty threats.
- I am also the queen of changing my mind.
- I forget to sign their assignment notebook.
- I forget to remind them to practice piano.
- I almost always forget to send a water bottle to school with my youngest.
- My oldest has to ask me over and over again to sign her memory treasure card.
- It breaks my heart to know that she would rather bike to school in the rain and bitter cold of the morning than have to rely on me to get her there on time.
- There are times when I wish I wasn't a mom.
- I can be jealous of my children.
- My children hurt my feelings.
- I frequently feel inadequate.
- I am fearful that my children wish they lived with another family.
- I don't know how to sew. Aren't all mothers supposed to know how to sew?
- I throw away their Halloween and Easter candy.
- I haven't taught any of my children how to tie their shoes.
- My youngest wears her shoes on the wrong feet and I don't notice most of the time.
- I am too tired some nights to even walk the kids up to bed, and instead, tell them to just pray with each other.
- I sometimes resent my husband and his day job.
- I sometimes resent my friends and their day jobs.
- I am afraid that my kids don't need me as much as I need them.
But praise and thanks be to my Heavenly Father, who knows all things, who forgives all sins, who pulls me closer to Him through my convictions and helps me pull my children closer to Him too. And how incredibly self-centered of me to look at these convictions and think that I am not capable! Shame on me! That's similar to Moses thinking he wasn't the one that God needed to lead His people out of Egypt. In fact, he asked God to send someone else, even after multiple demonstrations of God's almighty power (Exodus 3:1 - 4:17).
God demonstrates His power in my life over and over again, yet I fail to see it and I crumble under the pressure of what I feel my kids need, compared to what I know God wants for me and my family. God wants us to be in harmony with one another and with Him. He wants me to seek Him first and He promises to give me all these things as well (Matthew 6:33). He will give me the confidence in my decision making. He will give me the frame of mind to help my children. He will give me a lesson when I need to relinquish control and follow His lead.
He is all things for my children. He is all things for me. Yet, He saw fit that I am my children's mother. There is NO ONE else who can do for them what I can. He saw fit that the four little people who are my children were given specifically to me. Regardless of how I feel, He has equipped me with the tools necessary to care for, provide for, support, encourage and HAVE FUN with my children. Instead of being hesitant and downright afraid like Moses was, I pray that God gives me a heart and conviction like that of Mary when she was told she was going to be the mother of the Promised Messiah in Luke 1:38:
"I am the Lord's servant", Mary answered. "May your word to me be fulfilled".
I hope that with my divulging of my insecurities and my short-comings, we can find a sisterhood of sorts, or some sort of encouragement, and at the very least a mutual understanding. Maybe you have found yourself in these situations, or thinking these same thoughts? Maybe you have judged other moms? Maybe you have been too afraid to divulge your inadequacies or failings?
Motherhood is hard. Plain and simple. Raising little people to be productive, kind, wise, independent, humble stewards of their time and talents for God's glory - all while trying to be that yourself - is daunting.
We know this: God will never leave us (Deuteronomy 31:6), He has already gone ahead of us and prepared our path (Isaiah 45:2), He wants us to live an abundant life on earth (John 10:10) and He will come get us when it is our time to go home to heaven (John 14:3). Keeping all of that in mind when making the day-in and day-out decisions keeps things in perspective, offers hope, frees us of comparison and judgment, and allows us to not only do our jobs as moms, but to THRIVE when doing them.
Dear Heavenly Father - Forgive me. Forgive me for failing to seek you first. Forgive me for being too much like Moses and not enough like Mary. Lord God, I know that you are capable of amazing things. Help me to trust that I can be one of those amazing things for your glory. Help me to rely on You more than I rely on any book, talk-show, blog, status, philosophy, other person or my feelings. Thank you for providing me with the necessary resources to be a better mom. Thank you for my husband. Thank you for my children's school and teachers. Thank you for my church family, for my pastors and their families. Help me to be the support they need and for me to use my time wisely, selflessly - like Jesus did. Thank you also for the community of women I get to speak to and learn from because of Holy Hen House. Bless our ministry, Lord. Help me, Lord, to understand, when I am feeling convicted, that you have forgiven me - not only that, but that you have freed me of my short-comings and have given me your Spirit, your power, and bestowed on me amazing grace. Lord God, bless our country. I ask that you be with us mothers, that you use our voice collectively, to help us elect a leader for this great nation who will honor you and will look to you to heal our land. In Jesus' name, Amen.