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Posts Tagged ‘Being Mom’

Crying it Out

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“Mom, did you let any of us cry it out when we were young?”

There it was, a child to parent question, that can zip my lips faster than crazy glue.

It’s not the only one. There is also,

  • “did you have drug-free childbirth?”
  • “did you breastfeed all of your babies until they were one year (or two, or six)?
  • “how do you feel about circumcision?”
  • “did your kids watch TV as preschoolers?”
  • “did you get your kids immunized?”

My daughter’s question was a fair one, a reasonable one, after all she is a Psychology student, and numerous psychological theories deal with issues of nurture and attachment. But, I was not ready to talk about such theories … I am still, and may always, be living the motherly existence of being chased down by momma guilt.

Momma guilt is a most powerful, dark and destructive force. It can erase the ten good things a mother does with one newspaper article, one crime drama, one conversation with a mom who ‘did it all right’ and is currently wearing the coveted mother-of-the-year crown on her perfectly coiffed hair.

I wrote about Momma Guilt a couple of years ago, especially in regard to those perfect TV moms, that so many of us grew up with.

But, the TV moms of the past have been replaced by the scientific study, or the psychological theory about development and attachment (or the mom next door), and they are so convincing with their charts, their studies and their scientific process.

But what they tell us (and I still keep needing to remind myself) is what they know from their studies, their theories and their observations … today. The results tomorrow might just be different, they might point us to a very different direction.

They are also only telling us one side of the child nurture and rearing process … that of the child, not taking other circumstances into account, such as physical or mental health of the mother, familial circumstances and support (including the role of the daddy), family or cultural history.

The difficulty with being a mom is that no matter what investment we make into the lives of our children, we will indeed make mistakes, and some of them will be whoppers! We will say things, do things and make decisions that will result life-long effects in how our children see themselves, others and their place in this world. We will hurt them, we will make decisions that leave them deficit in areas, we will over-do things that will leave them ‘damaged.’

And, if that is all we consider about our roles as mothers, we will have enough momma guilt to carry our bodies six feet down.

But …

we do what we do, as moms,

with the greatest of intent.

with the most deep desire for success of our children.

with an immeasurable amount of love.

and we know, from the moment that we hold that perfect personification of our heart’s beat, that we simply are not qualified to do justice to our child.

but, that does not stop us from putting more effort into the task,

than we put into any other in our lifetimes.

Today, my three earthly children are speaking to me

each one has hugged, or been hugged by me

I am satisfied to say that today … just today, I am a successful mom,

no momma guilt needed.

And my answer to “Mom, did you let any of us cry it out when we were young?”

“I’ll let you know later … when you are a mom.”

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When it comes to the end of the school year, I thought I was the worst mom, and I thought that I alone held that title (and there still might be a few teachers of our kids, past or present, who would still ‘amen’ my self-declaration).

Last week I was introduced to another blogger, and through her blog post, and the conversations with others who giggled and sighed through reading it, I have discovered that I am SO not alone!

For parents with school-aged kids this time of year is truly the storm before the summer calm. Personally I am counting the days that my son has left of band classes … forever (he and I are ridiculously irresponsible when it comes to his practicing and my signing the practice records)! Bed times have stretched much later into the nights, resulting in great struggles awakening the gang in the mornings. End of school year events are viewed more as ‘have to go’ than ‘get to go’ events. Homework … well, I think Jen Hatmaker says it best.

Jen is a a gifted writer, a speaker, a wife, a mom of five kids, and a woman with a heart for God. I am looking forward to getting to know her better through her blog, now that I have subscribed to it. I certainly know that when it comes to how I feel at this point in the school year, as a mom, she is a kindred spirit … and she even gave me a chance to laugh!

tft-june“You know the Beginning of School Enthusiasm? When the pencils are fresh and the notebooks are new and the kids’ backpacks don’t look like they lined the den of a pack of filthy hyenas? Moms, remember how you packed innovative and nutritional lunches and laid clothes out the night before and labeled shelves for each child’s work and school correspondence and completed homework in a timely manner?
 
I am exactly still like that at the end of school, except the opposite.
 
We are limping, limping across the finish line, folks. I tapped out somewhere in April and at this point, it is a miracle my kids are still even going to school. I haven’t checked homework folders in three weeks, because, well, I just can’t. Cannot. Can. Not. I can’t look at the homework in the folder. Is there homework in the folder? I don’t even know. Are other moms still looking in the homework folder? I don’t even care.”

And there is more folks! Please keep reading Worst End of School Year Mom Ever, and if you too have school-aged kids you will love the camaraderie that this post provides.

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Since my first memories being a wife and mother were the two constant goals of my life. By the age of twenty-three (and a half) I had been married for three years, and was holding our baby daughter. Now, at age forty-three, I have three earthly, and five heavenly children … be careful what you wish for!

As a girl I wanted to be a mommy. I wanted to dress my babies in pretty clothes (I guess they were always girl babies), I wanted to feed them, I wanted to take them for a walk and lay them gently in their bed at night …

As a teenager, I had two personalities. The one wanted a good job, and independence. The other wanted to have babies, who I imagined rocking to sleep, and teaching to walk, and sharing giggles, and lay them gently in their bed at night …

… and watch them sleep.

