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.