Nothing is harder than the job of motherhood. You’ve heard this before. But it’s truth is ringing so loudly in my ears right now. Perhaps the most difficult part of the job is the mirror that shines back at me, the amount of self-reflection and judgment turned inward, that comes my way when I see one of my children struggling.
There are health issues unsettled, quirkiness in a child that does not “fit in”, diagnoses that are ignored or not recognized by others, emotional struggles unseen until they pop up in scary ways and then the little things like the fact that a teenager doesn’t know how to do their own laundry (yet) or they forget to use their manners…all these things glare back at us and scream, “FAIL. You suck. You are a horrible mother.”
The work of motherhood is the hardest for the weight it bears on our souls and the cost that it charges to our emotional bank accounts. Unless, of course, you’re perfect, you’ve never made mistakes, and you truly have no flaws…then perhaps you cannot relate with this at all. Then, I say, you and I probably have nothing in common.
I am carrying the heavy burden of a visit from shame, guilt and regret. I feel like I got a progress report in the mail and the teacher told me I’m getting a big fat “F”. The realization, again, is hitting hard that all of my choices have had an impact on my children. There is no way to wipe the board clean, no way to make it go away, no way in my power to erase the pain or heartache that my choices have made on their lives. No greater weight have I ever bared.
As a friend spoke truth to me today, she told me there is no use in focusing on the past now, we can only move forward and as I have heard time and time again in past months, it’s up to me to do the next right thing. And that, I think I am doing, even if it’s with some trepidation.
I am also reminded that there is only one thing, one source I can turn to for real help in this…Jesus, my counselor, my healer, my teacher and comforter. And I ask Him to help me through the muddy waters of parenthood and the pain of regret and poor choices. I ask for forgiveness again and miracles and for complete and total healing, because what else does a mother ask for?
I don’t ask for a just a little bit of the pain to be lessened for my teenager who is struggling with self-worth and what seems like typical teenage angst, no, I ask for it all to be removed, because seeing your child in pain is excruciating. But I also know that a little bit would be a good thing, too. I ask for all of my parenting decisions to be guided with His wisdom, not just some of them, because in all of my efforts to wrap my mind around this parenting thing I can’t bring myself to think that even one decision made by me is any good without some help. I ask for complete renewal of my spirit, even though I’ve asked for it before, because when you feel like you’ve done nothing but screw up, you just want to be made new, again.
How I wish I could have known that the choices I made so young and even ones I made when older would be so profound. But now I know… and I know, too, that “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8.
I can only unleash my love in a way that is promised to cover my sins and help fill my children with the knowledge of their mother’s love and even better, of their father in heaven’s love.
Parenting is hard. Looking in the mirror is tough when you have screwed up, but ignorance sure isn’t bliss. I’m grateful for the opportunity to do things better, to do the next right thing, and to love my children in every way I know how.