I write at the risk of everyone shaking their heads at me in disbelief and possibly judgment. Then again, I might find that some of you relate to what I’m about to say. So I’m going to write to those who may need the encouragement that I have been given in this one area. Being a mom.
We just celebrated Mother’s Day, and I can’t get this nagging thought out of my mind. It’s been there for about the last 2 weeks. Are my kids missing out on something because I’m their mom?
Ugh. I said it, so now it’s out there. I hate to admit that the reason I ask myself this question is because of comparison to other moms. It’s true, as much as my little heart knows it’s dangerous, I can’t help but compare myself to this friend or that friend in how she parents her children. It doesn’t help that most of the Facebook posts and conversations are only part of the story, and usually the best part. And no matter how many times I hear someone say that I’m the mother that God has chosen for my children, I still worry that I’m not doing such a great job at being a mom.
Part of my difficulty has been that I’m a very serious person by nature. That sometimes equates to “I’m not fun” in my mind. And children are natural have-funners (or fun-havers?)! So you see how my thought process goes: I’m not fun. My children learn by having fun. Thus my children are not learning OR having fun. Someone slap me out of this mess! (not really though, I’m also not a very tough momma)
Another difficulty for me (as I’ve already mentioned in a previous post) is that I am not an “insta-mom”. You know those women! They’re the ones who dreamed of being a mom ever since they were little girls. And to top it off, when they become a mom, they’re just naturally good at being one (well what I think being “good” is anyway…and that is fun).
All I’m really getting at is that I can get so easily discouraged that I’m not doing the best thing for my kids. Sure I may be good at teaching math or reading. Maybe I am good at being consistent in discipline and in our schedule. But what about having fun? I can quickly resort to thinking that my kids will be somehow deficient because I’m not doing enough to make their childhood something really great.
Then I hear the whisper.
If any of you lacks wisdom…
Ahhh…yes. Thank you James (1:5). That’s much better thinking. If I’m feeling insecure or even inadequate, I need to ask God for whatever it is I think I lack. He richly supplies me with the things I need (Philippians 4:19).
The only other thing I have to ask myself is, honestly, not pleasant. Are there areas in my parenting that are lacking because I’m being lazy? Am I misplacing my priorities? Do I really need to check facebook every few hours or play candy crush when there’s a lull in activity (or whatever it is that you fill your day with)? Do I need to clean those dishes right now? Or do that laundry at this moment?
Please hear me when I say, this is not meant to guilt you. I’m not trying to shame myself either. Those are legitimate questions that we can ask ourselves to determine if we’re wasting away our days on things that don’t make an eternal difference. What did I do with the time I’ve been given? I just want to be sure that I’m not neglecting time spent with my kids because I’ve got a selfish agenda of my own.
On the other hand, if you do feel guilty in this area, it’s good to remember that every mom needs a break every now and then. Those little people can be what bring you the most joy at times, but you’ve got to be honest that they can also make you want to tear out your hair. I think the adage is true: distance can make the heart grow fonder. So take a break by going to a mom’s group or a bible study with childcare! Go on dates with your hubby! Go get a manicure. Hide in your closet with that chocolate bar while they’re occupied with their own game/activity. Just do something that helps you to feel like a normal human being so you can get back in the game with those little people without feeling your blood pressure rise too swiftly!
The other thing to keep in mind is that you’re not going to have picture perfect pinterest days every day. I have the hardest time with this! I would love for everything to go my way all the time, and when it doesn’t (which is often) I either get angry or really discouraged. There is redemption hidden in the ugly mess. It doesn’t hurt your kids to see you mess up because they’re going to mess up and need to see how to handle it well. The question is, are you handling it well? Sometimes I do, and sometimes I don’t. I guess we ought to make it count though when we do get it right! I don’t know how many times I’ve heard my oldest say (at the most random times, I might add), “You know, sometimes bad things happen and that’s okay, we just move on” (or something to that effect). It also doesn’t hurt us to mess up! One of the biggest blessings in this life is to encounter trials because it means we become more aware of our need for God. This means refinement for my character. It means humility. Brokenness.
To be broken only to be made whole.
Laying down your life to gain it.
It seems so backwards.
You know what’s interesting? I am so afraid of how my kids will remember me. Will they remember all the times I raised my voice in frustration for the question asked one too many times? Will they remember the times I was busy and they had to play by themselves?
He whispers again.
Do not worry about your life…
This is what my son wrote for Mother’s Day:
I guess he remembers that I’m fun. 🙂 And I guess this makes me realize I don’t need to be so hard on myself.
And neither do you.