So. I'm a woman. With that illustrious title, comes so many important roles....daughter, sister, friend, co-parent, social worker, civic club member. But, the role that defines me most in this season is MOTHER. For many women, this role is one that is hoped for, dreamed about, and worked toward with every action we take. Oh, the magic of bringing life into this world through the vessel that God has given you to abide in on this side of Heaven. The joy of making memories, raising a person who will be a difference maker in this world, and having someone who will love you unconditionally no matter what. Yes, it's literally the stuff that fairy tales are made of....Motherhood. What they don't tell you is that in return for such a precious gift, you will be eternally exhausted. LOL.
Now, don't get me wrong, I would not trade my girls for anything. Our story is admittedly less than a perfect one, but those two beauties mean literally everything to me. I can't imagine life without them, nor remember it before them. But, being a mother is single-handily the most daunting and tiring thing I have ever done. As a single mother who maintains a career and still finds the means and ways to cater to almost every whim of my two girls, I get so many compliments and pats on the back. People often tell me that they do not know how I do it all. But, my reality is that I am tired. Right now my daughters are 14 and 4....two of the most difficult ages to rear, in my humble opinion. They are both in stages of development where they are trying to figure out who they are aside from mom, so there is a constant tug of war from both sides. There are days when one likes me and the other is disgusted by me. There are days when I know exactly what to expect from them and there are days when I think Hiroshima just went off in my head and heart because of their behaviors. As mom, I get so overwhelmed with it all. I mean people don't often take into account that this motherhood thing is not simply teaching them how to be viable people. It is also taking on the emotional baggage, the roller coasters of moods, the blame when things go wrong, and the agony when life disappoints them. Combine that with the weight of those other roles I mentioned, plus just being a person, and it's no wonder some women just give up. Sheesh! Plus with that exhaustion I mentioned, comes a shortage of patience and an aptitude to fly off the handle.
But, then there are those moments when I take a small step back to look at the big picture and I realize what absolutely beautiful treasures I have been blessed with. I mean how amazing is it that despite myself, God trusted me not once, but twice to take care of his precious angels? At that point, I have to remind myself of a few things to make sure that I keep it all in perspective.
1. Children are human too. Just like we adults are full of emotions, thoughts, desires, fears, hopes, and dreams, they are too. The way we react to them can either hinder them or help them to grow into their fullest potential. I have to allow them the space to be human.
2. Children make mistakes. My oldest said to me once when we were going through a tough spell "I'm afraid to mess up. I feel like you think I am supposed to be perfect, but I'm not, Momma. I mess up too." Whew...talk about a hit to the gut! They will make mistakes just like everyone else. I have to give them the space to make mistakes and to know that I will always be in their corner no matter what.
3. My exhaustion is not their faul
I must admit, I do the absolute most when it comes to my girls. LOL. I'm that mom that wants them to be so well rounded that they will bounce if I drop them. I'm the mom who posts pictures constantly, who brags on their accomplishments, and who will go to almost any lengths to make sure they take advantage of every opportunity. But, even if I could only give them the basic needs, they would be fine. I set those expectations of myself. I am the reason that I am exhausted...not them. If I am choosing to be this so called "super mom", then I also have to keep myself in check and not allow them to become the recipients of my bad moods due to exhaustion.
4. Our children are only on loan. It's the truth. They do not belong to us...they are only on loan. They belong to God and we are given the pleasure of borrowing them just for a little while. At some point, all too soon in my opinion, they will leave us. They will step out into that world on their own and that's it. As melancholy as it seems, isn't that the whole point?? So, I have to soak it in while I have them. I have to be present. I have to or I will miss it.
5. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8........So often, I have looked at this verse and thought of the kind of love I seek when I think of loving my future husband. But, love is love and I have to remember to give my girls the type of love that the Bible calls me to give...period. Patient, kind, forgiving, not easily angered.
So, yes, I am thoroughly exhausted most days. But, you know what, we are happy.....and I wouldn't trade it for anything. I love being a mother. And my hope is that the mothers out there reading this (current and future) find the strength to love it too.
2020 Goal #4: Be gentler with my girls....give them the same grace that I expect.