Often, when people meet me and learn about my nine kids the first response is, “Wow, you are a Super Mom!”
I’m here to tell you I’m so far from anything ‘Super’. I’m just an average person with a crazy life, trying to stay afloat. I don’t have it all together and I don’t have perfect kids. Most of the time I have no idea what I’m even doing in this crazy parenting thing!
Don’t believe me? Right now there are toys strewn across EVERY room of my house, and I mean EVERY! Even MY bedroom. How do they get in there??? I can tell you I don’t play with them!
There are piles of clean and dirty laundry piled in numerous places, seeming to shout, I’ll always be here to taunt you!!
And then there’s the kids. So often I hear, “You have amazing kids! They are so great!” And they are, most of the time. But they are far from perfect.
And guess what? Most of what I deal with with my children comes from me. I hear the way they talk to each other and think, Ouch, I speak that way to them. Here’s where I bare my heart to you and hope you can sympathize and not judge…
This week we hit bottom. All my pushing, ranting, yelling, commanding and raving came to a head on Wednesday. You see, naturally with nine kids, I am used to handing out ‘to-do lists’, commanding the kids to get things done, and not always being nice about it. It’s a bad habit, I’ll admit, but it gets the job done. Problem is, it doesn’t do much for the relationship, especially with the teens.
On Wednesday I caught one of my teens lying to me again. It’s been a long standing problem with this one and it’s one of those things that makes me really irate. I mean, screaming, yelling, head-spinning angry. If you can’t tell, I don’t always handle myself well.
Well, it came to a head and I pushed too much and made this child too angry. You know that verse about not exasperating your kids? Yeah, well, I did it. Now I can’t take all the blame because this child didn’t handle it well either and shouldn’t have lied and then lied again. So he ran away. He actually ran out the door, threw on his muck boots which aren’t lined, didn’t grab a coat and took off across the field. I really thought he just ran into the back yard so I didn’t think much of it, but I was worked up and had not idea how to deal with the situation anymore. So, I called my amazing, wonderful hubby and said, “I’m so sorry. I know you are supposed to go to youth group right now but you HAVE to come home.”
He didn’t hesitate (he’s awesome and amazing and I’m so thankful for him) and came home. By then I was worried because I didn’t see said child in the backyard but it was dark and I kind of thought he had climbed a tree or headed into the barn. Andrew took off looking for him, searching all seven out buildings, the trees, the yard. I saw his flashlight waving around outside and kept waiting for him to come in having found him. But no, that flashlight just kept swishing back and forth.
I went out to help and started to get concerned. I started yelling this child’s name, hoping he’d just pop out of hiding. He did finally come back, stomping over the field, cold and tired and cooled off. We figure he walked about 2 1/2 miles over snowy, muddy fields and roads.
The amazing mix of emotions I felt at that moment was overwhelming! I was so relieved and so angry all at once. All I could do was say, “Get in the house.” And then I cried and cried. Kids don’t know what they do to a mama’s heart. All the thoughts of what could have happened to him while he was gone and raced through my mind over and over and I tromped around the yard in sometimes knee deep snow. I had to will myself to stay calm as surges of panic tried to over take me.
I realized that night what I had done to this child. He told me he was sure I didn’t want him around. Where’d he get that idea?
From my frustration at him leaving his shoes and books and clothes and things laying all over all the time. From my constant annoyance at his lack of motivation and responsibility. From my harsh words and unkind looks.
Are those things okay or acceptable? No, but neither have my actions been acceptable. Two wrongs don’t make a right. We’ve heard that before, haven’t we?
So, there you have it. I am not Super Mom! Not even close. I fail miserably everyday at this thing called mothering. I have to guess at what to do sometimes. I have to say sorry, A LOT! I have to take back my harsh words. There are days I just want to go to bed and start over.
Here’s the encouragement, mamas. You aren’t alone. We’re all imperfect. We all mess up. So, you aren’t alone. We’re in this together.
Here’s still more encouragement. He always reminds me after I totally mess up of a few truths I have to hang on to. God made me mama to my kids. No one else can be mama to my kids the way I can. Even with my imperfections, even with my mistakes. In spite of my shortcomings He knew exactly what He was doing when He gave me my kids. And His grace is bigger than my weakness. His grace covers my children and washes over them when I mess up. And it washes over me to.
God’s grace is never ending and perfect and covers all wrongs. Thankfully His grace was with us that evening and covered all of us and it ended well. We talked through a lot of things and resolved issues and said I’m sorry.
God’s grace will continue as I try to change my habits and speak differently to my kids, as I try to show them they are wanted, loved, cherished.
God’s grace is sufficient for you too, in this crazy, messy journey called motherhood.