a good mom

Today I feel like writing a dramatic, edgy rap-song with all the heart and soul I can smash into it. I don't know if there's any other way to get my feelings out.

But I can't rap. No way, no how. I can barely write a good ABAB rhyme.

It's my first day with a few hours alone ... in what seems like forever. Thanks mom! That was not a second too soon. 

Life lately has been easier to depict in pictures than words, because photos are cute and life is ... well ... sometimes ugly. But you know I hate to leave you with a one-sided depiction of life here. It's gotta look real.

Well, real is doing circles in my house, forgetting where I was headed and why. Real is sending the newly-minted four-year-old to his room and talking with him about not stealing food, not squirting his water gun in the house, not breaking his brother's creations, not putting his hand all the way down into his smoothie, not ..... well, that's enough. You probably get the idea.

I said something on FB about parenting getting easier. I should never ever say that. Because it's not 24 hours before things get really really hard again.

That's tough. I really like it when things get better ... and then more better. Not this better-worse-better-worse cycle. It's like a confusing trip to Don't Ever Celebrate land.

I just want to curl up into a ball and hibernate.

^^That was my little three-minute pause paying homage to things that hibernate. Not sure why humans weren't created with that instinct.

So sometimes because of the endless train of emotions called Failure, Pain, Guilt, Fatigue, Unmet Expectations, and many others ... sometimes I cry. True story. It really doesn't seem like other mothers ever cry and I worry sometimes that my kids will be on the hunt for an emotion-free woman one day because I ruined them for life, but seriously? Motherhood drives me to the edge!! Maybe I'm the only one.
{I know, I know, I'm not the only one. But I do have a killer combo of personality traits.} 

Only recently have my boys started to show courtesy when I cry ... they will kiss me all better and put their arms around me and say they are sorry I am sad. But do I have to cry for them to show me that they are DECENT human beings? Do they have to drive me to the very edge of the cliff before deciding to turn on their we-love-mommy switch?

You might have heard me say today, "if you love mommy ... why are you making so many poor choices?" Uggh. Nothing like connecting love to behavior. They probably DO love me while they are stealing ice cream out of the freezer and climbing a tower of chairs to get their toys out of time out. And I love them even though they do all that bad stuff. But there's gotta be something in there about being nice because ....... well, because it's nice!!!

Well. I do wonder sometimes what business I have being their mother. Or what business I have blogging. Or being a wife or friend or anything. Cause I'm not very good at any of it.

But I think maybe that's the point.

If there's one thing getting smashed through my thick skull right now, it's that I'm not very good. They aren't very good. Nobody is very good. I don't mean to be dismal or depressing. I just mean to point us all to Jesus, who IS very good.

All this turmoil of motherhood is teaching me to stop looking inside myself for perfection -- it's not there. Every time I lock into this perspective and realize afresh that it's not about me, I feel a relieving sense of freedom and joy. But I'm very quick to lose that focus and start looking at myself again. My miserable tired failure of a person. And wallowing in guilt and discouragement.

I don't learn this lesson easily. I have this obsession with being really good and maybe even getting some credit for it. 

A male blogger named Jason Johnson wrote a post today called "The Good Mom" and I wanted to share a few quotes with you:
"The good news is that Jesus does not call you to control everything, nor does He expect you to. Actually, He wants you to be okay with the fact that you can't. Your "success" as a mom is not measured by your capacity to keep everything in order; it's determined by your ability to trust that even in the chaos Jesus is beautiful - and even in the mess, so are you."
{emphasis mine}
I wish I could learn this the easy way. But I really need to learn to look to Jesus instead of myself, so bring on the reminders that I'm not all I crack myself up to be. Remind me that I am dust. Remind me all that Jesus has done and is doing.

The best thing I can do as a mother is point my children to the grace and goodness of Jesus, not wrap them up in performance-driven incentives and pressure to love me for being a "good mom".
"While a "good" mom may do a lot for her kids, a "great" mom understands all that Jesus has done for her."
OK. I get it. But sometimes I feel like the rich young ruler who walks away sorrowful. Because it's hard. This giving up all my strivings. This giving God all glory. This life as mother to little people who take me to the edge of myself.

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