Ever have one of those days when you feel like “The Best Mother in the World!”? Yeah, me neither. Although I have had the occasional day when I feel like “The Best Mother Effer in the World!” (Please excuse the language, trying to keep it real and trying to keep it clean aren’t always compatible goals). Back to mothering. Is there anything that can make you feel so wonderful, loved, hated, and horrible all at once?
I love being a mom. I love my kids, but there are times when I don’t really like my little darlings. I will always love them with that fierce “mama bear” protective love, but as they grow I don’t always like the decisions they make or the things they do.
I remember one season several years ago where all four of my kids did something deplorable. One told a blatant lie that caused some major problems, one received in school suspension, one was suspended from his scout troop, and one didn’t make the soccer team. By the time those few months were over, I was exhausted and felt like a complete failure at the whole parenting thing. My one job was mom and I was falling way short. It took me a while to realize that my kid’s actions are their own, I can’t control them, I can only guide them.
And the disappointment I felt for them didn’t mean I was disappointed in them. Well, I was with two of them, but, whatever.
So often as mom, I mistakenly think that my worth is wrapped up in the kid’s achievements. I look at the photogenic cherubs that my friends brag about on Facebook and I’m reminded that my kid is flunking math. Why do I do that? My kids are beautiful children of God with gifts and strengths that are completely unique and wonderful.
As each of kids has grown older I have learned to appreciate their character and personality more and more. I think that is what is important, raising children whose character and spirit reflect kind and loving souls rather than a working knowledge of calculus.
I also need to remember that even the most loving parent, God, has children that turn their back on what’s right and choose a path that isn’t logical.
One of my kids decided to experience college to extreme last semester, he has not been welcomed back this semester. I am disappointed. My husband is furious. I think back to my college days and my less than illustrious GPA, I understand the pain of self-recrimination. Right now, we have a choice to make in how we deal with this situation. Anger would be easy. Doubting my parenting skills would be easy. Loud conversations laced with profanity would be easy. But I am going to choose love with consequences.
Accountability of time, money, and behavior is paramount now. I’m not going to revert back to the days of screaming and yelling even if my husband does. This situation does not have to define how we start our new year.
This kid that has now returned home after a disappointing athletic and academic career in college needs love just like when he was a little guy and was booted from scouts and got cut from the baseball team. He overcame those setbacks. He made the rank of Eagle Scout and switched to lacrosse and was one of the star players. He will overcome this hiccup into adulthood.
We all make mistakes. I pray that he learns and grows from his. I also know that his failures don’t define me as a mother any more than his successes do. Tonight I will welcome in the New Year and welcome back my son. I look forward to what 2016 has for both of us as we move forward together.
I am a Christian, a wife, a mom, and a part-time basket case who wants to be a full time writer.