Monday, May 9, 2016

Not An Ideal Mother

As little girls, we all have dreams. For me, it started out as being a mommy, a ballerina and an ice skater. Then it was being a mommy, a rock star and a professional dancer. Then later on, my dream was to be a mom, an interior designer or a landscape architect. Notice a pattern there? Like so many women, I wanted a family from the time I was a little girl. I had the ideal picture of what my family would be like and what kind of mother I would be. The ideas that formed in my mind came from books and movies, not from real life. Everything that was wrong or missing in my life became something that my children would have. I would be the perfect mother.

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." ~Deuteronomy 6:5-7

The idea of being the perfect mother died shortly after my first child was born along with many ideas I had about child rearing. I had no idea what I was doing. Everyone had advice for me, and they all had different answers. I really didn't want their answers, I wanted their support, their belief in me. I cherished the early years of having my babies; I had three children, two boys and a girl, all born within five years. When they were little, I was young and on the floor with them. They were great times. Then life got hard. So many times there were no good answers and I just said a prayer and did the best I could. Was it right? Not always but sometimes. Was I a great mother? Probably not, definitely not the mother I dreamed I would be. As mothers, we only have control over what we do, not circumstances that are created by others; certainly not decisions our children make when we are not around.

"Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?" ~Isaiah 49:15

So I grew as a Christian, as a woman and as a person while my kids grew up. In hind sight, I see that we learn from what we see in people, not from what they say. I hope my children learned some good things from me since I was their example. I was finding my deeper relationship with God while they were in their teens. Trying to handle tragedies within our family, they also got to watch me under fire as well. Did I always pass the test? I am sure there were times I did not. But I always loved them unconditionally. I always tried to let them know that they were loved no matter what. And I always prayed boldly for my children.

"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me." ~ Phillipians 3:12

Reality sets in and I realize that I wasn't the ideal mother I wanted to be, and that I couldn't have been. Of course knowing what I know now, if I could go back there are things I would do differently. Children don't come with instructions; how I wish they did! What I do realize though is that I did the best I could. I will always be there for them, I will always pray my special "mother" prayers for them and I will always love with a love that only their mother could have for them. Maybe that's enough.