Thursday, October 11, 2007

Brutal Honesty

Motherhood is hard.

Nobody ever said it wasn't, but when you're smack dab in the middle of it you start to realize the vastness of it. If you're not careful it can swallow you right up.

Needless to say, it has been eating me alive lately.

Lack of sleep, mountains of laundry and cleaning up the constant trail of toys are all a natural part of it. It's really not that part that is so taxing. It's an underlying current that no one ever told me about that seems to give me the most issues. It's the emotional side of motherhood that can just plain WEAR ME OUT!

It's the part where the rubber hits the road and we see just what kind of parents we have been or what kind of children we are raising. Are they kind to others? Do they exhibit grace to others? What do they say when I'm not in earshot? How do they behave when I'm not there to give them the evil eye? And most importantly, do they love God?

I'm not talking a superficial love either. Not a "What Would Jesus Do" kind of thing. I'm talking a deep and abiding love. Do they stop and think about His love and His grace and His mercy? Ever? We expect to see these things in our older ones through their fruits, but even sometimes then the line can be blurry. Their teenage angst (which for the record, I completely loathe)seems to overpower any logical thought that might come out of their brain and sometimes I just don't know.

I look at my little ones and ask myself, "do they see Christ in me?". Am I the best example I can be of selfless servanthood, love and grace? There are times, more often than not, that I have to admittedly say, no.

When the dishes pile up and laundry seems to never end (laundry really is a thankless job, y'all)and I am nothing but a raving, maniacal lunatic about the whole thing, I'm just not sure that's showing selfless servanthood, love and grace.

It's when I can walk away from the cluttered counter tops and the pile of laundry (have you noticed the underlying laundry theme, here?)and sit and talk to them, and I mean REALLY talk to them. You know, the look them in the eyes and really connect with them, not the come talk to me while I'm blogging and I'll nod and say, "wow" occasionally kind of talking. It's when I can read them a book or play a game instead of all the other stuff, that I truly believe I am showing them Christ's love.

But to be honest, that's harder than it seems sometimes. I can get so caught up in a blinking cursor on a blank screen some days or vacuuming the living room that I can't see what's right in front of me. I can clean the house until it shines, write funny little stories and give witty comments till the cows come home, but if I'm not tending to what God has given ME to tend, then what does that say about me? This is where the emotional side of parenting can get rough.

My children are brutally honest mirrors of me. If their reflection is not one that is God honoring then I need to look inward. That is when the soul searching begins. That is when I need to look at my life and ask myself, "am I glorifying God?". Those are tough questions. They require tough answers.

And that, my friends, is why motherhood is hard.


mindi said...

GREAT post Michelle!
I have been worried about the exact same thing, and have seen in my kids those things I dislike most about myself. I get snippy when I'm stressed out (like now), and the kids are starting to get snippy with me and each other. Downright rude, in fact. So that is something I have to work on.
And yes, you are right, motherhood is hard and not because of cleaning messes and noses and giving baths and feeding meals. But because of the end product, and how your kids will turn out. I can only hope and pray God works through me to help me become a better person, and at the same time, a better mother :)

Leanne said...

I really related to this post... I often pray this simple prayer...God give my children the extra grace they need to get through my shortcomings/ in other words, please don't let me mess them up too much!
Thanks for the open heart...

Michelle said...

mindi and leanne,
Thanks for the comments. Sometimes we mommas feel all alone when in reality others are having the same feelings. It's nice to know we're all in the same boat together!


Molly said...

Wow! I could really relate to this post! It's kind of funny how I found your blog...through Leanne' caught my eye b/c I had the exact same reaction to the gummy bears! ha ha! I guess we stressed out moms just NEED chocolate once in awhile?!?! :) Seriously, I struggle with the same issues with our children...the things that frustrate me most are things they are just mirroring from my life much of the time! Thanks for causing me to reflect on that!

Michelle said...

Nice to meet you! And glad you found me! I notice y'all are missionaries in Peru. My former in-laws (whom I still adore) were missionaries there in Lima for 20+ years!