Saturday, July 11, 2009

Confession of a Real Mom

I’ve had a really hard time being a mom lately.

There are all kinds of moments and reasons that have added up to a really frustrated woman who has two kids. It’s even more difficult, however, because there isn’t a wealth of discussion (or admission) from other moms who have more than just “moments” and venture into seasons of struggling in motherhood. I guess that’s why I’m writing this blog.

Anger has usually been a very comfortable thing for me. Put two toddlers in my life who are learning to obey, respect, love, etc. and it becomes more common. I’m not writing this because I’m proud of that weakness, but more to encourage other moms who might have struggles like mine. And confession is like cool rain on blistering embers. I need a thunderstorm.

Zoë and I hit some hard times just before she turned two, and our anger & attitudes fueled our developing relationship. She and I are both strong-willed, first-born girls who tend to think that everything in the universe must cater to our wants, ideas, and especially our emotions. Put two women like that together, add transition of life, other stresses and out emerges a very volatile situation. God, however, in His great mercy and divine providence, landed us in a “Love & Logic” class on parenting. The senior pastor of McKinney Bible Church was willing to share his struggle in anger and then gave some practical advice that allowed Zoë and I to turn a corner. But the past few months, I find myself in a whole new season with Zoë approaching her fourth birthday and frustrated that this issue is resurfacing.

Of late I have come to realize something quite overwhelming. One can want to have children while not wanting to become a mother. There is a big difference between the two. “Wanting to have children” feeds on the cuteness, the newness, and the basic thrill of babies, toddlers, etc. Have you noticed that we ask newly married couples “When are you guys going to have kids?” and not “When are you guys going to become parents?” Probably because it’s easier think of sweet babies then question the preparedness of someone’s heart. Newsflash! Both questions are important.

Motherhood is controlling fury while spanking a flailing child. Motherhood is engaging in floor games & play-dough when email & Facebook provide a better escape. Motherhood is restraining tongue when the most blasphemous statements emerge from a three-year-old’s mouth. Motherhood is realizing that this job is not glamorous, is only occasionally “fun,” and most of the time – when really displaying itself – pushes in the opposite direction of our nature. It’s downright exhausting, draining, and demanding.

I started sobbing the other night in bed, deep & heavy tears. I was shaking and can’t remember another time I’ve been so upset. A sentence started circling my thoughts and it took every ounce of capacity to utter the words: I hate being a mother. I said it twice and I meant it both times. The weight was so unbearable that even in a pitch-black room, the darkness seemed darker. After a box of Kleenex, glass of water, and husband-comfort, I could breath again and started saying this, over and over:

“And the Truth shall set you free. And the Truth shall set you free. And the Truth shall set you free."

Jesus is setting me free as a mother, something I never knew I needed. He’s revealing the very ugly places in my heart that battle against this reality. He’s aligning my thoughts, attitudes, and emotions towards my children. And He is gently reminding me that my life is not my own. It belongs to my King, my husband and my children.

I repented to Zoë tonight for all the anger I’ve been carrying around. She seemed mostly oblivious to the weight of confession but she professed her love for me, kissed me wet on the lips, and insisted on painting the rest of her nails watermelon pink. I like to believe that we were able to hit reset tonight in a lot of ways.

I’m praying that the Lord would change my heart and allow me to love being a mother. I’m closer today than last week and I believe there will be a million steps before the journey turns into an empty nest. I hope these words don’t put fear in your heart or cause concern for my mental health. But if you can relate in anyway, or if there comes a day when you find yourself in similar tar, please know you are not alone. My prayer for you is that you would have a great measure of faith – not just for your children’s lives – but for the life of your mothering heart.


La'Tina said...

I applaud you Heather, for being open and honest about how you feel as a parent, and being honest with yourself. I stand in agreement with you that God will honor your request of loving being a mother. Yes, one day it'll hit you, and you'll realize that you do love being a mother, and wouldn't trade it for anything in the world!

Jordan said...

i love it. being a mother IS much harder than having kids!

Jenn said...

WOW! i am so glad you shared this. i am proud of you in a way, not meant to be condiscending but because i know how hard this is to share. i have had those moments and still do, unfortunately. i have reached out to other moms and have sometimes felt judgment and even the sting of the "looks". even though i know i am not the only one to go through this... what bothers me is the intense and deep ingrained notion that we must be a perfect mother and therefore keep our "moments" to ourselves. after my first child was born i had horrible, horrible "baby blues" what we now call post partum depression. i thought i was crazy. my husband and i almost divorced! brand new baby! horrible. noone talked about it like they do now. it was as if having those thoughts and feelings were just me, by myself... when i recovered and got out of that deep dark pit, i made it a point to tell new moms my story. and i told them they were not alone if they had those thoughts. we as women need to lift each other up and allow one another to have a safe place to vent and be lifted up!!!