Tag Archives: “Mothering is Not easy but it is good”

Mother Love

I woke up thinking of course a parenting blog needs a post in honor of Mother’s Day. It seems only fitting to give praise where it is due since I give constructive criticism fairly freely. Life is all about balance, right?

So this goes to every mother who has ever loved a child and felt it so deeply it is painful. And yet it is a love so deep you never thought you could feel love to that level. It’s an experience like no other.

There is a saying, “To be a mother is to forever walk around with your heart on the outside of your body.” It is the most versatile, demanding, rewarding, confronting and joyful job you could ever have–the hardest and the best. It stretches you like nothing else. You want so much for these little beings who are expressions of you and yet so uniquely themselves and so much more than you are, it is truly amazing. Sometimes its hard not to jump in and “help”. Your experience gives you an advantage and yet is a disadvantage.

Mothering is such a contradiction: to love so much it hurts, to want so much for them and yet to hold back and let them make mistakes and go through hard times, and to celebrate their triumphs and successes till you think your heart will burst.

Nothing hurts so much as being pushed away, ignored, “hated” by your own children or grandchildren. It takes everything you have to understand and maintain balance and self-worth in light of that, and yet you rejoice in that too, knowing it is healthy for them to come into their own individual independence.

And other times you realize it is just emotion–they don’t really hate you at all. I remember the first time my 6 yr-old-grandson said “I hate you grandma! I wish you would just go home!” It was like a slap, and yet I knew he didn’t mean it. And his 3-yr-old brother said, “No, Grandma! Don’t go home! I don’t want you to leave!” So even there God provided balance to help me keep mine.

One of my daughters only ever wanted to be a mother. I don’t think she ever wanted anything as much as that. And now she has five children. And is an amazing mom. She says, “This is a lot of children! They are glorious, beautiful, messy and painful.” She loves it. She says she sometimes aches that I am not there to share the beauty and the glory. Me too. Yet I do–from afar. I watch her and I am blessed. Each one is so different. So unique. So special. So loved. It definitely helps me understand God. Being a mother always has. I never really comprehended His love until then.

God is a mother as well as a father. Isn’t that just the coolest thought. We are each unique, each special, each so loved it hurts and thrills Them. All Three of Them God. All love you like that! All support you, cheer for you, and allow you to make mistakes–honoring your choices–even ones that cause pain. And They never stop loving. No matter what you do. They will let you do it–let you leave Them and Their love–and never stop loving. What amazing self-control! Amazing love. Even better than mother love! How is that possible? Only God!


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Mothering is Not Easy, but it is Good

Remember how easy it was to run to Mommy when you were hurt or in pain? Needing was natural then.

“Admitting the problem is half of the healing.”

I’m sure you’ve heard that before. Why is it so hard for us to do? Especially if we know how much it helps us?

I think, because we have all been hurt, we are in self-protective mode. We try to shunt responsibility elsewhere. For instance, I always think all the dirt in my house comes from my husband. I don’t even question it! Well, lately I had a humorous and painful thought. When he dies, I might be surprised at how much dirt is still here–and then I’ll have to admit that it’s me.

When you admit responsibility you have to do something. You have to look at yourself–admit you fail, admit you aren’t perfect, admit you are vulnerable.

Or, you get to do something! People who can’t admit they are wrong strain the relationships they are in, putting pressure on the people around them–the ones closest, including yourself.

We think admitting fault or weakness makes us less. Makes us look bad. Or this one–makes us vulnerable.  We don’t like to feel vulnerable –it scares us. We think we have to protect ourselves. What a silly notion. As if we really could! Most of our attempts make things worse–including us. It hardens our response ability into defensiveness (fear), instead of the free-flow of creative thought where solutions or new ideas come from. Defensiveness keeps us from growing. It makes those around us uncomfortable, and sometimes feel hopeless.

Welcoming a new perspective helps. Brene Brown has researched vulnerability for years and has found it to be  the most healthy attitude a person can have: knowing that you aren’t perfect, can make mistakes, and admit it.

Today I am so proud of my daughter for admitting she has post-partum depression! She has already started to feel better three days later! Yes, it can respond that fast. (And for any of you who are fighting depression, research has shown that 1000-4000 mg. of Omega 3/daily, and half as much of 6 and 9, is more effective than anti-depressants, as is exercise, and sunlight, or vitamin D if you have no sun, and in her case iron because of blood loss from birthing).

We knew she was suffering from sleep deprivation, and I noticed she looked like she did when she was depressed after her last son, but she wasn’t into the vulnerable place of being helped yet then. Her main coping mechanism has been to do it herself, take care of everything, be perfect.

In fact she confronted me on being judgmental about her technology. That wasn’t how I saw it, but man, did it hurt. There was just enough truth and just enough misunderstanding to really make it sting.

I didn’t know what to say, but when it hurts that bad, you have two choices: go into defensive mode or pray. So I breathed, and said to God, I don’t even know what to say. We were with her husband and mine, and someone said something, and I heard myself saying, “I just know that looking at yourself is really hard. It’s so painful that you can barely see yourself with any clarity.”

That broke the tension and everyone became more vulnerable. Everyone started sharing, and we even ended up praying together. It ended up making our last day much better.

A real big-picture perspective would show us how futile are our attempts at self-protection. With what we are up against–living in the war zone between good and evil–we regularly get slammed with discouragement and pain, and what fun the dark side has with our pretending to be good and right. They help us make big messes with denial and self-protection.

How much better to let God protect us, so we are free to be real: broken and vulnerable, not hiding, not defensive. Able to hurt, to need help, to be wrong–to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is good, healthy even.

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