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I am a Mother (and I love it some days)

May 13, 2014

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Mother’s Day came and went this year, much like other Mother’s Day.  We did the family camping trip and had my mother-in-law over for supper.  I took the tent (from camping) down all by myself for the first time ever.  I made an apologetic call to my mom to let her know that the card wasn’t in the mail, but I loved her and I still want to be like her when I grow up.  I tried to persuade my family to take a family picture (see above).  We hung by the neighborhood swimming pool for hours–I watched John and Madeleine play and played with Isaac.  It was a lovely, mostly ordinary day.

I started thinking on Sunday how thankful I am to do this mothering thing.  For all my ordinary struggles and all the incredibly hard times when I want to pull out my hair because I just don’t know how to guide these incredible little humans with very human problems, I still enjoy being a mom.  Today, instead of writing about my struggles with loving on those children well, all the stinking time, I am acknowledging there are beautiful, wonderful times.

Humans are a bit competitive.  We’ve taken it to new levels–the badge of honor is how busy you are.  Who can be the busiest?  Who can juggle the most?  Whose job of mothering is the hardest?  (I read a gentle post on showing grace to all mothers last week from Micha Boyett).  I fall as guilty to this everyone else—my job of mothering is the hardest because _________________________ (fill in the blank here).  Sometimes, it’s good to take a step back and realize exactly how good I have it.

Today, is a thankful day.   How do I love being a mom?  Let me count the ways….(because by this afternoon, I may be complaining again).
1.  I love being stretched and pulled.  While I am not saying this literally (although I could sometimes), it occurs frequently.  Parenting has challenged some of my most human traits–namely pride and thinking I may be in control.  Over and over I have been reminded I don’t know it all and I can’t control all that much.  It’s humbling to have a stranger up to you to inform you about something your kid is doing wrong.  It’s not all that fun.   However, for the most part, after the shame wears off, I am thankful for the reminder to watch more carefully and to not think too highly of myself.  The control part?  Have you met my children?  Have you lived life?  As much as I want to protect my children from everything hard, I can’t and shouldn’t.  I am thankful that children make it impossible for me to control things (because I can be controlled with myself).

2.  I love hugs and snuggles.  I love Isaac’s morning throat clearing sounds and his giggles when he plays a trick on someone.  I love his gentle kisses when he thinks I am sad.  I love laying in bed with Madeleine at night, talking with her, and saying our Celtic evening prayers together.  I love John’s laughter when he begs to be tickled.  I love the words he rights in my cards and the sheepish looks he has when he shares his most vulnerable feelings with me.  I love children in my bed on nights when there are big thunderstorms.  I love John’s running jump hugs.  I love Isaac’s morning hugs.  I love Madeleine’s head buried in my stomach/chest when she hugs me.

3.  I love my routine and schedule.  As much as running my kids places wears me out, I love being able to do it.  I love the schedule of laundry on Monday, gymnastics/swimming and piano lessons on Tuesday, exercise just for me on Wednesday, speech on Thursdays, grocery story Thursday or Friday.  I love starting bedtime and ending bedtime around the same times.  I love debating with Curtis about who gets to read to John every night (because we both want to!).  I love coffee in the mornings and my water cup throughout the day.  I love the days I can sit on my back porch and pray and read.  I love homework time and piano practice time after school.  I love the days we can bike places, either to school or swim practice.  I generally I have found my balance between quiet and busy, away from home and at home.  While I am really looking forward to some routines being over for a while (like making lunches and setting an alarm clock), I am thankful I have them when I need them.  I am thankful for my breakfast after the kids get to school

4.  I love the priorities and values Curtis and I have set for our family.  While sometimes we struggle with the fun things such as budgeting and how clean our house is, I love that we are mostly on the same page on what is important for our family.  I love how we have agreed to do without some things (such as someone to do my cleaning for me) in exchange for for having other things–like me not working.  I am thankful I am not working and I have utmost respect for every woman who balances a job and raising children.  When I am being honest, I am thankful we have this option.  I know at some point the decision to stay home will switch to being the decision to work.  For now, I am thankful we are doing things like we are.  On occasion, I wonder if I am crazy to have given up on my teaching career for awhile, right when I was really developing my craft.  I think it would have been better for me to continue to teach (and not take a break for these sweet children) when I start writing resumes and doing interviews or when teachers treat me like I am clueless because I am not a teacher right now.  I know though, this is what is best for our family.  I love what the choice has given us as a family.

5.  I love the models who have been in my life to teach me how to mother.  I am thankful for my own mother, whose example I strive to be more like.  I am thankful for both my grandmothers, who had their own strengths and weaknesses.  I am thankful for the grandmother who taught me take risks and put myself out there.  I am thankful that she taught me to be an adventurous homemaker (I know, I don’t love that word, but I have a hard time coming up with an accurate substitute)–become good at what your gifts are–cooking, teaching, and creating.  I am thankful for both grandmothers who taught me generous hospitality–whose examples I am still trying to become more like.  I am thankful for the other grandma who taught me to stand up for the least of these in our work, the students from the “harder” schools or place to buy things for less.

I know I am bordering on the saccharine sweet.  So often, I talk of how I am failing.  In honor of Mother’s Day, I thought it important to share how thankful I am to be a mom and recognize all the gifts I have been given.  God is so good.  God’s mercy endures forever.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Kate permalink
    May 13, 2014 9:43 am

    Lovely. I am thankful you shared your thanks. Great reminders of the everyday wonders of being a mom.

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