Thursday, June 17, 2010

motherhood and humility

The last two days have been tough ones. I have had to really dig deep for the patience, energy, wisdom, forgiveness, gentleness, self-control and selflessness that parenting calls for and have come up short at several moments.

This is the hard part of parenting- checking your emotions at the door when disciplining, guiding and correcting a child's behavior. Maybe my expectations about not becoming emotional are unrealistic and that somewhere along the way I got the insensible idea in my head that peaceful parenting is possible 100% of the time.

The little humans in my home have been so filled with untamable energy, nervous excitement, self-serving motives, impatience, roughness and ugly words that it hurts to even watch. I've given up trying to put the blame on situations- a new baby in the family, the beginning of a wide-open summer vacation, more freedom to roam the neighborhood, not enough boundaries being set by me or a mother who is a bit preoccupied as she tries to begin a new family rhythm- but I keep coming up short.

At times it has simply been children making decision that children- who are not adults and should not be expected to act as adults- tend to make: a Eucerin facial (yes, layers of this sticky cream on a face) innocently washed off with bucket loads of water that end up on the bathroom floor, swinging a baseball bat so close to a sibling that a bloody nose ensues, drinking glasses dropped too roughly into the sink resulting in shattered glass, picking flowers without permission from the neighbors yard to make fairy soup, throwing dirt at the house and through wide open windows to create a smoke-like atmosphere in the front yard.

The list could go on and on. And although I am snickering now as I relive these moments of pure mayhem, I assure you that that laughter was the last thing on my mind at the moment. Instead I reacted with anger, frustration and impatience instead of taking a deep breath and responding with the tenderness that each situation called for. They could have been teachable moments, but instead ended up making the list of my ugliest and most humbling moments of motherhood.

I know that it is simply human nature to experience negative emotions, ugly, shameful ones at times- even for children. There doesn't always have to be a good reason to feel badly and behave even worse. Sometimes life just takes us through the valleys and it's hardest when you've just come from that mountain top experience to find yourself in the low lands.

Instead of stewing in guilt, regret and sadness over my poor choices, harsh tones and impatience with my family, I have tried my hardest to pull myself out of the trap of pity and instead focus on what counts most- love, forgiveness and the fact that nothing, NOTHING, can change the fact that we are a family and that nothing anyone does can ever change my love for them.

A real lesson in humility.


lovingmom said...

I cannot tell you how wonderful it is to know that another mother, and a good friend of mine, is struggling with the same emotions as me. It would be nice if motherhood was a dream, but we know that the reality is that it takes hard work, and loads of practice. You are a fantastic mother, and we all hit low points. I too was a tempered mess this weekend! Move on, carry on, and give them love as much as possible:)
No one would ever doubt that you love your beautiful little darlings! Keep the faith, and pray for patience. Remember James; you need ask for what you need. You cannot do this on your own!
Love to you all.

daniele @ domestic serenity said...

Motherhood can pull out the best and worst in us (she speaks from personal experience! :o) Hoping you continue to find some peace in it all...

Amanda said...

I have witnessed you on more than one occasion respond with calm correction when needed and not hasty harsh words. We all fall short some days, but you are a great example to me of patience and not 'flying off the handle'.