Being a mom is something I have always wanted to be. I had very little aspirations when it came to schooling or a career. When asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, the answer was almost always "to be a wife and a mom". I went to college (because that was what I was told would be good to do), I found myself in a great job after college, but all I really wanted was to be married and have children. Two years after graduating college, I married Kevin, and a little over a year after that we welcomed Patrick into our lives.
I had everything I had ever wanted. I was a wife and Mama. But nothing prepared me for the journey I was embarking on as Mama. No books could ever really prepare a person for the ups and downs of parenting... The emotions that run through you, the sleepless nights, the gross messes, the opinions of others. But mostly, the books never prepared me for the overwhelming feelings of inadequacy and doubt that I have struggled with almost daily since Patrick was born.
There are times when I sit just wondering what God was thinking when He gave me these four beautiful boys. How could He believe that I could raise them the way He would want them to be raised? How, in all of my failures, teach these boys how to live a Godly life, one where respect, decency, and compassion ooze from them? I find myself in tears, pleading with God to give me the strength and wisdom to just make it through the day... Four growing boys who depend on me need a strong and wise Mama, and most days I don't quite feel that I provide them that.
I used to spend a lot of time on Pinterest and Facebook, but I learned over the last year that that is a very dangerous thing for me to do. I found myself spending more time comparing myself to what other moms were doing. I would see one mom who created an obstacle course throughout their house and think to myself "Why can't you do that? Are the boys missing out because I don't do cool things like that?"
Then there's the food thing... I would see moms who prepare wonderfully healthy, well rounded meals, while I am over here feeding my boys hot dogs and macaroni and cheese, with raw carrots thrown on the plate to make it look healthier! I wished I could do better... I wished I could make them healthier, prettier meals, but frankly, I just wanted them to eat without a battle.
The comparison game fed into my already fragile view of myself as a mom. So, I had to stop it. I don't really know what moms are doing now with their kids. I barely know what I am doing with my own kids! I no longer spend too much time on Facebook wishing I did things the way other people did them. I try hard to focus on what I am doing.
As the boys are now all in Elementary/Middle school, mothering seems to have gotten harder. Back in the day, the hardest things were functioning with no sleep and not losing anybody in the store. Now, we're faced with tough deep questions, bullying, school work, and four boys trying to find themselves in a society that doesn't always line up with our values. Before, I could solve many of their problems, fix the issues with peers, practically tell them what to think. But now they are becoming independent, and they need freedom to practice their independence.
I have more doubt in my mothering now than I did before. The balance of firmness and nurturing is getting tougher. The boys are getting "smarter" than me. What do I really have to offer them, when I am certainly NOT a boy? Am I enough for them? Am I making the right decisions? Am I supporting them enough? Do I really SEE them and their needs and their heart? Not a day goes by that I don't question my abilities as their Mama. I want so much more for them than I can give them...
But, here's what I know: I KNOW that God chose me to be their Mama. God placed these four amazingly kind, respectful, intelligent boys in my arms because He felt I was the right person for the job. My opinions and disagreement with His feelings are irrelevant. I am unequipped for all that comes our way, but God covers the inadequacies with HIS love and grace and wisdom. I DO NOT need to have it all together, because God has it all. And, IF I cling to Him each day, He will shine through and those four boys will have everything they need. I am NOT enough for them on my own, but God already knew that before He gave me them.
I would not trade my life as Mama for anything. It is the HARDEST thing I will ever do, but it is the most rewarding and amazing thing I will ever do. To watch my boys grow into young men, exploring who God made them to be is worth the doubt, the pain, and the frustrations that come with it. Nothing excites me more than to hear people share with me about how kind and loving the boys are to their peers and teachers. And at the end of the day, nothing feels better than to feel four sets of arms wrapped around me as not so little voices whisper "I love you, Mama"! Being Mama is THE BEST thing that could have happened to me, and I am so very blessed!