On the heels of Mother’s Day, I have been reflecting on my journey as a mother. Before I had children I thought I knew what sort of mother I would be. There was no question that I’d do everything exactly right, using both book knowledge and God-given intuition to raise perfect little angels.
Then I gave birth.
Most of us who’ve traveled down the motherhood road would agree that it’s the hardest job there is. The confident and easy decisions are few compared to the mountain of “I’m not sure” moments which leave you questioning both your abilities and the likelihood your offspring might end up on an episode of “Intervention” talking about where the dysfunction began.
I haven’t been a perfect mom, this I know for certain. But, I’ve been me and that means my kids get a little bad with hopefully a lot of good. I will not bore you with ALL my thoughts on the subject, but I wanted to share a few points about how hopefully the bad isn’t so bad and the good is really great.
On one hand….
I did not avoid soft cheeses and diet coke when you were in my tummy. I had faith that my vices wouldn’t lead to the growth of a third hand…..and I sure am glad I was right.
I did not boil the binky every time you dropped it. It would have been your lucky day if I even ran it under the faucet or wiped it off with my own shirt.
I did not nurse you for one year, but barely made it a couple of months. I will admit I’ve never felt more like a failure than the day I called it quits. In other news, you did not care one way or another.
I did not choose to forgo a career to stay at home with you full time. I struggle with this daily, but I’m also proud of my accomplishments at work AND at home.
I did not possess the ability to shield you from an assortment of bumps, bruises and, in Nolan’s case, stitches…..twice.
I did not always exercise self-control, use my “inside” voice the way I constantly tell you to do, or give you the benefit of the doubt when you said a ghost was responsible for the marker on the wall….and your hands. And, from the day you learned to talk, you’ve never stopped pointing out my “mean mommy” moments, some of which really were mean mommy moments.
I did not keep high fructose corn syrup out of your diet and feed you only organic and homemade baby food. In fact I think you both might have an actual addiction to soda for which I compensate by giving you Coke Zero. I know, I know, you don’t have to tell me what’s wrong with this picture.
But on the other hand….
I DID say a prayer for you every day you were growing in my tummy…..and I’ve said one every day since.
I DID watch in awe as you took your first breath outside the womb and vow to cherish your every breath.
I DID rock you, sing to you and caress your soft skin at 2:00 a.m. when both of us should have been fast asleep.
I DID cry as much as you did on the day of your first vaccinations. Who are we kidding; I probably cried more than you did.
I DID let every one of my meals grow cold while I fed you sweet potatoes, complete with the accompaniment of silly songs and requisite airplane noises.
I DID give myself recurring back problems hunching over and walking you around every square foot of our home for months as you slowly gained the confidence to take off on your own.
I DID rush in to give kisses and reassurances when you got a boo boo, whether it was to your body or to your heart.
I DID shed innumerable tears over most all of the DIDN’Ts listed above and hoped you would not be negatively affected by a single choice I made.
And as I go forward….
I WILL remember that every “no” or disciplinary action, while hard on both of us, is laying the groundwork for you to become the adult I want you to be.
I WILL cook for you and provide you with healthy food options so that you will develop good habits for the future…..but I will also let you be kids and that means an occasional pizza or hamburger feast! (And Coke Zero!)
I WILL continue to teach you about respect and kindness….and punish you when you don’t live up to my expectations in this regard.
I WILL be proud of you, whether you’re the best at something or the worst, as long as you are giving it your all and respecting yourself and others in the process.
I WILL go through your things and confront you about anything I don’t like because I know more than you do about what’s good for you. I know you won’t believe that, but that won’t change the way I parent.
I WILL continue to put God first for the benefit of our family, loving Him with all my heart and daily praying for the wisdom and guidance to be an example for you to follow.
Regardless of what I do right or wrong, I am confident my kids will never doubt my ability to hug tightly, forgive easily, hold firmly to a whole bunch of non-negotiables and be humble enough to admit my mistakes.
What are your DIDs and DIDN’Ts?