When each of my children were babies, there was no sweeter thing than to hold their sleeping body in my arms and just … watch them sleep (well except for daughter number two, who never slept).

When they were each toddlers, who spent every second that they were awake in motion, there was nothing better than to sneak into their rooms at night, and watch how that child of terrible two (or blood thirsty three) suddenly became a little angel.

When they were each starting kindergarten, all so eager for this step towards independence, I would sneak into their room the night before the big day, and try to remember every last memory of that moment, for it was the last time that they would be mommy’s little girl or boy.

When they had their first fight with a friend, at school or home, with words or fists, I would sit beside their beds at night and wish that I could take the inevitable hurts from their lives.

When I would yell or make a big mistake, and have to apologize that day to them for my error, that night I would kneel by their beds and pray that God would teach me to forgive, as they always forgave me.

When their dreams were coming true, and life was going splendid for them, I would come into their rooms, bend over and whisper, “I always knew you could do it.”

When I cannot sleep at night,
When my heart is aching from a fight,
When I just need to hold you with all my might,
I will watch you when you sleep,
To a mom, it is the sweetest sight.

Thanks to my kids, for making my dream of being Mom a reality.
May your dreams come true too … I’ve always known you could do it!

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It was unexpected that I would awaken on Sunday morning with a migraine. I used to have those most dreaded headaches  W  A  Y  back in my early thirties. But, as I headed closer and closer to forty (like a freight train out of control, barreling down the tracks) they gradually dissipated, and disappeared.

I always felt very fortunate that I was never sick to my stomach, or needed to go to the hospital for stronger relief. I simply would take Ibuprofen, and go to bed, to sleep it off (of course my kids were ten years younger then, so it was not so easy to just go to bed).

So, when I awoke on Sunday morning, with a mental to do list, I was floored … almost literally! As the radio alarm went off, and my brain kicked into wake up mode, I knew it would not be easy to open my eyes.

I staggered as far as the back door in our kitchen, to let the beast out to do her morning thing, praying all the while that a squirrel wouldn’t divert her attention, and force me to maintain my vertical position for any longer than necessary. Thankfully she returned to the confines of our home, and I returned to the confines of my room, where the Ibuprofen is stored! Once an ample quantity was swallowed, I crawled back into bed, and told hubby I would be a no-show at church, and he would need to inform our lunch guests that they were uninvited (but I would reschedule).

Then, I rolled over, and slept … and slept … and slept … until 9:52am … that never  happens!

When I awoke, the migraine had been down-graded to a headache. So, I popped more Ibuprofen, and headed to the next best cure of a morning headache … coffee! Although it was physically painful to hear the beans being ground, the first whiff of it’s delightful scent made the pounding subside, all on it’s own!

As the sun was shining, and the birds were singing, I took my cup of brew to the back deck, where I could put my feet up, and close my eyes (funny how I headed to the light with a headache, but if you lived where I do, and were experiencing the ‘non-summer’ which was preceded by the ‘non-spring’ you would understand that, in this context, sunshine can always be enjoyed … but, I digress).

Soon after getting into position, out came daughter number one, followed by daughter number two, followed by only son. And it was good. We talked, we laughed, and not a form of technology was in sight! I needed this even more than I had needed the Ibuprofen and the coffee.

It amazes me how, when you need it most, and are not wise enough to acknowledge it, rest is provided … just usually not in the way we would like, or could plan. But when we need it, when every fiber of our being cries out for it, our bodies make it happen.

June is a busy month, but July is heaven, for those of us who go to, or work at a school. I usually find that the first week of summer break is family hibernation week. No one really seeks out socializing, we just cocoon at home … together. And I love it (what can I say, I am a natural at cocooning).

But, this year I am working through July, and, when I am home, I am still working … sending emails, making phone calls. So, our first week off together, was not … together, at all. One hot evening (I think there was only one or two last week), as they all hopped in the pool, I was still returning emails, and making calls, despite their invites and pleading to join them.

By the end of last week (Saturday night, to be exact) I was complaining bitterly to hubby that I was feeling a heap of ‘momma guilt’ for not spending time with our kids (other than bellowing out orders … consider this confession time …). He was not so sympathetic … seriously, men just do not get women (and this is news to me and you? I don’t think so!)! And made some comment about how our kids are not suffering for attention (which is true, but what he didn’t ‘get’ was that I was suffering … for time with my kids … he does usually get it when it is he, who I am suffering to spend time with … just sayin’).

So, Sunday morning, I got my hearts desire … just in a not so desirable way. My body said ‘STOP’ … and I did, because I had no choice. And, as I sat out on our deck, steaming coffee in hand, my heart swelled with thankfulness for the provision of time … unplanned, unscripted … not contrived by a human mind, but handed to me, to us, by a heavenly Father who hears the cries of my heart.

“O how marvelous! O how wonderful!
And my song shall ever be:
O how marvelous! O how wonderful!
Is my Savior’s love for me!”

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