I wish I was a better mother. Truly. I don’t say this so you’ll say…”Oh, you’re so great.”
In so many ways I am just not that grand.
For starters, I am a yeller.
One time, in a counseling session (whatever if you don’t go to counseling bravo for you and yours) a kid said, “I wish you wouldn’t yell so much and I proceeded to yell, “I wish you would flush a toilet and turn off a light!” In the midst of slinging snot and heaving real tears.
One of my finer moments, which I feel confident is in a file somewhere marked “states evidence.”
I want to do well, but I am tired, and fatigue seems to rule the roost in this house.
At my best, I am usually getting lots of aerobic activity.
When I taught spin, I was happier, and I certainly looked better. And I was going back to spin this morning, my gym bag is even packed and in the car. However, after being up all night yelling at toddlers to get back in bed… I couldn’t face it this morning.
So instead of spinning, I yelled all morning.
Hot mess doesn’t accurately convey.
In other ways I know I am a pretty good mom, but I wonder what the children will remember about me. Probably that I yell, “I’ll kick your lung out!” at them. Which, I assume they think is funny… Right?
And we work closely with Child Welfare, so I know I could be worse, but I don’t want to settle for not being better at that which I believe is my ordained vocation. The pay is lousy, but the benefits are boundless. I would like to think I am not a horrible mom.
Yet, I know I could be better. And I want to be better. When Maggie was a baby she never ever got sick. Granted, it wasn’t until she was about three that I realized the stopper in her sippy cup needed removed and periodically cleaned. Thus, she was getting a hearty dose of homemade penicillin every time I gave her a cup of juice.
So, what I suspected was excellent germ-free parenting turned out to actually be a mouthful of blue mold with some toxic level of health benefits. And then, as soon as I started cleaning the sludge out of the lid she started getting sick all the time.
In a cruel twist, the bad parenting had mimicked good parenting.
Then when I remedied the bad parenting it morphed into worse parenting… and I had a sick kid. Round and round I go. Messing up, and wishing I could do better.
Guilt is the name of the game in parenting. Too much candy I feel guilty. Forgetting to put a cookie in their lunch… guilty. And then there are regrets for things I wish I had done with the older batch that I do with the younger batch. And stuff I don’t do for the younger batch I did for the older batch… and I feel sorry and I want to be better.
When the older kids were little we told them things like, “we don’t say butt.” And we never said, “shut up.” It was banned. At the park the other day with the babies, one of them threw a toy and the other one yelled, “Damn it!” And the new, young mommies scattered like we were wearing “SEX PREDATOR” t-shirts.
And I can’t blame them. I am left to question how greatly I have lowered my parenting standards.
I pour out the same prayer for the better part of twenty years, “Help me be better.” Next thing I know I am in the emergency room with a disgruntled teen who drank chocolate milk out of an antique bottle he purchased at Good Will for a quarter. And I find myself yelling, “I told you it wasn’t a suitable beverage container!” All the while lovingly changing his bedpan and waiting for his IV fluids to restore him.
Knowing full well, it wasn’t any different than the noxious gravy Maggie drank when I didn’t rinse the sippy cup stoppers all those years ago.
Perhaps this is literally my best? An unequal measure of me just trying my darndest and praying that God will cover that which I barely maintain.
In the meantime, my gym bag is packed and ready for tomorrow in hopes I will sleep and be ready to go to spin class. And if all else fails, my prayer journal is ready, waiting for me to write in it one thousand times over… “God, help me be better.”
May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10