My oldest son is turning eleven in just a very few short days. It crept up on me. Those eleven years. When he was little and I chased him and his brother, all day long, twenty-four hours felt like eleven years. Once he started school, those years felt eleven minutes long!
As he’s now becoming a tween and manhood is just around the corner, I find myself pondering some things. One being; just how HARD motherhood is. NO ONE tells you this until after the fact. After having my firstborn, I received cards telling me how hard this job is. I wondered why no one had bothered to mention that before! If I hear people say being a parent is easy-peasy, I wonder if they are delusional. Or else they are from another planet. Or maybe I am.
Motherhood is not short on teaching lessons – for the mom mostly. For me.
These are some of the things I’ve learned from being a mother:
1. I am not perfect. I can never achieve this goal even though I really, really want to. I thought, imperfection means dire consequences for my kids, right? But that didn’t stop me from failing, utterly, as a parent. What I am learning is my imperfection doesn’t mean I’ll screw up my kids. Probably perfectionism would. Instead I’m learning it’s ok to make mistakes. If I mess up and I will, I go and apologize to them. Talk to them. This is better than them having a perfect mom. The message I’m sending them is it’s ok to make mistakes. Own them. Learn from them. We all become a little more human. It also makes all of us realize just how much we need Jesus. The quest for perfectionism voids that need.
2. I am not in control. How I would like to be! How I have tried to control and not in very good ways. Yelling isn’t going to get my kids to do what I want them to. Manipulating isn’t. They have free will and part of my job is to let them go so they can learn to make decisions for themselves. So they can gain wisdom. This is so much harder to do as they get older I’m realizing. There is a lot of bad stuff out there. There is also much good. I want them to know the difference. I want my guys to be able to make good choices for their lives. To know how to handle responsibility. To have fun. To be healthy. Maybe even decide to eat a vegetable or two! If I control they will never learn. I will be robbing them of this very important life skill. Besides I can barely control my own life, why would I think I could control two more? (It’s called pride. Need to work on that.)
3. God gives us good gifts. I look at these two boys and I think, “Where on earth did you come from?” They continually surprise me! I’ll hear them talking and think, “How did you come up with that?” Or they use their manners!!!! They are kind to someone. I should not be surprised by these things. We do try to teach them here at home but like I said before, we aren’t perfect. I guess I’m thrilled that some of it sticks! Because sometimes when they get in trouble well, let’s just say I wonder.
4. I am not alone. Moms were not meant to be alone, I am positive of this one thing. When my kids were very tiny, I was involved in a mom group. Once a week I got my sanity back as I sat and talked with other moms. I learned tons of stuff as we shared our experiences. I made some friends. I learned I wasn’t crazy. Traveling the road of parenting with others is so important. At times we really do feel all alone. Children are bewildering at times, scary at others and joyful mostly. We need to share our experiences. Even if there isn’t anyone right available we always have our heavenly Dad who is just a breath away. He didn’t just send children our way and then run away. He walks with us every day whether we acknowledge Him or not. It gives me much comfort to know that he loves my two boys more than I do. He loves me too and is looking out for me as a mom too. And when I need to hold someone’s hand, His is always available.
He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young. Isaiah 40:11 NLT