Thursday, February 8, 2018

What I Wish I Knew Before Becoming a Mom




Ah, motherhood.  I absolutely mean it when I say it is one of the biggest joys of my life.  I love my two boys with a crazy, amazing, fiercely protective love that I didn't know was possible until the minute I found out I was pregnant with my oldest.  From that very second onward, my heart and my hopes were forever changed.  I realize I'm still in the thick of it; I'm by no means a parenting expert, nor do I have things all figured out.  However, upon reflecting on the last few years of mamahood, I have realized there is one thing I wish I knew before becoming a mom that, had I known it from the get-go, would have made me a much more relaxed, easy-going mom.  Are you ready?  Here it is:

I can't control other people.

Not even the tiny ones.  Especially not the toddler ones.  And Lord help me when it someday comes to the teenage ones.

Why This Truth Is Hard To Accept

The ironic thing is that while I know this to be true in all other areas of my life, I've struggled to accept this truth as a parent.  It's not as if my desire to control my children came from a place of moodiness or malice.  When my boys were babies, I desperately wished I could control their sleeping through the night and napping (can I get an amen?!).  When they were toddlers, their potty training (seriously to this day, the fact that both my boys know where to put their 1s and 2s is one of my biggest life victories).  Now that they are in school, it is that they will obey my every command.

Ok, I know that last one sounds bad.  But still, at the heart of these things is a desire to smooth their paths, to make their lives easier, to keep them healthy and safe.  When they get enough sleep, they feel better.  When they get all their pee in the potty, mommy is happy (because the bathroom doesn't smell like urine 24/7).  When they listen to and obey my husband and I, they are learning what keeps them healthy and safe, and how to be kind humans.

The Crazy-Train Called Parenting

The past eight years have been the craziest roller-coaster ride imaginable.  Sleepless nights revealed I had no clue what the meaning of "tired" was prior to becoming a mama.  Emergency room visits revealed I had no clue what worried meant before having my boys.  Cheeks hurting from too much smiling, tummies hurting from stomach bugs, eyes stinging from too many tears, both happy and sad.  Endless thoughts of my children and desperate prayers for their protection each and every day...these are a few markers of my motherhood journey thus far.  And while a part of me feels like I am just getting started, another part of me realizes how quickly my boys are growing up, and how soon they will be out on their own in this crazy world.  Which is why this song makes me weep every. single. time I hear it.  

When it comes to raising kids, the most important thing to remember doesn't come from a parenting book (even though I adore parenting books)...it comes from learning and re-learning the truth that I really can't control my children.  I can't make them obey me.  I can't make them sleep.  I can't make them eat (hellllp me, Lord!).  I can't make their friends be nice to them.  I can't make them do their homework.  I can't make them stop teasing each other.  I can't take all their worries away.  I can't, I can't, I can't.  And neither can you.

Letting Go Of The Control I Never Had

Yes, this is a universal truth that applies to all of us mamas (and papas).  Far too many things are out of our control.  The older they get, the more I realize it.  I want to make life as smooth and easy as possible for my children...but the reality is:  life isn't smooth and easy.  It's hard, it's full of difficult people and circumstances.  Life involves bullies, sick days, substitute teachers (anyone else's kids loathe having a sub?).  Life involves far too many problems I won't be able to solve for them.  And that's ok.

Slowly, but surely, I'm learning to relinquish my kung-fu grip on my kiddos.  I'm learning to accept, I'm practicing saying "it is what it is."  I'm hoping to model healthy coping and turning to God when mom and dad can't make everything better.  I'm trying to leave them in His capable hands instead of clawing and clutching for control all the time.

Some days, this is easier than others.  Some days, it feels close to impossible.  But I'm working on it.  One day at a time.  

Oh, and to my oldest boy, if you ever read this post:  I'm sorry.  I know I've been way harder on you than your brother at times, and I haven't meant to be.  Being the oldest is a difficult but awesome job.  Everything I'm learning about being a mom, I'm just kind of figuring out with you.  Thanks for your patience, buddy.  Your love and grace for me (especially when I blow it) astounds me every day.  I love you so incredibly much.

Is there anything you wish you knew before becoming a mom?  Feel free to share it with us in the comments!


   

   
   

   

   



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