Being that Mom
By Regular Contributor Kathleen
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given him.” [James 1:5]
It’s been awhile since I wrote any blogs for SonShineScoop. Four months to be exact. I started working on a book and although I haven’t gotten around to finishing it, I hope that once summer settles down, I will once again have time to work on it. For the last couple months, though, I have been battling something else. I want to be “that mom.” I want to be the mom who has done everything possible to ensure my kids are raised properly.
My oldest starts kindergarten in a month. To that end, I had it in my heart to home school. I went through the motions, did some research, bought some supplies, and figured I could give it a shot. After all, the best education is the kind that is learned one on one. Back and forth I went on this decision. I prayed. I thought. I prayed. I asked questions. I prayed. I joined groups. I made the decision to homeschool.
Then two weeks ago, my dad said something to me. He told me that he would support my decision either way but he wanted to be sure that I had thought it through. He listed off a bunch of reasons but the one that caught me off guard was when he said, “I always wondered what the kids feel. You know, being home with mom all day. They can hate their teacher but they can’t hate their mom.”
Now it wasn’t exactly what he said that got me. It was the fact that I had gone over in my head all the reasons for and against home-schooling and never once considered my kids. I considered how they would miss their first bus ride. I planned ways to ensure they were still able to socialize. I considered the effect it might have if they struggled. I looked into resources. I never once thought what it might do to my relationship with them.
I don’t have the patience my kids deserve to receive from their teacher. I struggle with just having fun for the sake of fun. Kindergarten is a place of colour and wonder. It is a place where kids learn games and sing silly songs. It is not my kitchen table. They deserve the best and I am okay knowing that I am not it. It’s a hard thing though, to hand your child over to the education system. Thankfully, I can stand on the promises of Jesus that if I believe and have faith, He can do the rest.
But you should probably know that I’m a mom who yells. I have three boys 5, 4 & 2 3/4 and it is easier to yell sometimes than to try and talk it out… especially when you have talked through the same topic repeatedly in the last hour. I’m also pregnant with my fourth which means there is less patience and often I spend much of my day exhausted. We have had forest fires in the vicinity of where I live so the air quality hasn’t been the best. I mention this because there was one day in particular where residents were warned to stay inside because it was so smoky. Well that is not a reason that can be easily understood by young children. So much of that particular day was spent yelling.
So when bedtime finally came for me (which usually means five minutes after my head hits the pillow) I’m out. But that wasn’t to be the case on this particular evening. Instead, I was still awake until 1:00 a.m. I finally clued in that the reason I was still awake was that my Lord wanted to chat. In fact, He was patiently waiting for me to settle my thoughts and my mind so that I would actually listen. When I did, the question He put on my heart made me stop in my tracks. ‘Were the kids really that bad today or were you?’
It is a question that I assume all parents ask at one time or another. Life isn’t perfect and we all do things we wish we could change. So yes, I will probably still yell. And yes, I will still lose my patience when the boys are trying at times. After all, these boys are busy from the time their feet hit the floor in the morning. It is the nature of preschoolers.
The difference, however, is that I will know that God is watching and desires to support me in my parenting endeavours. But what I need to remember is that my children are His first and mine second. And just like I will entrust my children six hours a day to the school system, He has entrusted me with His little children 24/7. And although His expectations are much higher… His reward is much greater. Jesus said, “Suffer the little children to come unto Me.”
What have I learned? First, I never would have guessed that parenting would be so hard. When you are pregnant with your first, people tell you all about babies. They talk about sleep patterns, breastfeeding verses formula, crying, the best brand of diapers and wipes, and laundry soap. They don’t tell you that you are going to need to spend the next 18 years trying and failing to do what is right for your children. Learning and seeking wisdom when things just don’t work the way one expects.
They don’t tell you that yes, you are going to mess it up at times. Because you will.
Still, I love that God will call me out on things. I love that He will wait for the moment when He knows my heart is ready to hear His words of wisdom and guidance, and like any good parent, He will encourage me to do better the next time. It’s not easy being a parent who wants to be the best parent. It is a fine line between healthy discipline and restriction. It is an even finer line between wanting what is best for your children and sheltering them so that you can keep the world out of their hearts and minds for just that little bit longer.
It’s tough to be a mom. It’s tougher still to be a good one. Thankfully for this mama, Jesus has my back and He never fails.