I was going to give you all an update of how we are adjusting and transitioning, but I felt like this was more important to share. I am pretty sure that I have learned more about myself and motherhood in these past 3 weeks than I ever have, and I can honestly say that it’s been so hard and I’ve never been happier.
I was messaging with one of my best friends the other day, and she said to me “You make me not afraid to be a mom.” As flattering as that was, it made me realize that I must be putting on too pretty of a show on social media if I am the person that is giving people hope in being a mother. Don’t get me wrong, I love being a mom, and there are so many real and beautiful moments in the midst of the chaos, but so often, the mother I feel like I am to my children is not worthy of them. My fuse is too short, I am on my phone too much, I put too much of my value in a clean house, and the list can go on and on.
When I was reading her message and thinking about what she said, I had a moment of realization. No one should be afraid to have children. Children are the most forgiving, kind, and joyful things that you will ever add to your life. The children aren’t the hard part of mothering. The hardest part of motherhood is realizing the hard things about yourself. Realizing that you aren’t as good of a person as you thought you were. Realizing that you are impatient, selfish, and unkind sometimes (or a lot of the times). Realizing that you don’t have control over your life, even though you have so blissfully believed you did for so long.
There is no other relationship in the world like that of a parent and a child. No other relationship that can make you feel so loved, so frustrated, so full, and so inadequate all at the same time. It isn’t the children that are the hard part, even though they can do naughty things, but it is the way that their behavior makes us feel. The way it hits all of our insecurities and feelings of inadequacy that make us respond in ways that are hard to deal with.
We know in our brains that children’s behavior isn’t often intentional. A lot of times, especially with little ones, they don’t know better, or simply can’t help themselves. Most of the time their behavior is not premeditated, and they act out of impulse. However, even knowing this, so often I react as if Shiloh has been scheming and planning all day to disobey and destroy anything in sight.
For example, the other day I laid Shiloh down in bed around 9, and at 9:30 we heard a noise. I went in, in the dark, and found her walking around her room. I put her back in bed, and as I was laying her down, I felt something sticky on her neck. I then noticed brown all over her sheets. When I asked her what it was, she matter of factly said “Oh, I did my make up.” I quickly grabbed her out of bed and took her into the bathroom to find costume makeup all over her face and neck. ALL over. Let’s just say that I wasn’t happy, and didn’t even try to hide that from her. I washed her face off, told her I loved her and put her back to bed feeling frustrated, defeated, and tired.
Now, it wasn’t the fact that Shiloh had rubbed makeup all over herself and room that was so hard, even though that was annoying, but it was the way that it made me feel that was hard. I felt like my daughter was acting out because we have a new baby and she was feeling neglected. I felt like my daughter was disobedient. I was feeling like a failure. I was feeling like I couldn’t keep my kids under control. It made me feel like I did something wrong. I then felt bad for how I responded to her and began to feel guilty. I let her actions bring out the worst in me, and THAT was what was hard.
I am my own worst enemy, and my own worst critic. Most of the time I am the one to get in my own way and make my life harder on myself. I feel like I have been hiding behind motherhood recently, and have been using my children as an excuse as to why things have felt hard lately. But in reality, things have been hard because I haven’t been dealing with things well, and I have let them get the best of me. I have let these things bring out the worst in me.
So, today is a new day. A day that will have to be full of grace. It’s time to take responsibility for what is mine, and better myself so that I can better lead and love these babies that I have been entrusted with. Instead of seeing children as hard, I want to see them for their joy and innocence. Instead of reacting out of insecurity, I want to respond out of love and understanding. Instead of seeing them as the problem, I want to address my problems. I know there are going to be hard days, and I’m not going to do this perfectly, heck I probably won’t even do it well, but I am for sure going to try, if not for my sake, for theirs.