My three children are the joys of my life. Starting seventeen years ago, they have been charming gardeners who make my soul blossom.
(a peek in my scrapbook from 2005)
But...being a mom is tough! For me, it has been physically challenging from the first bout of morning sickness to years of sleep deprivation from crying babies, which in a blink of an eye becomes lack of sleep due to teens out late with friends. It is emotionally challenging when worry and doubt creep up – will the little daredevils on their bikes/skateboards still be in one piece at the end of the day? Will they have wonderful supportive friends and helpful teachers? Will their dreams come true?
“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy: they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
- Marcel Proust
Oh yes they do make me happy! But I remember one time when all three were quite little and all three were crying at the same time. What do you do? Sometimes I just want to go away!
Just two days ago my littlest son came home from school in a horrible mood, just full of negative energy, saying mean things and bad words, slamming his jacket and backpack to the kitchen floor. I sent him to his room until he cooled off. Unfortunately, his rude behavior continued to escalate and he got the worst punishment he can imagine, no computer. Later we had some heart to heart talk and he took a small nap which worked miracles. The next day I reminded him I expected a different behavior as I said goodbye in the morning. He came home from school and was wonderful. His backpack not thrown but neatly put away. He did his best to be a pleasant person considerate of the rest of the family. I was so proud of him.
And at that very moment, the OTHER son decided to have a tantrum.
Yes, being a mom is a never-ending challenge!
We all have our strong and weak points and one of my weaknesses is that I always want to be super nice. I love these dears so very much and I try to encourage a family atmosphere of gentleness, happiness and harmony. However, I know it's not right to run from conflict. That it's not right to let them win the board game when they are actually loosing, or to do something I don't approve of. I'm not the best at enforcing discipline. They know that too. Sometimes they comment, “So-and-so's mom is always screaming and nagging. I'm so glad you aren't like that.” I'm glad they appreciate my gentleness but before I get feeling smug, I remember each mom out there is trying her best, and I tell my kids that! And, I do have my limits and they know them. There is a danger in being "too nice" because the pressure builds and can result in an explosion, which sadly, I admit has happened more than once! I recognize that being too lenient is a disservice to them. Now and then things start to spin out of control and then I force myself to not wait for the pressure to build up but to be stricter than I would like to be, because I know in the long run it will make all the difference in the world.
But it's not easy at all!
This morning I flipped through my first big family scrapbook from the mid 2000's and reread some of the little notes I had written. From the very beginning, one thing has given me the most strength and guidance.
It has never let me down.
I love that prayer is something you can do, if you want.
You can ask God for guidance and blessings and for the presence of his angels in your home and wherever you go, protecting and guarding you.
You can ask that your weaknesses don't make the situation even worse.
In a small book about Mother Teresa I once found in our library, she wrote we should pray constantly and gave many ideas how to do this. I have put into practice her suggestion that we pray as we hang the laundry. (Perfect! I am constantly doing laundry!) I hang up a pretty blouse. I pray for my daughter. I hang up a striped sock. I pray for my son.
Sometimes, it's my own shirt, my husband's jeans. Oh yes, that reminds me every time, we parents need LOTS of prayers. too!
When that tantrum happens or all three are “crying” at the same time, I feel an inner strength and I know it's not coming from me but a higher source.
I feel reassured that all will be well, whatever happens.
I am grateful for that.
Thanks for visiting my blog today. Believe it or not,
I have to go hang up some laundry now!