As I look back at pictures of the boys and me when we were ALL younger, I realize even more, what a wild journey this role of motherhood is. Those sweet chubby cheeks and baby kisses feel like an eternity ago. It would be easy to gloss over it all with a Hallmark card this weekend, saying that I’m the best mom ever. And maybe they will. But I know better. So much has happened and changed since they were itty bitties. The only things that are constant in the journey of motherhood are the invitation to grow and learn, and the deep strand of love that cannot be broken, no matter what.
At almost every stage, I’ve felt a new level of incompetence.
As soon as I feel like I’m getting this thing down, one of the boys enters a new phase of life that requires a new parenting skill that I know nothing about. Even though I know I love them no matter what, there are days and moments that liking them, and wanting to be around them, are a whole different story. It was true in the defiant toddler years and it’s true in the hormonal teenager years too.
Mothering is a constant reminder that love isn’t a feeling, it’s a choice.
There are often wonderful feelings associated with the love of motherhood, but just like in any relationship, it’s deceptive to believe mothering always feels good. Or that we will ever look back and think we did a perfect job. Or that our kids will look back and believe we did a perfect job. They will go to therapy and work through the things we did wrong.
That’s the way life goes with imperfect humans.
My sweet babies have hurt me deeply with their words and I know I have hurt them. As I look back at my “mothering” over all the years until now, there are so many things I wish I would have done differently. So many things I wish I would have known then. So many things I would change if I could. Even now, in the busyness of my life, there are so many days I wish I was more available, more present.
At the end of the the day, I constantly have to remind myself that I’m doing the best I can.
I love them so fiercely. But I know I’m messing up. I’m missing moments I should be present for. I’m lashing out when I should be patient. I’m assuming when I should be curious. It’s why we need each other. It’s why we must reflect the truth back to each other.
We’re all doing the best we can.
So when the seemingly endless streams of posts on social media begin declaring perfect mothers who did it ALL right, all the time, remember it’s just the highlight reel. It’s true, but it’s not the whole truth. You’re doing a great job loving your kiddos well. Most of our mother’s were just doing the best they could with the knowledge that had at the time.
Whether you’re a mother or not, whether you had a perfect mother or not, have some extra grace this weekend.
Have grace for yourself. Keep doing the best you know how at whatever stage you’re in.
Have grace for your mama. Give her grace for doing the best she knew how at the time, even if that time is still now.
“Dear Mom, Thank you for loving me as fiercely as you knew how. “ ~ Karen Patten
Let’s remind each other that moms are doing the best they can.
Extra mom grace is always required.
to more love,