I’ve been trying very hard for a while now to be a better mom. Not a ‘do better so people will think I’m amazing,’ but be better so my kiddos will know how amazing they are.
Pinterest has been a curse and a blessing to me in many ways. (This may seem like a tangent, but bear with me.) It’s a curse because I could spend hours on there looking at clothes I don’t have, beautiful homes I don’t have, a great body I don’t have and so on and so forth. But it’s helped me a lot, too. Not just in the great ideas for parties or decorations, but in the little intangible stuff that is a part of everyday life.
That’s where the whole mommy thing comes back in. I have been so very encouraged by some of the words I have come across on Pinterest. Like I said, they’ve been working their way into my thoughts recently and making a difference in the way I handle things. I’ll just dive right in and share with you what’s been knocking around in my head.
Comparison is the thief of joy. How painfully true this is. I have found myself online well after midnight looking at such and such a mom who obviously has it all figured out. She has a great house, beautiful kids, gorgeous hair, great figure, loving husband, etc. She has even pursued her dream of becoming a (fill in the blank) while my dreams of writing and capturing moments of time are seemingly lost forever. And you know what? That is very damaging. Teddy Roosevelt may have known what he was talking about here.
This one has hit me really hard the last few weeks. It’s so easy to think of the little things that the kids have to say as trivial and meaningless. When you look at it in a big-picture view (which I’m prone to do), it really doesn’t matter if someone got their picture torn at school and had to start over. But when I lean in and listen it occurs to me: these are their ‘big’ things. Their lives are small right now. So small that having a torn picture is very big. And just because the size of my life varies doesn’t mean that their happenings are any less important.
Boom. How you like them apples? Think about this for a second. Here’s a glimpse into my thoughts right now. “Adaleine, for Pete’s sake, why on earth are you just standing there staring at nothing?! I asked you five minutes ago to get dressed! It’s not hard! I know you can do it! You’re not making good choices!” Ouch. Or “Eden, why can’t you just settle down?! Dinnertime is NOT a time to be silly and bounce around! I know you have better manners than this! Why can’t you show your family the same respect you show your teachers at school and just sit nicely and eat your dinner?” Ugh. Whether the statements I make are true or not, whether they should be listening better or not, there’s not a lot of love in those interactions. You know what’s coming across? ‘You are not good enough. You don’t listen. You don’t show respect. I’m disappointed in you.’ I don’t want that voice in their head all the time. They’ll have enough people clambering to tear them down. I don’t want to be in that pack.
Now don’t get me wrong—I still fly off the handle sometimes. There are times when I’ve just had it and I yell at my kids. I mean really yell. And I see fear in their eyes. Not because they think I’ll hurt them or anything, but because here is the woman who is supposed to take care of them and make them feel safe and she’s yelling over something trivial like knocking over a glass of milk. It gets ugly sometimes. I’ll own that. But I’m trying.
This is what I want to share. Trying is good. Trying means you want better for those little angels/monsters that God has entrusted to you. Are you going to screw up? Yes. But are you on your own? Absolutely not.
I take such solace in that thought. I wear out. I dry up. I run too far and simply collapse under the weight of all that life and kids and husbands and family and friends pile on top of me. But it doesn’t end there. That saying that God won’t give you more than you can handle is wrong. Dead wrong. If you were able to handle everything on your own, you wouldn’t need the love, support and comfort of a Savior. But there comes a time when you just say, “I’m all out, God. I have nothing left to give. Carry me until you can pour your strength into me.” And He surely will.