Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Ode to Moms Everywhere.

I know I'm a bit early in posting a tribute to mothers, seeing Mother's Day is not far away. But I really wanted to get this out while it was fresh on my heart. Yesterday, I had one of those really bad days with my kids. I had to fight a terrible battle with one of them, and it was ugly, and I broke down...you know, one of those days. I believe every mother has them. Okay, some of you moms have only one child at this point, and that child may be under two years old. Maybe you have not experienced what I am talking about just yet, but battles do come and sometimes we are prepared for them and sometimes they take us down.

Yesterday, I fought the battle and I won, but let's just say I did not escape without wounding, figuratively speaking. During this battle, at one of the most intense moments, my mother called me. I answered the phone, and she could tell by my voice that something was wrong. Well, I couldn't help but cry as I described to her what was going on in the house at that moment. I was feeling like a loser, wondering how it was that my child would deliberately disobey everything I said, and how he could say terrible things to me, and show me such disrespect. I know everyone says you can't take those things personally, and I know that is true. But there is something very discouraging when you feel helpless as a mother, and yesterday I did.

So I was a little embarrassed to tell my mom how bad my child was being, because it certainly reflected badly on me. But she understood, and told me how she had had many moments like that too in those years when my sisters and I were young. Of course, a part of me was surprised because she had three girls, and I have three boys, and I have to admit, when things get this bad I often wonder if this is just the way boys are. But she assured me that all kids go through this, or certainly have days that are bad, boy or girl. I was afraid she might tell me how I should be doing things differently, but she didn't. Instead, she told me to press on, and to just keep being consistent, and that even if it takes a long time, things would work out in the end. And she knows, because she has been there and seen it through to the end. Not that she is not a mother anymore, because of course she is and always will be. But she is past the "raising" stage of motherhood, and she not only survived, she even did a good job. (Is it bragging for me to say that? Hehe.)

My spirits were slightly lifted when I got off the phone, even though the battle still raged on around me. And then, not long after, my mother-in-law called me. Now the interesting thing is, my mom and my husband's mom raised their children very differently, so they have very different perspectives on things. But what was truly wonderful was that even after a great conversation with my own mom, I then had an equally great one with my mother-in-law. She offered me so much encouragement as well as some advice, and she also affirmed that she had been through similar battles in her days of parenting younger children. They both had such different angles of looking at things, but both were compassionate, understanding, and non-judgmental.

Later, as I reflected on both conversations, it struck me how blessed I am to have two mothers in my life, both who love me and both who love my children. And even though their life experiences have been different and their parenting styles are different, I value both of their opinions and their friendships, and I am so grateful to have them. So I wanted to give a shout out to mothers. Some of you are still in what I call the honeymoon phase, where you have only one child or baby, and though you may not be fighting with your child, you are often weary from the demands of one so young. Some of you are where I am, with more than one who are young and battles are frequent and sometimes volatile. Some of you are dealing with teenagers and you are fighting battles that probably make mine pale in comparison. And some of you have already raised your children, but you are still there for your grown children, and even your grandchildren. Whatever phase you are at, may God bless you as you continue to be the best mom you can be. I hope your children know, or someday will know, all that you have poured out into them, and are grateful. I know I am.

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