Hi, I’m a mother…and I make mistakes.
My pastor spoke briefly today on the Proverbs 31 woman. If you haven’t heard of her, she basically embodies all the wonderful and ideal qualities a wife or mother could ever possess: she’s waking up early, running her own business, taking care of the family, and respected by everyone. I believe the modern day equivalent would be the woman who rises with the sun for yoga, sends her kids out to the bus with a smile and organic hand-made lunches, is blowing up the Etsy world with her crocheted masterpieces, runs the PTO and grows her own vegetables while ending world hunger in her spare time.
She’s not even a real person (I enjoy telling myself this) but she does have some admirable, emulate-able qualities. If you’re into that.
Anyway, when my pastor started talking about how she’s not lazy, I leaned over to my husband with a little guilty grin and said, “Sorry, Babe, you didn’t marry the Proverbs 31 woman.”
I wish I could say that “lazy” was my only deviation from perfection, but I’ve got plenty of mistakes. When I first started celebrating Mother’s Day I felt like I earned the break- the recognition.
“I DO work hard. I AM up all the time. I’m making my own milk, for crying out loud.”
But lately I’ve become more and more aware of my flaws. I’ve started joking about writing down all the ways my kids will need therapy because of me- because when you screw up your kid, the least you could do is give their future therapist a convenient list of how their issues started.
Parenting is hard, and sometimes I feel like I’m being celebrated for something that I’m not quite sure I’m succeeding at.
I feel like supermom when I see my kid’s PJ shirt in the drawer and miraculously remember seeing the bottom half in the dryer. But five minutes later when I go to call my son, I have to go through 5 names before I get the right one. And some of those names aren’t even boy names.
Sometimes I’m too tired to clean, and sometimes I’m just too lazy. Maybe most of the time? Sometimes I stare at the computer screen instead of looking into their sweet eyes long enough. Other times I drop what I’m doing to dance with them to pandora songs.
Some days I really savor tucking them into bed and relish the hugs, the silly stories, the window into their souls. Other times I seem to act like my kids are race cars and I’m the pitstop worker and my job is go from teeth brushing to lights out in record time. Teeth! Potty! Book! That book is too long, get a different one! No more water, you’ll hydrate in the morning! Love you! Aaaaand….time!”
Some days I find patience I didn’t know existed when my kid dumps water all over the table on purpose or sneezes in my face. Other times, I freak-out yell at my kids for tapping their finger repetitively, as though finger-tapping were right up there with mass-murder.
Some days I reassure my kids that I’ll never leave them and I love them no matter what, and the next I’m threatening to take away everything of theirs that is not physically attached to the house.
And I’m currently sitting here without my kids typing this in a Starbucks enjoying myself, yet simultaneously feeling like I shouldn’t quite be enjoying this break so much. Maybe I’m getting a little too good at hiding from parenting lately. I don’t know much, but I’m positive I’m a mess.
But maybe Mother’s Day is a time to embrace the triumphs as well as the mess. Maybe motherhood isn’t about success as much as process- I’m still learning. Still growing. I’m making mistakes and good choices and some days I don’t know which of those is winning out.
I’ll never stop loving them, those three unpredictable gifts, and yet even as I parent them in their messes I’ll continue to make my own that they’ll have to deal with- learn from. And the humbling grace of parenting is that they will teach me even as I teach them. They will forgive me as many times as I forgive them. We will shape each other and be shaped and trip and fall and rise up together.
Hi, I’m a mother. And I make mistakes. That’s part of my process to embrace, and thankfully I’m not done yet.