As a little girl, people would often ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up. It was a no brainer for me. A mother. It was all I ever dreamed of being.
Today, I can honestly say that I have my dream job.
I’m a stay at home mom.
But just because it is my dream, doesn’t mean that it is always dreamy. Stinky (and clean) diapers, bottomless laundry piles of tiny clothing, crumb covered kitchen floors, and sticky fingerprints really are endearing little messes. I dread the day when my house stays clean, and I don’t have to remind anyone to use “their inside voices.” I am incredibly thankful for my three little children that make life worth living.
But motherhood is exhausting.
Motherhood is hard. Maybe THE hardest. Because it’s a real live PERSON you are responsible for raising.
Motherhood is answering five thousand questions about every topic imaginable.
Motherhood is cleaning the same kitchen, picking up the same toys, and wiping up the same spilled toothpaste enough times that you can’t remember what day it is…they are all the same.
Motherhood is waiting until nap time to break out the fancy Trader Joe’s ‘Chocolate Coconut Almonds,’ so I don’t have to share. (I may or may not be writing this while indulging on a few now.)
Motherhood is discipline, and frustration, and “winging it.” Because, no one really knows what they are doing…every kid is different. And there is no manual for parenthood.
Motherhood is hoping and praying that you are not completely messing up your tiny humans.
Motherhood is monotonous. It takes just long enough to see progress that sometimes it seems unattainable.
Yesterday, I was dealing with a child who lately, has been really acting out. Honestly, considering the immense amount of trauma and change she has experienced in the past year and a half, she truly has handled life with bravery and strength. But recently, have I began to see some negative behaviors that worry me. I have tried everything I can think of to help her, and nothing seems to be working.
And then it happened.
That little voice in my head that likes to tell me I’m not good enough started to get louder and louder. I wondered if what I was doing was right or even worth it, as I wasn’t seeing any improvement in my child’s behavior. I started to doubt my abilities, and felt like I was unable to parent my child in the way that she needs the most. I truly have so much anxiety about how losing their Father at such a young age could effect my children negatively in the future.
Honestly, more than anything, I just worried that I could be failing. Failing myself, failing God, and failing my children.
With tears of frustration, I vented to my husband. After he had listened to all of my doubts and worries, he stopped me. He looked me in the eyes, and told me the thing I truly needed to hear most.
He told me that I was a good mother.
He reminded me that my child’s negative behavior doesn’t mean that I am a bad parent. He helped me remember that the only perfect parent is God, and even he had a son that went astray. He reminded me that I have REALLY good kids, but that they are bound to make some choices that aren’t always the best. He reminded me that I am already doing the thing that matters the most…loving them.
And he’s right.
I’m far from being a perfect parent, but I love my kids fiercely.
I love them enough to say no. I love them enough to discipline them, even when it is exhausting. I love them enough to let them fail. I love them enough to hold them in my arms at the end of a difficult day, and to tell them that I love them more than anything. No matter what.
And after our conversation I did just that.
I held the sweet child who no longer fits in my arms. I told her that I loved her, and I watched the hardness instantly melt away from her face. And then, I said a silent prayer of gratitude to God for giving me the children that I have.
They really are my greatest challenge and my hugest reward. They teach me every day, more than I will ever manage to teach them. They will always be my life’s greatest accomplishment.
All I can do is my best. God will make up for my many shortcomings, and for the loss they have experienced. He loves them even more than I do, although it is hard to imagine such a love. He wants them to succeed. He wants to give them every opportunity to make it back to him again.
And he decided to give these particular children to me. Children who would feel immense grief and pain before they were really even old enough to understand their emotions. Children who would need the type of love and parenting that I specifically have to give.
He gave them to me because he wants them back, and I plan on doing everything in my power to make sure that he gets them.
“Motherhood is a choice you make everyday, to put someone else’s happiness and well-being ahead of your own, to teach hard lessons, to do the right thing even when you’re not sure what the right thing is…and to forgive yourself, over and over again for doing everything wrong.” –Donna Ball
Oh how I adore these sweet munchkins. Their older sister was at school while we went to the park today, but I fully intend to make her the next victim of my camera. 🙂