Monday, January 14, 2013

Grace for mothering

There are days when I lack the desire to mother. Days that are long, filled with tears, whines, complaints,  dirty socks and dumped out blocks. Every job has rough days. Mothering is not to be excluded. 

Plans can be made, intentions be set, lists to check off, but bubbles in the turtle tank, feverish babies who want to be held, quick trips to the store for forgotten class snacks, can derail the best laid plans in exchange for sickies on the couch or unplanned 3-hour aquarium cleaning sessions instead. 

Sometimes, at the end of days like that, like this, and sometimes in the midst of it, I feel guilty for dreaming of far away lands where no one is demanding my attention, my energy, or my patience. Where no one complains of the meal I'm making or that their pesky brother is still talking and won't be quiet 63 minutes after bedtime. I feel guilty because I wish that I could just snap out of it and be the cheerful, patient, energetic mom with fun up her sleeves and supper on the table. I feel guilty for not living in the moment, for knowing that time is fleeting and I will never get these moments back. I know there are people, I know people, who wish for this, the pitter-patter of feet that sound nothing like pitter-patters and more like rowdy buffalo stampeding. They long for someone to need them, for the cries of mama for the umpteenth time to get more juice, for never ending stories about all the amazing character traits and powers of 567 different Pokemon dudes. 

Am I ungrateful, I ask myself? Do I not value these precious gifts? No, I am not ungrateful, and I do value the children I am blessed with. And while I suppose I could be more grateful and spend more time reveling in the multitude of ways I'm blessed, the thing is... I'm human. I'm human in my need for solitude, for re-energizing, for the need to not be needed for just a little while. 

If there's one thing I've learned as a mother, it's that I need to take time, to make time, for me. It's not selfish, it's survival. Even Jesus sought time to be alone. The marvelous thing about taking that time, is that the next day, I'm a much better mom. I can listen to the Pokemon business and even manage to feign interest (sorry, Pokemon, it's unlikely you'll ever win my affections), I can hug and cuddle without the urge to flee far and fast - no 'I don't want to be touched' syndrome. I can tickle the way out of a tantrum, and I can listen and watch and participate with much more enjoyment, not just mere tolerance. I can be wholly thankful for the precious lives I tend and direct.

God, I ask that you would grant me grace for myself in knowing it's ok to need a break, and grace for those days, weeks or months when it's just not possible. Lord, help me to be the best mom I can be in all moments, and may the moments that are scratchy and jagged, void of the overflow of love, be moments where you rise up and shine when I do not. Amen.


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