Yesterday, I was in a flurry of busyness. I was attempting to bring some order to the office in our new home but my productivity was being thwarted by my three little people who sensed my distraction. I remember thinking, if I could just have an hour of alone time, I’d get so much done! At that moment, my daughter came in begging me to play Uno, her newest obsession.
Feeling torn, I told her no. I was mid-project and just wanted to get the dang lightbulbs and batteries put away.
After I told my daughter no, I had that quiet, guilty feeling sink in. I mean, I just told my 6 year old daughter I wouldn’t play Uno because I wanted to clean out a corner of the house. What kind of mom am I?
As she walked away disappointed, I remember having this clear thought: “Gosh, I’m not the mom I thought I would be.”
What I mean by this is, I think I just thought I’d be so much more, I don’t know, engaged. I thought I’d be the type to drop everything to spend time with my kids. The type that planned games, crafts, and outings all the time. Instead, I feel like I am in a constant state of just keeping my head above water. I mean, it’s worth noting that in the past month we have had our house on the market, we just moved to a new house and we’ve gone on two big vacations. All in one month. Oh, and we managed to do a last minute, live TV segment. Whew. But still. There isn’t much creative energy to spare around here these days. I wish I had more to give, but at the present time, I am running on fumes.
I’ve allowed myself to simmer in these thoughts in the past. You know, the mom-guilt ones. The whole, “I’m totally messing up this parenting thing and probably going to ruin my kid’s life because I didn’t sit down and play Uno.”
While I could spout off a long list of ways I am not the ideal mom that I once envisioned, I am attempting to go a different route this time.
Because even in the midst of the missed quality moments, sleep-fighting children, grumpy moods, repeated offenses, and feeling like I’m in an endless survival-mode…God is at work. And it turns out, he is in the process of revealing a mom that I never knew existed underneath. So yes, it’s true. I’m really NOT the mom that I thought I’d be.
I never knew I could feel so deeply about three imperfect little people.
I never knew I’d be capable of operating on So. Little. Sleep.
I never knew I could clean up puke without puking myself.
I never knew I could still have the energy to have a dance party in the kitchen with my kids after an exhausting day.
I never knew how much peace, joy, and affection I could feel at the sight of my kids sleeping.
I never knew I could have three different conversations in the car at once.
I never knew I could remain calm when blood is pouring from a wound or a baby gets at 106 temperature.
I never knew the beauty of operating as a team, every day, with my husband.
I never knew I wouldn’t buckle under the stress of three kids who all need me in different ways, all day long.
I never knew I’d be OK with getting up at or before 6am. Every day.
I never knew I’d still want to hug and kiss my kids even after they have screamed in my face or intentionally peed in my closet.
I never knew that I could forgive so much.
I never knew I could find so much joy in THEIR joy.
I never knew I had the “Mama Bear” in me that would come to their defense when needed.
I never knew that I would experience such delight over the first lost tooth.
I never knew I could be totally at the end of myself, have nothing left to give, and then get hit in the head by a Matchbox Car and be OK.
I never knew how quickly I’d miss them when they are gone at grandmas or I am out of town.
I just never knew who I was underneath when comfort and control were stripped away.
So no. I am NOT the mom I envisioned I’d be. Not even close.
I didn’t expect it and I didn’t see it while it was happening, but in these tough, tiring years, God has been at work molding me into a person that I never thought I could be. I am an entirely different woman than I was before motherhood. I had no idea how life-altering this gig was and how much it would stretch, change, challenge, and grow me. But, despite all of the parenting mistakes, flops, and failures I’ve had on my journey, I can say that there is some good stuff coming out as well.
The refining fire of motherhood has revealed a deeper character, endurance, and love that I never knew could exist inside of me. Truth is, I’m glad I’m not the ideal mother I envisioned so long ago. Because this mom that is emerging has so much more depth than I ever gave her credit for.
So no. I am NOT the mom I envisioned I’d be. Not even close. And that’s OK with me. I like this one better.