Wednesday, May 9, 2012

How I became a better... mother

I am in a series of Guest Posts by some people in my life.  Some have blogs and some don't, but they all have a story of how they became better.  I hope you enjoy a few other voices here on my blog.

Today I am honored to be hosting a long time friend and an amazing blogger here.  She constantly amazes me with her faith and her honesty.  She will challenge you with her writing and her life.

Mother's Day Cupcakes  Photo Credit: clevercupcakes

The other day, I received a card from a dear friend of mine. On the front, the photo showed a gleaming,
beaming, captivating child. The caption read, “Behind every great kid is a mom who’s pretty sure she’s
screwing it up.” The inside says, “Happy Mother’s Day to a great mom.”

I burst out laughing and crying because these two sentences capture how I feel on a daily basis. Most
of the time, I’m pretty sure that I’m failing, badly, while other people are patting me on the back,
telling me what a great mom that I am. I’ve been doing this job for seven years and I still don’t know if
I’m doing it right. On a really good day, I think that my kids will be alright, growing up to be scientists,
doctors and librarians. Other days, I wonder if we will be able to make it out of the house . . . at all. But,
there are things that I have learned that keep my heart at peace, even when everything else doesn’t
seem to be.

This is Where I Am – At the beginning of this year, I took part in a movement called One Word 365.
You choose one word to be your focus for the whole year, to reflect on and apply to your life. Mine was
Accept. Secretly, I’m a world changer. I want to join the peace corp. Mother Teresa is my hero. I have a
love for inner city missions. But, that’s not where I am. I am a mother to three kids who need me every
day. They need lots of love, boundaries, good food, clean clothes, and a warm place to sleep. On my
desk sits a quote from Mother Teresa, “What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love
your family.” I keep it nearby to remind myself that this work is just as important as all the other work
that could be done in the world. When I learned to accept my place here, I grew much more at peace
and happy about where I am.

I’m Okay With Looking Stupid – Being a mom, I do stupid stuff, to get the attention of my children.
I don’t do this stuff because I am, but because, sometimes, this stuff works. To stop my yelling, one
morning, I decided to use what I call the fake voice. It’s the kind of voice that is very high pitched, very
happy, and incredibly annoying. I don’t do it as often as I should, but when I pull out my fake voice, the
children respond. So, I will am willing to look stupid if my children respond to my words and I don’t have
to yell. It’s a compromise I can live with.

Each Child Has Different Needs – My youngest loves to be held. My middle child enjoys face to face
interaction. My oldest gravitates to any activity that’s side by side. Each child has a different need. Some
needs are much easier for me to meet and others require stretching myself, digging a little deeper and
participating, whether I feel like it or not. I have a theory that if you really want someone to know that
you love them, you have to communicate that you like them. That means doing things that they enjoy.
Their eyes light up. Laughter bubbles up naturally. It may not be something that I like, but when I make
their joy my own, we both end up having a good time and love flows uninterrupted.

To me, being a better mom means that I have to be open to new ideas, have a willingness to change,
and be okay when things don’t go my way. When my children see me slow down, take my time with
things and love like God does, they are more likely to do the same. My children reflect what I do. Being
a better mom doesn’t mean being a perfect one. But, it does mean being an available one. And, that, I
think, means more than anything else I can give them.

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