When I was first asked to contribute to this blog, I consulted with the woman who had started this entire project. It’s her desire to create a place where moms from all walks of life and in all stages of motherhood can come together for support, advice and friendship.
She asked me what my passion was; what area of motherhood spoke to me when it came to writing. Some of the writers focus on parenting adopted children and foster care. Others missions and homeschooling. I thought about it for a moment. And I really couldn’t come up with an answer. Days passed and I finally came to the conclusion that my focus isn’t as profound or noble as some mothers. My primary goal as a mother is SURVIVAL!
As the busy, 42-year-old mother of two boys – one entering the fourth grade and one on the brink of starting junior high – it’s a good day when we all make it out alive.
When my children were first born, I did all the things good, Christian mothers are supposed to do. I scheduled regular naps and bedtimes. I prayed with my little ones before meals. We read Bible stories, had playdates and helped out at church. Sure, there were bumps in the road, and I imposed the typical time outs and hand swats to correct my boys and set them on the path to becoming honorable Christian men.
But somewhere along the way, a change began to happen. They began to walk, talk and have minds of their own. My boys started to expand their vocabulary. It became a bit more “colorful.” They embraced their strength and realized words weren’t always the best way to express themselves, but a nice knee to the “nether regions” conveyed some messages quite nicely. They’re favorite past-time evolved from coloring and Legos to vying for a championship title in the art of annoying people. The volume level in the house went from loud to LOUDER, and super glue and air freshener are household staples.
After my kids were born, I came to the realization that being a parent of a newborn is tremendously harder than I ever thought it would be. Looking back, I now realize that the infant years were, in fact, still the easiest stage of parenthood. Sure there were sleepless nights and diaper explosions, but all I had to do was make sure my babies were breathing. Now I worry about their futures in this cutthroat and increasingly cruel and wicked world we live in, and I pray they won’t turn away from Jesus and their Christian faith. But their well-being is no longer completely under my control. They have choices. And my skills as a parent are greatly stunted by my sinful human nature.
More often than not, I am overwhelmed as a mother and even feel like a failure as a parent. I see all the Facebook posts and tweets from super moms with perfect children and wonder how their experience can be so different.
Are they really raising the selfless, genius, award-winning, humanitarian, on-fire Christian tweens and teens their social media posts boast of? Are they really always patient, soft spoken and overflowing with wisdom when their kids challenge them? Because I’m not! What am I doing wrong? I would gander that maybe not all is as it seems. But then again, maybe I’m wrong.
I yell, cry and want to pull my hair out at least once a week! I covet the moments when I can escape to the bathroom for a few minutes of peace and quiet. When I tell my kids to do their chores, I might as well be talking to myself. When I order them to go to their rooms for disobedient behavior, I often wonder if I’m invisible. My kids have even uttered those three little words: “I hate you,” and I have threatened to run away on more than one occasion.
I wish I could say I was going to wrap up this post in a neat and tidy package filled with Godly advice and answers. But I’m not. I can’t. I don’t know how. But if you’re like me, I can tell you you’re not alone.
You’re not the only one. I know what it’s like to be an imperfect parent with imperfect kids.
Still amidst the chaos and circus-like atmosphere we call home, I’m certain I’m doing one thing right. I truly love my kids and I have known no greater joy than that of being a mother. My love for them is sincerely unconditional, I’m filled with compassion for their hurts and my forgiveness knows no bounds . . . even when their acting like little big stinkers!
What a beautiful picture this dysfunctional family mess creates, though. If I can genuinely love my children like that when they act like that just bask in the knowledge of how much more God loves us . . . even when we’re being little big stinkers. Matthew 7:11 says, “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
If we just do our best to love God and love others, we will survive! And our ending will be more than happy. It will be glorious!