I remember watching my Mom when I was kid thinking she had the best and easiest job in the world. She got to decide what we bought at the grocery store, planned whatever dinners she wanted, chose what we got to wear, where we went, how we got there. She could play games when she wanted, take us to the park when she felt like it and the ice cream bucket control was in her bag too! Nobody told her what to do, nobody spanked her, grounded her, or made her be nice to her brother. She had two kids who “did” the housework and cleared the table and loaded the dishwasher. From the outside it was a pretty cushy looking job, ya know?
Many times I walk around arms crossed, ‘Tude in hand thinking how I couldn’t wait until it was my turn to “Be the Mom”…
That turn arrived almost 7 (what?! 7???) years ago and it came with a rude awakening. Apparently being “The Mom” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be from the outside. This gig is awesome and totally HARD!
All the ideals I had about her “freedoms” have been exchanged with the hard reality of what responsibilities they really were. My grocery shopping & meal planning is this never ending cycle of ingredient reading while to keep it fun, fresh and healthy. I can see now where all the fun things we did together weren’t as easy as just getting up and going. They took her hours of planning, preparing and thought which makes me that much more thankful for all she did for us, and gives me insight to those times she had to say “no”. Sometimes it’s simply the memories of those fun times that forces me to carve out more time in my own busy schedule for our girls.
The housework & dishes help wasn’t her way of getting a break but her way of training us to go out into the world. There were times I’m sure she would have probably preferred to just do it herself so the job got done in a timely fashion, but instead she suffered through endless lessons. Those times we were sent back to vacuum the stairs 4 times wasn’t her way of becoming the Hitler of Housework but of teaching me to do it right, so when I became me now, my house would actually be clean.
She didn’t have all the answers then any more than I did (though 16 year old me was pretty sure she was exponentially smarter than her parents….) then or do now. She was doing her best to raise us right, to teach us to be the people God called us to be and trying to survive along the way.
Now that I’m walking my own road of motherhood, I can see what it’s really like and sometimes it leaves me completely exhausted.
We are dealing with a lot of attitude these days and there are times, at best where I’m at a loss for words. (Yes, me. With no words. It can happen!) Bethany and Audrey are great girls but in those moments when they decide to “test the waters” with a ‘Tude my own attitude and temper can bubble to surface. Often in ways that I don’t like. Some days I manage to take a breath and swallow them down while others result in me blowing my top in a bad way.
We’ve had a few of those blow up days these past few weeks and they leave me feeling like a failure. I hate those days, I hate me in those moments.
When I think of who I want to be as a mother, I think of kind, patient gentle and loving. I imagine being able to raise them to be honest, confident, strong and well mannered women who are ready to face all that God has planned for their lives. I have visions of perfections and realities of failures and sometimes I wonder if we’re ever going to get there.
Then we go out for lunch and they ask if they can “pay the lady with our own money” and sit at the table with the bill and their coins counting out what they can. Or they fling themselves into my arms for one more hug before bed. Or come to me, tears in eyes with an apology and admission for doing something they knew they shouldn’t have before I’ve discovered the evidence and my heart softens.
I’m not doing this mothering thing “right’ all of the time, some days it feels like I’m not doing it right even half of the time but I’m trying. This may be the hardest job in the entire world but it comes with the greatest of pay cheques and a pretty incredible benefit package, they make it all worth it in the end.
How are you handling this parenting gig? Are you facing the fear of failure like me or have you got it all under control?