What 25+ Years of Being a Mother Has Taught Me
- Children come the way they are. I got this one from my mother, who told me this long before I believed it. Yes, I know, a loving home and nurture and faith can impact a child, but each human being is born UNIQUE. When I had my first daughter, then adopted another baby girl, I thought the girls would be just alike. POLAR OPPOSITES. One was a girlie girl, one was a “tomboy.” One was relational, one was athletic. One was outgoing, one was painfully shy. I was raising them both and they were so different. Each child is a one-of-a-kind snowflake and you don’t know which one will land in your hand! Be ready for an adventure.
- Not everything your child does is your fault. Nope, I really mean it. Not everything your child does is your fault. Children, all children, have FREE WILL. We are by nature born selfish and willful and obstinate. Don’t believe me? Have you ever heard anything more obstinate than the cry of an infant that wants something? Your child will disobey you and make choices you wish they would not make…sometimes DAILY. This is why we all need parents! Becoming a reasonable adult is overcoming our true nature!
- Not everything is about adoption or foster care. Seriously, if I could tell you how many times I tried to weave some deep dark story about why my children were arguing or sullen at the table only to later find out it was over mascara or socks. Kids are just kids and they come with rough edges and everyone in a family rubs against each other (metaphorically) until the edges get smooth. This is our family life…a big giant tumbler trying to SMOOTH us out! Help us Jesus!
- Your kid is resilient. Like so, so resilient. You will make one jillion mistakes and they will only remember a third of them in the therapists’ office. (Just kidding. Not really.) Children are very resilient and thank the Lord above, they will really turn out pretty fine if you are NOT perfect in every way. Let’s face it, I was raised by a woman who smoked while giving me a bottle and then weaned me on Velveeta and bologna. And I turned out awesome.
- The best mom is a happy mom. Deep breath. I am still working on this one. I thought my job as a mother was to pour myself out for my kids until my insides were hanging out and I had nothing left. This approach left me confused and empty with kids who were angry and resentful. Meanwhile the mom that didn’t seem to give a rip had kids that adored her. WHAT WAS HAPPENING?! I had to learn the hard way that I need to care for myself and let my kids find their own way without rescuing them at every turn. As one now-grown child so aptly noted: “Mom, you have boundary issues.” Ahem. Gee thanks.
So, we will see what my beloveds have planned for this Mother’s Day, but whatever it is, I will greet it with tempered expectations and a grateful heart. And I won’t try to fix everything for them. And I won’t try to be perfect. Maybe all you need to do this Mother’s Day is SURVIVE IT and get to bed early and watch “Grace and Frankie.” It will be ok.
Sending you so much love and admiration. You are doing the hardest job on Earth and you are epic and beautiful and amazing.