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Monday, May 04, 2009

Mama Mia

Sometimes I really hate being a mom.

I don't mean that I hate being a mom, because I love it with all my heart. But when my heart feels like it is cracking and blistering and I'm supposed to be the mama who knows how to make it all better.... well sometimes I just hate that because I'm just a person. I've got my own owies and questions and places that could use a band-aid and a kiss. I could use a hand on my forehead at night and a prayer for the power of a loving God to flow through me. (I could also use a personal house-cleaner and laundress, but I digress.)

When my daughter worries about her friendsandtheirparentsandtheendoftheworldandifshe'llsleepthatnightandwillthefloodcome?andtestsandbrothersandherdadandwhethereveryoneinthewholeworldwillbehappyandokay...

I wish there were something that I could do or say that would settle her fluttering heart.

When the athlete-jocks at school tell my sweet and tender boy that they hope he just can't make it to the soccer game; I want to make everyone play nice. I want to show my boy a picture of his beautiful heart, and how vital it is for all the meaningful relationships he'll have in this lifetime. How soccer moves and swift kicks won't make him any more loving or kind or good. I want the world to stop looking at the outside, to stop valueing tough and smart; quick and independent.

Sometimes I just hate being a mom.
I hate that I won't teach them everything they need to know. Won't give them a perfect picture of a loving Father God. Hate that I get snappy and impatient- seeing them as extensions of ME instead of the beautiful separate entities that they are. I hate knowing that I'm going to hurt them, let them down, bruise their hearts. At times I'll expect too little. Set the bar too low.

But I will nurture my children.
I will value relationship over performance.
And they will break my heart.
I will break theirs.
And I hate that.

When my first daughter was little, I just wanted to be like Mother Bear on the television story "Little Bear". She was so patient and kind and never over-tired. She didn't overreact. She knew what lessons to teach; and which could wait. She was child-centred without raising a spoilt little emporer child. She laughed softly. Planned picnics. Baked cakes.

Well, my mother bear does come out- but not in that warm and cuddley, cartoon character kind of way. More like the ferocious bear who wants to give my childrens' friends a piece of her mind when they are being hurtful. More like feeling that I am capable of killing something with a single growl and sharp-clawed swipe. More like.... I'd like to find a nice dark cave and wake up when it's warmer and sunnier and life feels more optimistic.

Being a mom isn't all that romantic. It brings you in touch with your most base nature. Your shortcomings and hang-ups and wanna-be's. Plus you're not so old that you don't remember how it feels to be fourteen. thirteen. eleven. (six?) Their realities are just as valid and worthy of understanding and respect as your own. Which requires some maturity. And patience. And a lot of deep breathing.

So, sometimes I just hate being a mommy because I love it with everything that I am, and little else is as important to me as sending these people out into their lives with a sound and healthy, responsible and loving response to their environments. All these human beings; born of my womb- a skin and blood part of me, and not me at all.

(May the God of love move in and through me.
May I depend on that power and not on my own.
May our hearts always remain soft- and may we forgive ourselves and others.)

I've been told that the opposite of love is not hate but apathy.
As a mother I know for sure that I am not apathetic........


Sometimes I really love being a mommy.
When my kids tell me stuff that happens at school.
When my boy draws a hilarious cartoon.
When he tells me he loves me before he leaves for school.
When my daughter admits that her friends thinks she has a "cool mom".
When we all share a belly laugh.
When someone cleans up without being told.
When we apologize.
When all four giggle together despite themselves.
When we discuss anything.
When we sit at the fire.
When my daughter slips in beside me at church on Sundays.
When I observe them in their social contexts, and see what lovely people they are becoming.

There isn't a book in the world that could prepare a woman for what happens to her heart when it splits into one, two, three, four or more pieces; grow legs, and then walk around outside of her body.

The most marvellously wonderful frightening exhilerating frustrating rewarding experience she could never possibly imagine.

How I love it and hate it.


Roo said...

me 2.
hate and love.
when i was single -- everything was so uncomplicated. life, decisions....etc.

but then, i fell in love and when things crush HIM, they also crush me and then we had 2 little ones and when things hurt them, they also hurt me.

at times, i feel like i'm standing in the middle of a battle ground with broken and wounded laying all around me. and feeling kinda paralyzed by it all myself.

i don't have any regrets....i guess i'm just discovering my heart in a whole new way. :)

Anonymous said...

Children truly are God's gift. You are exactly the mother they were meant to have! Life is, was, never will be easy. When children have a loving home, a family where they feel safe & understood, where they are taught responsibility & resilience by example, they are able to not only successfully mature but flourish!
They truly are your gift to the world! G.W.

Anonymous said...

Ah yes our baby just flew the coup yesterdayand the nest fells strangely empty...I'd poured so much into this one, you know what I mean, cousin.

Brenda Funk said...

Amen and amen!! All of the feelings you describe so well over-whelmed me when I held my firstborn and knew that life would never be the same, no matter how I would try I would not be able to protect him from life. But still we try, and God's love and grace do flow through us from time to time. Keep at it! Brenda Funk

Heather Plett said...

Right there with you.

Becky said...

Wow...we must have been on the same page this morning...I was writing about my journey as a mom too. I read an awesome post on this morning that really touched me ...check it out if you have a chance!

Leanne said...


Rosa said...

So well put so very much my feelings as of late. Perhaps not so hopefilled as you but inspirational and something to strive for. Just yesterday I heard. Mom you have no idea what it feels like to be thirteen. Perhaps I have forgotten but I do know how it feels to be confused. Loved the post Joyce. I miss you. Love Rosa.

Judy said...

LOVE this post.

So much truth.

I hear you.

Karla said...

Random thoughts on your mommyhood:

-you're raising kids full of compassion
-you make them laugh out loud
-you let them do silly and wierd things
-they are so creative just like their momma and dad
-you give them permission to think and feel and ask questions
-they know you love them

All of this plus those four beauties equal kids who WILL be equipped to navigate the crap that life hands them.

Oh, and they're really cute and beautiful too... Just like their momma and dad

Bonny said...

Oh Joyce, I know exactly how you feel. It's so hard to see things that happen to your children and then decide how to react appropriately. So often the growly Mother Bear appears at our house too.

Anonymous said...

Beautifully said, Joyce. God go with you -- oh yes, He is IN you. Scwester Mary

coffeeloves said...

i understand the hate that you write of, in terms of being a mom.
sometimes the things my child tells me are too difficult to bear and carry.
I worry about what life will be like for him in the future, if things things are this bad now.
i worry that he will stop telling me his feelings.
i worry that others will crush his spirit.
i worry that i will crush his spirit.
i sometimes wonder why i wanted to have children.
The days that i feel the weight of everything on me.

Bags4Darfur said...

you've all given so much here... And I so appreciate it.

Many more thoughts on this nearly eve of Mother's Day.

Hope all of yours is happy.

Anonymous said...

Great post Joyce....L-lew

svea said...

joyce waht a lovely heart touching post You are a wonderful mother and I pray you are able to recieve affirmation today from your sweet babes each in their own way. You are special ... very special

Anonymous said...

Just today I read your 'mom posts' and they are beautifully i seem to have a puddle on my cheeks...
Angie F