I watched a video this evening showcasing how a handful of mothers view themselves in their maternal-ness. You’ve probably seen it — I believe it has gone viral. If it hasn’t, it will soon. But here’s a link for the heck of it.
Anyway, watching the video was both heartwarming and heart-wrenching for me. In the clip, the women tell at least one fault they see in their mothering. The most used? Patience. Or, rather, the lack thereof. It hit a nerve, you know? I am notoriously impatient. I am a Type A, perfectionist wanna-be momma who would probably rush Jesus if I could. I am a ball of nerves at nearly every point of the day — especially where my boys are concerned. I just can’t wrap my mind around how things can be done so slowly or so disastrously. I often forget that the reason I can do things (semi)flawlessly and with greater precision and speed is because I’ve been doing these things for 21 years. I have had a literal lifetime of practice — on things that I still screw up daily. I have done these things for so long that I take for granted that I, too, had to learn how. I have forgotten what it’s like to enjoy learning and experiencing newness. I have forgotten the pride in learning a life skill — because I have acquired them all… or most of them. I have long since forgotten what it’s like to take childlike time and just be… just be slow. Take time. I don’t remember the last time that I haven’t rushed about. I don’t remember what it’s like to enjoy my time instead of scheduling it.
The video got me to thinking: is that what Gabe and Connor will think of me? Will they see me as some Nazi-esque scheduler who is impatient and high-strung? Will they see me as that momma who never thinks before she speaks? Who is more concerned with how a pre-schooler’s turkey project looks than having fun and enjoying the time? What would my four year old say about me? What does he think?
When I was young I cared incessantly about how others saw me — and they knew it. I was walked on and pushed around. Eventually, I stopped caring. Until I had children. And then I cared so much about what other people thought about me and how others saw my kids that I became the mother I swore I’d never be. I became the mother that, when my children are older, will see my name on the ID and reluctantly answer. I’ll become an obligation because that’s how I’m making my little ones feel. When in reality… my desire to love and take care of them far outweighs the obligation. But they seldom see that. I’m sure Gabe knows I love him. But I shudder to think what else he believes.
What would my boys say? Would they understand that my crazy strictness is meant to protect? Would they know that my persistent tries for perfection are so they could feel proud? Would they know that I love them unconditionally… no matter my impatience and hurried ways? My head is hopeful; my heart hurts to think not.