- it ain’t for the faint of heart
- it is often thankless
- it is beautiful (and it is a mess)
- is not the same for everyone – it comes dressed up in different clothes, is achieved through many different methods and definitely doesn’t fit into some mold or come from a cookie cutter
- it is the hardest and best job you’ll ever have (unless your job is giving away someone else’s money to help worthy causes and then it might be a tie)
- it is so many things and is so simple all at once
The list could go on and no doubt, having just passed Mother’s Day, your own ideas and feelings about motherhood are fresh in your mind. Here’s what I’ve been thinking.
a) I don’t always know what I’m doing. It sucks that there is not a how-to manual or a choose-your-own-adventure style manual (e.g., “If your child does XYZ… do ABC if you want them to develop good self-esteem… do CBA if you want them to learn from their mistakes… or do QRS if you would like them to go to therapy as an adult.)
Here’s a secret: no one else knows what they are doing, either. We’re all just taking it on with a wish and a prayer.
b) “Good” parenting is kind of a crap shoot. I have two sons but when I just had one son, I really thought I knew the secret to “good” parenting. He napped when he was supposed to, for as long as he was supposed to; most nights he even fell asleep nursing or taking a bottle, seldom stirring when I placed him carefully in his crib. He ate a fairly well-balanced diet. He didn’t try and get into things and was content not trying to cause trouble. Then we had a second child and we did all the same things with Jack as we did with Liam. Guess what? Jack never once fell asleep BEFORE being placed in his crib. Despite an early showing of a broad palate, he now is one of the pickiest eaters I know. And that kid was born with an insatiable curiosity and ability to figure things out that made all child-proofing efforts laughable (he could lock and unlock the fridge lock for us just days after we put it in place to keep him from stealing food).
Since no two people are the same, guess what, no two children are the same… even when they come from the same two parents and are raised pretty much the same. You can do all the “right” things and still end up with a little hellion child and you can pretty much suck and still end up with a fairly well-adjusted child (not that I recommend the sucking approach – the odds are a little more in your favor if you do put in some effort). So do your job as a parent, the best you can, but remember, worrying over every decision and moment of parenting will not at all ensure success (it will, however, make you an anxious wreck).
c) God made ME my kids’ parent. I have a confession, Trace Adkins made me tear up this weekend. I’m as shocked as you might be, because Trace Adkins isn’t really known for his heart-string pulling characteristics. But I went to see Mom’s Night Out (thanks to my friend, Melody, at grkids.com) and I cannot recommend the movie more to any parent out there that is currently in the trenches – I have not genuinely laughed to much at a movie in AGES, plus it had the best message delivered by the cute star and, yes, Trace Adkins, that made me get choked up. The main character is at the end of her line and her wits, feeling like she screws everything up and that she is an unfit parent and Trace Adkin’s character, a tattoo-artist biker, basically tells her that she is the perfect parent for her children because God made her their mom and that she is enough. Truth.
I am my kids’ mom for a reason – God made it so. If ever I question what I am doing, how I am doing or how in the freaking world I am going to make it through, I need to remember that I am enough. I have it in me to make the right choices for myself and for my family.
When it comes to motherhood… or pretty much when it comes to life in general, if we set our sights on God first, the rest will line up. Again, it doesn’t make it easy, but it should lighten the load. We’ve got this because He’s got this.