Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day everyone.

 

To all those moms who have suddenly become homeschooling moms against your wishes and feel overwhelmed and frustrated…Happy Mother’s Day.

 

To all those moms who have been homeschooling all along but have suddenly lost all their support systems, friends, playgrounds, libraries, co-ops, extra-curricular classes…Happy Mother’s Day.

 

To the moms whose children are long grown and have left the nest, off building their own grown-up lives…Happy Mother’s Day.

 

To the Grandmas who have not only launched their own children but are now involved in the next generation of children…Happy Mother’s Day.

 

To the moms whose children are not here, lost in miscarriage or premature death…Happy Mother’s Day. 

 

To the moms who became mothers through a different route and who love their children fiercely, Happy Mother’s Day.

 

To the women who say they aren’t a mom, but whose lives have heavily influenced a child, Happy Mother’s Day. 

 

To the Brand New Mom who feels like she is drowning in sleepless nights and never-ending feedings…hang in there, things will change…Happy Mother’s Day.

 

To the moms who are struggling with their teenagers, despairing of ever having a good relationship with your child…I’m praying for you…Happy Mother’s Day. 

 

To the moms who messed up and are now trying to make things right…keep trying…every relationship is worth mending…Happy Mother’s Day.

 

To the mom who loves her children with all her heart, but feels like she has lost track of who she is as a person…you’re still there and you’re worth finding again…Happy Mother’s Day.

 

To the mom who is watching their child face health battles…our hearts are breaking with yours…Happy Mother’s day. 

 

And to my Mom, thank you for loving me. You’re the best. I wish you Happiness and Joy and Peace. 

Sickness = Failure

This past Saturday night some horrible virus jumped out of the bushes and attacked me. It started off with the sudden onset of a terrible sore throat and runny nose which then turned into fever and chills and then finally settled into my chest with really bad wheezing. I’m on the third day and still moving very slowly. The family stepped up and kept the house running and I’ve been trying to keep my distance, hoping against hope that I won’t spread this around to everyone else. 

 

Being sick is really hard for me. I know it sounds crazy, but when I get sick I kind of feel like a failure. I’m failing my family. I’m being a burden. All the work is piling up. I’m just sitting here, or laying here, being a bum. Wasting my time. If I was a healthier person and took better care of myself, I wouldn’t be susceptible to viruses. (Even though I typically only get sick a couple times a year). 

 

I’ve spent a lot of time just scrolling through Facebook. Which makes me feel even more like a bum. I have some intelligent books I could be reading. The only problem is my brain is so out-of-it that I can’t focus on anything. I decide that I will think through some issues that have been on my mind, and I can’t think. Everything has just checked out while my body fights to get better. 

 

I feel useless.  

 

A couple different friends posted this meme on FB

mamayoureallowed

This really made me pause. 

 

I am guilty of getting so caught up in the role of Mother that I forget that I am my own person. I forget that it’s ok to be human. It’s ok to have a sick day. It’s ok, and this one is really hard for me to grasp, to have goals that are unrelated to motherhood. Motherhood is so All-Consuming. It’s a role you take on and carry for the rest of your life. You never stop being a mom. And it’s such a heavy responsibility. You are shaping the lives of children. Your actions are going to have a big influence on these little human’s futures. It’s a heavy weight to carry. 

There’s a bible verse, Matthew 11:28-30

28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (ESV)

I feel very much that Jesus called me to be a mother. And according to him, when we are doing what he wants us to do, it will not be a heavy, overwhelming load. 

 

So, what am I doing wrong? Maybe the problem is that I keep trying to do this job on my own strength instead of tapping into His Strength. Perhaps I somehow think that the fate of my children and our family rests solely on my shoulders. Instead of realizing God’s got my kids and he is more powerful than my weakness and my mistakes. 

 

The other problem is I forget that I am a human being. A child of God. A valuable person. An individual worthy of respect and care. I forget. It’s so easy to disappear into the name Mom. It’s not even your own name. Other women share the same name. It’s a title. It’s a title that assumes you will become self-sacrificing, omniscient to the needs of the family, on-call twenty-fours hours a day.  It’s really easy for Esther to slowly fade out into a memory. That person I was starting to become before I had children. 

