Thursday, February 25, 2010

reflections on motherhood

There's nothing quite like motherhood. I feel like it brings out the best and the worst in me at different times. The best of me when I act in selfless love towards my child, putting my child first, sacrificing my happiness for his needs. The worst in me when I let my selfishness take over and I'm aggravated and inconvienced by my little one's whining and constant needs.

One minute I feel like I have it all together and I could give someone else advice on parenting. The next minute, I feel totally at my whit's end and I could ask advice from a stranger.

I can see God weaving a theme through my journey in mothering: humility. I don't know about you but I came into this new "vocation" full, and I mean full, of opinions. Babywise v. attachment parenting. AAP Vaccinations vs. alternate vaccination. Spanking v. Timeout. Homeschool v. Public school. Birth control vs. natural family planning. Spacing of children. TV or no TV? You name it, I pretty much had an opinion. I'll be honest, sometimes my opinion looked and felt a lot more like a judgement. Not only was it my opinon, it was the "right" thing to do.

Yuck! It's very ugly to write about. I grew up with a "Super Mom". She had 4 kids, all about 2 years or so apart. She homeschooled us all at various times and never had a job outside our home. The best part- she LOVED it. She was totally fulfilled at home with her kids. She believed in the importance of staying at home and she loved being with us. I always assumed I would be like her and I would have a big family (by today's standards) with four kids and homeschool and stay home. Why? Because it was the right thing to do and I assumed like my mom, I would love it.

Here I am, 15 months into motherhood and I'm having a different experience than my mom. Yes, of course, I love Parks to pieces, I'm his mommy. But, I also love Monday and Wednesday mornings when I drop Parks off with my mom and I go help my dad's campaign for a few hours. I love having "work" to do. I love having something like that to work on and be a part of. I'm learning that I need it. I let myself think for so long that the only thing that should fulfill me was my children and if I felt otherwise I was selfish and even, sinful.

Some of you are probably shocked that I felt this way, and others may know where I'm coming from (if anyone still even reads my blog, ha!). I am learning to let go of the judgments on others and especially myself. I was being so hard on myself inside my mind that it seemed natural to be hard on others. It's not. It's the opposite of what God wants for me and from me.

Parks has been a handful for me and challenged me in areas I thought I had "all planned out". He is one of those intense kids, the highs are very high and the lows are very low. I've learned that my life may not look like my mom's with four little ones scurrying about and me homeschooling them. I may have 2 kids and send them to public school and I may work twice a week while they are with my mom...and I'm learning that is really, truly OK.

So, going forward by God's grace I'm letting go of all these pre-conceived notions of what my life should look like and I'm just going to take it one day at a time. Understanding that there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to mothering. So here's to mothering, the highs, the lows, the extraordinary moments in the middle of the mundane...there's nothing quite like it!


Laura F. said...

I'm so happy for you! Isn't it amazing how motherhood can change so much of what we think? I always judged other moms and said "i'll never do that" but now i see myself doing those things!

Megan said...

Wise. Way to be humble and seek wisdom!

Kristie said...

I used to know it all about parenting. Then I became a parent. Now I know nothing!!

The Vandevers said...

I love how honest you are. It sounds like the Lord is doing a work on your heart.:) I would say that is a great place to be.

Michelle said...

I love reading about your experiences as a mom! You are so open and humble- thanks for sharing! Hope you, Jackson, and Parks are doing well!

christa said...

Great post, Mallory! Its not an easy thing to have what you've always believed to be true "adjusted" by experience. (I say that from my own experience! :-)) I have no fear if you work a couple of days a week and grandma is caring for Parks that he'll grow up lacking anything! Rather, he might be even more well-rounded and flexible. It takes a village! :-)

Jaime said...

Exactly. You got it, siesta! ;)

Rachel C Morgan said...

Everyone's been asking me how I plan on doing this or that OR they tell me how to do it. I have a wonderfully supportive mom who answers my questions when I ask, but also tells me that I might find something else works better for us. Some of my friends have mothers with very strong opinions that their daughters have to mimic them 100% or they are doing it wrong.

I have ideas of what I want to do based on my own opinion and experience, but I know that the worst thing I can do is tell myself "I will never ever do X." It's so easy to say that before you become a parent. The only thing I won't go back on is teaching my child manners and how to be a good citizen in his community.

Anonymous said...

Hugs to you sweet Mallory...When you get pregnant someone should tell you that you are embarking on the most spiritual journey you ever will. Than you and God are going to do amazing things and if you stay open to what He teaches you, you will be turned inside out. When we give birth we get a tiny glimpse of what our Fatherly Creator must feel giving birth to this world and to us. Sending prayers for confidence in your decisions and a good night of sleep.



The Kelleys said...

totally affirm you.