One mom's attempt to live out her ideals with authenticity and optimism
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Day 112: Isn't it Ironic
I'm not being authentic enough.
I've recently gotten a few very kind and much appreciated comments about my superior mothering skills (from someone other than my own mother believe it or not) so it must be time to air out some dirty laundry! I want to make sure I'm finding a balance between processing my parenting philosophy and my parenting reality - two very different things some days.
In a sadly comical turn of events, mere hours after I received one of these compliments I found myself yelling about potato soup train tracks and a spoon locomotive mess on the counter, complete with banging finger and disapproving eyebrows. Fortunately Jackson met my anger with quiet compassion: "Mommy, you should throw a ball instead of banging on the counter. Or you could hit something soft to get your angry feelings out. Those are things you could do because it's not okay to bang on hard things when you're angry."
Teaching him to advocate for himself, manage his own feelings, and even help me manage mine is my proudest accomplishment as his mother thus far. Not only for what it gives him, but for what it gives me. Along with a greater understanding of the grace that covers my shortcomings, this has released me from the anxiety I had been carrying.
My greatest parenting fear has always been the potential damage my mismanaged anger could cause. And when God found it fit to give me an intensely sensitive little boy, I practically started questioning His existence. Why would an all-knowing, loving God subject such a sweet soul to me?! Didn't He know I wasn't equipped for this?
Turns out He did know. He knew that the only thing that would draw me toward the kind of radical change I needed was the love I have for my precious son. He knew that the only thing that would get me to take an honest look at myself was seeing my reflection - sometimes in imitation, sometimes in effect - in the child I cherish.
Some days I still feel ill equipped, like I just don't and maybe never will have what it takes to be the kind of mother I want to be for Jackson and Max. Although fortunately not all catastrophic, the failures come daily.
But on the days I feel capable, when we all get to experience the intersection of philosophy and reality, I see the beauty of God's messy plan for our family.
He didn't give Jackson to me because I was the perfect mom, but so that He could perfect me through him. Every day I'm being refined by the love I have for Jackson and the God who blessed me with him, by the joy that comes with our peaceful and harmonious interactions, and by the grace that covers the chaotic discord that finds its way in more often than I'd like to admit.
So when you see me in a moment of loving patience or read about me celebrating a good day, know that those came out of the growing pains we've experienced along our way. And when you inevitably see or read the opposite, trust that grace, forgiveness and growth are not far behind.
Then extend the same kindness to your own parenting journey that you apply to mine, because you deserve it as much as I or anyone else.
I've learned over the years that writing is cathartic for me. And recently I found that writing also, somewhat ironically, makes things "stick." I've been struggling to stay focused on and put into practice some of the parenting strategies and ideals I consider to be central to the development of a healthy relationship with my kids, so blogging is my attempt to make them stick.
The process of growth that my children are forcing on me...*ahem*...guiding me through is stretching me beyond what I thought my limits were, teaching me I am capable of more than I thought possible, capable of change.