 

When I am sick, I have to step out of the Mom-role and just become Sick Esther, in bed. Maybe that’s why it’s so disconcerting. When my identity is completely wrapped up in my work as a mother and suddenly I can’t do that work, it sends me reeling. 

 

The last several years, as I have worked my way through a long depression, I have been slowly doing the work of figuring out who Esther is again, outside of the mom role. Writing this blog is part of that journey. But, it’s really easy for me to slip back into I’m a Mom Only identity. I don’t realize it till things happen like sickness that knock me out of that role and I suddenly feel like a failure. 

 

I need to post this meme really big on my wall somehow. A daily reminder that I am allowed to just be a person who happened to catch a virus, and just needs a little time in bed till she feels better. 

 

 

Generation to Generation

I was in the kitchen this evening cooking supper. My phone chimed, I checked and my Mom had just texted me. I quickly responded and told her that I had received the “Happy Light” that she had sent me in the mail (since she knew I had been struggling with depression)  and I had used it. It had seemed to help me with my bad mood. She quickly texted me back to give me some quick tips on how to use it. I smiled to myself. Yes Mom. You already told me this. 🙂 Then my phone chimed, my daughter who is off at college was texting me. I had texted her about some mail she had received at our house, asking her whether she needed it or not. And suddenly I felt like I was in a time loop. My mom was texting me because she wanted to help me out, I was texting my daughter because I wanted to help her out, and I suddenly had this Great Understanding. Oh. I get it Mom. This is why you still try to give me advice. This is why you buy special little things for me. In your mind, I’m still your little girl.

I have this overwhelming desire to help my own grown-up daughter in whatever way I can and I am trying to learn as fast as I can how to give her the space she needs to be a grown-up and be her own person and learn how to be independent, but that desire to Mother her is always there. Sometimes I step over the line and I can tell by the tenseness in her face that I need to back down and shut up. But that desire never goes away. I still want her to be well-fed, well-rested, have enough clean clothes to wear, have some good Real friends, be getting satisfaction from her work, know that she is walking after God. I don’t think that desire ever goes away. She’s my little girl, even if she’s 18 years old. And I’m still my Mom’s little girl. Even if I’m 40.

Later this evening I was tucking my four year old son into bed. He was laying on his bunk bed, smiling at me in the lamplight, laughing and telling me a funny story. And I thought about generations again. This particular child looks uncannily like his father’s childhood photos. And I suddenly wondered, is this what my husband was like when he was little? That adorable face and shining eyes and mischievous smile? Was I getting a glimpse into the past? Is this what my mother-in-law saw every evening when she put my child-aged husband to bed every night? I suddenly felt like a door had swung open and given me a peek at my husband’s childhood.

It’s interesting that God created us in this way. Each generation raising up the next. It’s a strange cycle. As a child I remember the urgency, the longing to be a grownup. Why? So that I could marry and have kids of my own, and those kids have a longing to grow up and have kids of their own, and so we perpetuate the human race. Each generation doing whatever they can to help the next generation along.

I am thankful for my parents. Thankful that I still have them close by. Thankful that they still care about me and want to know that everything is going well for me. I am also thankful that I have children that I can carry on the tradition with. Children who I can text on the phone, You doing ok? Want to come home for the weekend? And I am hopeful, so hopeful that one day my children will have children of their own who they will be checking up on even when they are all grown.

This whole generations thing…It feels like the goodness of God. As I sit in my chair, late at night, writing on my computer, all my children are upstairs in their bedrooms, the younger ones fast asleep, the older ones puttering around, trying to not give in to sleepiness till the last moment possible. Soon I will go climb into bed, snuggled warm against my husband. This is life. The life God created and gave to us. A gift.

Psalm 145 vs 4 says,

“One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.”

So, I declare to my children who read this, to the younger generations that have come up after me… God is good. This life he has given us is good. Marrying, having children, raising families, it is good. Maybe this is why:

“For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” Psalm 100 vs 5