Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Tonight I am going to blog about the "Mom" button. If you have children, you have this button. It's the one that when pressed brings out the any of the following feelings (or combination of feelings): grief, guilt, heartbreak, sadness, regret, anger, rage, burnout, passion, ire, weariness, exasperation, gall, anguish, rejection, etc, etc, etc. Basically it causes you, as a mom, to question everything you have ever done as a parent and a person.
This button can be pushed by doctors, spouses, friends, acquaintances, relatives, teachers, your kids, the woman in the parking lot who gave you the stink-eye, the other mom on the field trip, a facebook "friend" - pretty much by any person you come into contact with. And the effects can blindside us, and take us to a really dark place if we let it.
Here is the silver lining. The fact that you have a "Mom" button, is usually what makes you a good mom. It means you care enough to wonder if there is any truth to the issue at hand. But it doesn't make it hurt any less. It can take even the most secure parent and cause them to feel paranoid and to analyze the smallest details.
I want to tackle the spiritual side (in my case the Christian angle) of the "Mom" button. Most of us take the skills and resources we have, and do the best we can. Sure mistakes are made, but most of the time we are making the right choices for our kids. So why is it that out of the blue someone says something and it makes us wonder if everything we are doing is wrong? It's because satan doesn't want you to think you are doing a good job. The deciever wants to make you believe that you aren't good enough, or worthy enough to have kids. The king of lies wants you to be angry and resentful. He wants you to fall flat on your face and fail, and to do it all without ever crying out to God.
It hit me like a ton of bricks tonight when dealing with a professional, who because she doesn't know how to help in a specific situation, offered a suggestion that hit my "Mom" button. And even though logically I knew she was off base, and that what she was saying wasn't truth - I allowed erroneous anger and guilt seep in. Even after I dealt with her and let her know she was not correct, I walked away holding onto it and needing reassurance that I wasn't blind to some grand reality. Satan got me right where he wanted me, he pushed my biggest and most precious button. But he didn't win. As soon as I acknowledged that the emotions I was feeling weren't God's desire for me the negativity vanished. The weight of failure lifted.
I don't know that tomorrow someone else won't make me feel that way again. I can almost guarantee you that many things will occur over the course of my lifetime that will take me right back to that place of cynicism. But I can try to be better at going back to my true source of reassurance and not allow the negativity.
And as a note to everyone - think long and hard before you assume you know everything. Really examine the reasons behind the looks and "advice" you give parents. And maybe instead of judging, or speaking a false truth, just admit you have no answers and tell the person you really wish you did. Or, at the very least take a minute to realize that you have no idea what someone else is carrying with them, and that the way you treat the situation could be the straw that breaks the camels back. And if nothing else, open your arms and give a hug. It might be the only expression of love that person gets all day.
And if I have ever pushed your "Mom" button. I'm sorry. It wasn't fair to you. I'm going to try my best to follow my own advice.
Monday, February 7, 2011
Have you ever taken a minute to just look at your Facebook newsfeed? I mean REALLY look at it? Did you ever in your life realize that there were so many perfect people, with perfect kids, and perfect husbands with perfect lives? I don't mean that to come across as negative, even though it easily could be seen as such. My point is that so many of us work so hard at an illusion. Why? Why are so many afraid to admit that sometimes life sucks? That sometimes things don't go as we planned? That we aren't... perfect?
The need to fake perfection didn't start with Facebook. Remember Stepford Wives? That was a satirical look at a harsh reality. Every day we are inundated with images and stories that make sure we know that whatever life we are living isn't anywhere near what we could possible attain. I was flipping through a Better Homes magazine the other day and it hit me that I wasn't enjoying it. I was actually finding myself more annoyed with my own house and what it is vs. what it could be. But society attempts to convince me that if I just move my couch to the window and paint my walls that I too can have the life the people in the picture do. And it doesn't stop there. As moms we are the worst offenders. My kids aren't in all sorts of afterschool programs and sports. The majority of thier socialization occurs in school and at church. And that's ok. But when I see how much other families do, the guilt starts to creep in. "Am I doing enough?". "Will they be well rounded?". "Am I destroying their chance of getting into college?". And by the way... I don't like spending every minute with my kids... I like getting a break and taking time for myself! (GASP...Did you see what she wrote??).
With me, what you see is what you get. My kids make mistakes, and they misbehave. My husband is sometimes a jerk (and admittedly so am I). My kitchen walls need to be painted big time. I've convinced myself that the ring in the toilet bowl is decorative. There is dust on my tv. I'm pretty sure one of my animals is due for some sort of shot. I can't tell you what everything in my fridge is. I am not a good cook, or a baker. I hate it when things are out of place, unless I put them there. Me, my husband, my kids, my house... we are far from perfect. Yet somehow, we manage. And I am ok with that.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Have you ever really thought about how incredible an icicle is? It starts as one drop of water and over time, if given the proper environment, has the potential to grow and become something so amazing. We usually aren't lucky enough to catch the moment that the icicle begins to form, but once it's here, it's hard to miss.
My husband and I have two children who are biologically ours. Both were difficult pregnancies and after all was said and done my body just wasn't the right place to create life anymore. This was a hard reality for me, because I believed in my heart that I was supposed to have another child. I dealt with the grief over time, and things became clear again when my husband and I decided that we should be foster parents. We had no plans to adopt. We wanted to be a resource, to take care of children until their parents could get healthy enough to be parents. We have had three foster children come through our home. And we did our best to love and care for each one. What we learned though, is that when you think you know what the plan is, that's when everything changes.
I have no idea what I was doing five years ago today. It wasn't even a blip on my radar. To me it was like any other ordinary (albeit typically chaotic) day. I was completely oblivious to what was going on in another part of my county. Yet, that single event would forever change my life. Because today is the day my youngest child was born.
A lot of people don't understand how anyone could love a person that injures a child, that purposely injects themselves with drugs knowing that they are doing the same to the child they are carrying. A lot of people don't understand how forgiveness could be granted to someone who, by putting themselves in danger also puts their child in danger. But forgiveness and love came when I looked into the eyes of a 6 week old baby girl and realized that she was allowed to live. Now some may believe that her birth mother should have done away with her like she had with the other pregnancies, and some focus on the heavy plate the little one carries, but I see something so much bigger ahead of her. I see a little drop of water, that was allowed to form into something so beautiful. And although there are cracks and bubbles, when the light shines the reflection is amazing.
Five years ago today I didn't see the starting of the icicle. But five years ago today, there was a drop of water that was allowed to grow. And for that, I am thankful.