Sunday, May 11, 2014

Nobody Ever Said This Was Easy

I was yelled at last week.  Not just a singular shout.  No, I was on the receiving end of a draining, largely inarticulate, and extended chew-out session that criticized my fairness, questioned my judgment, and insulted my culinary skills.  (Apparently, I don't make good peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.)

It was launched by my three-year-old.  The reason?  I had the audacity (the lunacy!) to announce that we were going home for lunch when I picked her up from pre-school.  She wanted McDonalds.

After nine years on the job, I'm deep enough into motherhood to avoid blowing this episode out of proportion and descending into the futile thinking that I've irrevocably failed as a mother, or that my children will never grow up to be productive, sensible, and thoughtful members of society who won't kick the back of a driver's seat and scream when they're tired and disgruntled.  I've endured tantrums before, and I'll witness more in the future.

But that's not to say that the experience didn't take something out of me. We moms are hardwired to want our households to run smoothly.  I want my children to grasp and appreciate my logic when I'm making wise decisions about their nutrition and sleep and behaviors to help them, not ruin their lives forever.

But here's the rub: a three-year-old is not hardwired to grasp and appreciate logic.  A three-year-old is hardwired to believe that her mother is ruining her life forever by not taking her to McDonalds.

Whether they're toddlers or teenagers, we're going to ruffle our children's feathers.  We're going to make decisions that they'll hate -- no, you can't have a smartphone; no, you can't go to that party; no, you can't eat however many cookies you'd like -- because we love them.  We love our kids enough to take the brunt of their frustration and displeasure because we know it's more important to give our children what they need, not what they want, even when they can't see the distinction between the two.

It's not easy, but nobody ever said motherhood would be easy.  Glorious and exhausting and rewarding and challenging -- yes, those descriptions are all apt.  But easy?  Not so much.

After taking care of sick children for the bulk of last week, I finally succumbed to a nasty illness yesterday and remained bedridden, unable to stand without crumpling to the ground with dizziness and nausea.  This morning, Mother's Day, my daughters poked their heads into my room to deliver the special gifts they had painstakingly crafted: a pipe cleaner necklace with felt cut-out beads, a painted canvas, and a picture frame made out of popsicle sticks.

I see the love behind these gifts, despite the rough edges and crude craftsmanship.  I see how they poured out their time and energy to bless me.  Their gifts are precious to me.

One day, our children will look back over their childhoods and they'll discern the deep love behind our gifts, too -- those gifts of consistent love as we parent out of principle, not merely out of convenience.

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7 comments:

  1. Wonderful and so very well put, Robin. I still occasionally question if I'm doing the right thing... too hard, not hard enough. However, I'm learning that I will probably always question this... and that I may never receive the "answers" I am looking for.

    Thank you for sharing.

    I hope you had a very happy Mother's Day and that the nausea is over with.
    xoxo

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    1. Oh, man, I question myself every single day! My prayer is, "Lord, multiply my efforts and correct my mistakes!"

      I hope that you had a great Mother's Day, too! I'm feeling much better now. :)

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  2. To me, the golden age of childhood is 5 years to 10 years. It is a relatively tantrum free time. Before it, you get the toddler tantrums- filled with loud, horrible yelling. After it you get the tween/teen tantrums, which are much more quiet but a lot more emotional. They make me do deep breathing while I chant "I can do hard things" over and over and over.

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    1. Ami, the next phase scares me a bit. I might need to be calling you so you can chant, "You can do hard things," over and over and over.

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  3. Very well said! It is not always easy to stand our ground, but it is necessary. Our children certainly don't understand that we really have their best interests at heart.

    So sorry you were sick! Hope you are feeling better and that you were able to enjoy a nice Mother's Day!

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    1. Aw, Lisa, thank you! I began to feel better on Sunday, which was a blessing just to be upright! :) I hope that you had a wonderful Mother's Day!

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  4. Well said. Sometimes I forget that my MissyMoos don't understand the "why" and go straight to the "it's not fair". Exhausting, but necessary. Isn't parenting fun?!

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