Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mother's Day
I'm watching all these fantastic posts creep up all over the blogosphere about how awesome being a mom is. And, for the most part, it is pretty darn amazing. But sometimes... sometimes I wonder, "What in the world I was thinking?!?" How could I have ever thought that I could be responsible enough to bring another human being into the world? And yet, 10 years ago that's exactly what I thought.
10 years ago I was pregnant with Red and I had ALL the answers. I watched other parents and kids wherever I went. And mercilessly, I critiqued them.
"Those parents are way to harsh, I'll NEVER be like that! If they would just do this... it would be so much better!" or
"Those kids are such brats! My kids will NEVER be like that! If the parents would just do that... the kids would be so much better behaved"
My vast stores of parental knowledge lasted for about 8 months. Then reality came in the form of a red headed creature who screamed throughout the night. My amazing Mom came and stayed with us to help out. The day she left, Hubby and I cried. She wasn't that far away, but we had no idea what to do with this tiny person who was 100% dependent on us.
Where were my answers? I had been so sure and confident a few days before! Where had my never ending supply of knowledge disappeared to? I was lost. And so, I did what all new moms do. I struggled. I tried my best and plodded up each new hill, attempting not to mess things up too much along the way. And then Little Bug came along and we had a whole new set of struggles. He was, of course, followed by Baby Girl who brought a diva like quality to the struggling.
I have since come to realize that motherhood kicks my butt on a fairly regular basis. I'm getting better at it, but I'm not the totally amazing mom I thought I would be. It's hard. I lose my temper. I am prone to rash decisions. I am cranky. I make more than my share of mistakes. I don't have the answers I once thought I did.
But, then I have to remember the moments that make it all worth it. Some of these experiences are small and others are almost overwhelming. But the good moments never seem to last long enough. For example: Little Bug said his very first prayer the other night! My heart overflowed as we signed and said words together. The joy I felt is indescribable.
The next day he pooped in his pants 5 times - including once while he was in an inflatable bounce house with a bunch of other kids. The frustration and embarrassment overshadowed that joy. But the memory of that prayer brings those feelings rushing back. And I guess the trick of motherhood is learning how to chain all of these moments together without letting the hardships overpower the bright spots.
I still don't have all the answers I thought I had 10 years ago. But, I feel like the few answers I have now are worth so much more than the unrealistic ones I thought I had before. I'll keep struggling as we head into new territory with each kid, but hopefully I'll be able to focus on the things that make being a mom such an amazing blessing.
Happy Mother's Day!


Jessica said...

Great post Melissa! I love "motherhood kicks my butt on a fairly regular basis". How true this whole post rings to me. I hope you have a great mothers day!

stinkypeteandcompany said...

How well I remember holding the littlest Stink flailing in my lap, I was lactating like a geyser, quite literally pressure washing the poor girls face. DH found us like that, she squaling, me totally abject, unable to get unstuffed from the overstuffed chair. I took one look at him and wailed, "There's been a mistake! God has made a terrible mistake!"
They say that under all the great master's oil paintings you'll likely find layers upon layers of mistakes; I remind myself of this when wake, "Today", I say, "Today I start fresh" and then I recoat the canvas for the new day's masterpiece.
;) Happy Mother's Day.

Holly said...

I love this. I'd rather see this kind of honest post about motherhood than one that is all about the sweetness of motherhood. There are days when being a mom sucks. And there are days when it totally rocks. You're right, it's all about not letting the frustrations overshadow the joys.

I hate Mother's Day. All it ever does is remind me that I'm not a great mom. I'm an adequate mom who is just doing the best she can. I don't expect that my kids are going to extol my perfect virtues in future Mother's Day talks at church (I have no perfect virtues!, like the ones we hear every year). I'd be happy if they just said, "She was a good mom who loved us, even though we weren't allowed to have video games."

Mandy & Ken Abbott said...

Melissa, you're the best. You are an incredible mother. Your 3 little happy munchkins are proof of that. I love your honesty. I love how you say what we are all thinking. You are so real and I love that about you. My eyes welled with tears when I read about little Bug praying and then I laughed right out loud that he pooped in the bouncer. We've all been there before in some way or another. I am just thankful that we actually have the opportunity to be moms, even though some days I want to crawl into a hole and hide so no one can find me! I love you!

Yvonne said...

I love what you wrote, melissa. You are an amazing mom. I think you hit the nail on the head--motherhood comes up and kicks us all once in awhile.
I know I have had to eat my words about things I would and wouldn't do on more than one occasion.

I love that Little Bug said a prayer--what a great Mother's Day gift. You're so right about not letting the hardships overpower the bright spots.

Happy Mother's Day.

diana said...

what a great post, melissa. i think all moms can relate to this whether they want to admit it or not.

your love for your kids comes through loud and clear and that's how i know you are a wonderful mother.

hope your mothers day is a special celebration of who you are and all that you do. enjoy your day!

Corrine said...

all I can say is I so relate! Thanks for sharing!

Kimberly said...

Love the honesty of this post! Happy Mother's Day, babe!

wynne said...

Me too, me too! I remember, Jake in utero, watching another mom struggle with her three wild boys (and I mean WILD--the middle child was up dancing on the...wood...that separates the stand from the chapel?...y'know, that wood wall? Has it a name? Do I still have a brain? Are there any words in it? Hellloooooo??) and thinking she could really use the parenting book I was reading at the time.

Come to find out later that all three of her boys have differing degrees of autism. D'oh.

I always say I'm NOT a good mom--but I sure am trying to learn how to be one!

Happy Mother's Day, and here's to you for puttin' up with the bouncy poop!

sariqd said...

:) You so rock!!!

The Morris Fam said...

As my 4 year old sat in Sacrament Mtg. with mismatched filthy flip flops and a scowl on his face from stubbing his exposed toe which was bleeding and my 1 year old screeched and flailed,I just took a deep breath and thought to my self, "Happy Mother's Day." I did sign up for this! I'm definitely glad that I got to drop them off and see them 2 hours later with smiles on!

Jean Knee said...

how fabulous, Melissa to hear a real post about being a mother from a real mom.

rock on girlie


I got a little disheartened looking at blogs where women got showered in gifts and attention and lovin from their husbands yesterday....ummm, I didn't.

Note to self- Life is not like a Hallmark greeting commercial featuring smiling, neutered men.


My oldest son is Red's age. He had to go get 8 stitches today because he was being careless. We don't have insurance. :(

Tonya said...

Best Mothers Day post I have read so far. I soooo remember being that girl that had all the answer before I became a parent and thinking the same things you did. Every since then, I've been looking for the instruction manual. LOL.

Nancy Face said...

Little Bug's first prayer...what a truly precious moment. :)

I also struggled and made mistakes and learned bit by bit. A big difference between me and you is that I NEVER had any answers in my brain ahead of time...I didn't have the slightest idea what I was doing, and I knew it, and I was terrified, haha! I just wanted my first baby to stay inside me where he was no trouble at all to take care of! Somehow, he survived and turned out just fine in spite of his clueless momma! :0

Magirk said...

A lovely post about motherhood.

I'm with you, girl, and still trying to get it figured out.

Happy (belated) Mother's Day to you. ;)

I think you're a great mom.