Sunday, August 19, 2012

motherhood for me... right in this moment...

let me preface this post by saying i just got back from camping for 5 days...
3 of those were spent alone with my 3 kids and with another friend and her 3 kids.
8 of us in a confined, small space.
don't get me wrong... there were some awesome, awesome times.
but i'm tired... i'm spent.
i'm feeling sorta like a failure at motherhood lately.
let me get this straight...
i'm really good at putting on an act.
i'm really good at pretending i have it all together.
when, in reality, that's the furthest thing from the truth.
i worry that my kids are going to grow up and be menaces to society.
i worry that they're the kids that every mom at the playground/school/playgroup is talking about.
i worry that they will grow up being spoiled and won't know how to work hard.
i feel i'm too strict when my kids are crying and yelling at me about something.
i feel i'm too lenient when my kids are crying and yelling at me about something.
i know, that doesn't make much sense.
but in my mind, it does.
i feel like all i ever do is yell at them.
and when i'm doing it i know it's wrong...
but my patience is so thin with them.
can i love them well?
right now... well, i don't think so.
confession... as i was driving home alone from the lake tonight (big m was driving with our kids in the pilot hauling the camper... i was driving the pick-up truck with our bikes and other stuff),
i had visions of me driving off the road and crashing.
and i thought to myself, "hmmm... i think my kids will be ok. in fact, maybe they're better off without me."
pathetic, i know.
don't go thinking that i'm gonna do something stupid... i won't.
i just feel like my job at mothering my children isn't going so hot right now.
i'm sure if my kids could fire me, they would.
it's tough when i feel like i'm always the main disciplinarian in the house because i'm always with them.
they don't get "fun" mommy.
they always get "brush your teeth already", "clean up your clothes", "stop bugging your sister" mommy.
i'm just a little confused on how to remedy the situation.
maybe it's just summer break...
they're home a.l.l. t.h.e. t.i.m.e.
i'm with them a.l.l. t.h.e. t.i.m.e.
i guess what i'm wishing is that it'll get better.
that there'll be little nuggets of goodness that i can see coming out of my kids at some point.
to show me that i must be doing something right.
as of now, i'm not seeing it.
that, or i'm not looking hard enough.
and that's why i feel like i'm failing.
it's such a hard job.
i don't think i'll ever feel like i'm doing a good enough job.
the guilt can be all consuming.
will my kids look back on their childhood and see a ragged, mean mom that's upset all the time?
i sure hope not.
but i guess that's up to me.
maybe i have to stop pretending that i have it all together?
or stop trying to have it all together.
i don't know what that even means, to tell you the truth.
only that this is my thought process at this moment in time.
some people would say that this kind of stuff shouldn't be written down.
but if i'm trying to capture my life, this is the truth.
and this is real struggle.
and sometimes, it just feels really good to write things out.
the good... and the bad.
what i am learning is that i'm the one that needs to change... not my kids.
i need to show them how to love well.
how to be a good person.
how to have patience with others.
and how to love and live for Jesus.
and i'll keep going forward because i know this much is true...
i have a Father in heaven that loves me...
through the good... and through the bad.
and that, my friends, is what keeps me going.

"But I'm not abandoned. The Father is with me.  I've told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakeable and assured, deeply at peace.  In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties.  But take heart!  I've conquered the world."
John 16:32-33 (MSG)

(i realize these are "happy" photos and don't really fit with the nature of this post... but i wanted to share them anyway.)


Marsalie said...

Oh Steph, after a hard evening alone with my kids where I completely lost my cool, I can totally relate. I love that you are so honest. It makes me feel like I am not alone! Being a mom is the hardest, yet most rewarding job ever....and I always feel like I am "ruining" my kids. Thank goodness their futures aren't totally in our hands, but that God has a plan for each of them.

Dana said...

I think all of us mothers feel this way. I know I totally and completely feel this way!!! I get so tired of being the one that is tough and 'mean' and when daddy comes home he gets all the smiles and fun times. I don't know how to rectify this situation, how to change things to feel more content, more rewarded, more ok with the situation. I want to be the happy mom that is there for her kids and is a positive anchor in their life. Hang in there, it has to get better...right? - Dana -

Emma said...

Thank you for being so raw and honest. We'd all be lying if we said we can't relate to these thoughts/feelings. I can tell by looking at these pictures and many others that you post that your girls love you to the moon and back.

I have this prayer taped to my micorwave and read it multiple times throughout the day...

Dear Lord ~

Being a mom is a great privilege but one that can be so challenging at times. Teach me how to lean on you with every action and every reaction. And when I mess up, please help me to not define myself by my mommy failures. Help me to only be defined by your love that assures me and your grace that covers me.

In Jesus Name,

I hope it helps you as much as it helps me! <3

ginger said...

Oh man, this post nearly brought me to tears. Very well written Steph, and so many of your thoughts are my thoughts too. Being a mom is a full-time, HARD job! But no matter how you feel, or how much you think you have failed, I think you are a GREAT mom! Your girls love you tons and I know that and see it too! But today of all days I understand your post cause I had a horrid day too. So I feel along with you:) But I love you tons!

bandofbrothers said...

the fact that you're even writing about it shows you care. the fact that you struggle means you care and are trying. some days are a fight to the finish. when i'm tempted to yell at my kids, i just remember that their smallness is fleeting and soon they will be off on their own..sniff. ok. that might not help everyone.

when i was at the height of my yelling phase with the boys, i was driving and speaker Ginger Plowman came on saying something like "do you have to turn into the incredible hulk for your kids to listen to you? does your neck have to twitch and your eyes bulge out of your head and THEN and only then do your kids notice you?"

Yep. But she wrote how to talk really quiet and that is how they will listen. They tune out our yelling until its really loud and then they will listen...Love her book Don't Make me Count to Three! Sorry if I gave unwanted advice!