I liked my kids. I was with them all the time, and yes, sometimes I needed a break, but I felt that if they went to school all day, I'd miss them. Besides, I was Doing What I Was Called To Do. I was a Wife and a Mother. Yeah, I had a lot to learn.
That was years ago.
Fast forward to now, when I've had a week solid of a high-energy teen boy who is usually in school. Suddenly, it makes perfect sense to me. I really am looking forward to school starting again. I miss our routine.
Yet another example of how I've had to learn the hard way not to judge other parents for doing what works for them.
It's hard. As moms, we have sooo many influences telling us what we should be. In just the last few weeks, I've read (and maybe this is my problem; I follow too many blogs) that:
--I should be successful if I want my children to be successful.
Um, okay? I'm not sure that success if what I want for my kids, and I'm not sure how one would go about defining what successful looks like. Seems pretty subjective to me.
--The old idea of the Proverbs 31 woman is bunk.
This was actually encouraging until you get to the part where you're supposed to train your husband to praise you for everything you do. If you've met my husband, you'd be laughing. He's hard on everyone, and very hard on himself. You do what you're supposed to do, not because someone is going to tell you you did well, but because that's what you're supposed to do.
--That we should do something about Russia's ban on US families adopting from Russia.
This is frustrating, because no one seems to know exactly what it is that we should do, just that we should do something. I agree, but I feel pretty powerless. My heart breaks for the families who have already identified their children, maybe even visited them. God's heart breaks for those children left in bleak circumstances I can barely bring myself to contemplate.
Then there's the whole Pinterest thing. I haven't given in to that yet. I don't WANT another source of feelings of inadequacy, thankyouverymuch. I don't want to see all the amazing things I could be doing if I wasn't sitting in front of the computer. It seems like even facebook and blogs have become, "Hey, look how great I am! I did this!" complete with pictures. I'm just as guilty. I've got a post brewing about the things I've been sewing for Katie. I don't mind people saying, "Wow, she has All Those Kids and still finds time to sew!" But the last thing I want is for some sad mama in the trenches of toddlerhood look at my blog and feel bad because there's just no way she could sew her childrens' clothes right now.
It's about seasons.
I've been the young mama. I've walked in awe of mamas with large families. I remember having "stamp envy" at a MOPS meeting where everyone stamped a blue heart for each of their sons and a pink heart for each of their daughters on their name tags. My tag only had 3 hearts, and I remember gazing longingly at a mama with half a dozen hearts on her tag. Now I'm in a different season, one where I have 8 children, with a 9th on the way, and sometimes a couple of extras.
I remember meeting other moms who had babies in February of 1997. We had a big meetup in Monterey, and I was so amazed at one of the mamas who had sewn her daughter's dress and matching hat. I gushed on and on about it. All the while, thinking, "I'm inadequate because I can't sew." Guess what? I can sew. I just didn't know it at the time.
Paul and I watched 2 families in our small church in Santa Rosa adopt internationally. I was fascinated, and I remember saying that I would love to adopt someday. I'm sure both mamas pretty much laughed at me on the inside. I was perpetually pregnant at the time; why on earth would we adopt? At that season, when we were breeding like bunnies, and usually broke, it was laughable. But here we are a decade later, doing just that.
We're all a work in progress. There's a song I love, called I'm Not Who I Was that's a good reminder of this concept. I look back at who I used to be and pretty much cringe in embarrassment. And yet, we all have to go through those times to emerge with the wisdom of age.
If I were to add to a Mama's Set of Commandments, it would be something along the lines of, "Judge not, lest ye awaken later and find yourself doing the exact same thing you're looking down on now." Like counting down the days until your teenager goes back to school.
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