The Dichotomy of Motherhood

One of the things that intrigued me and excited me about Motherhood, was having the opportunity to have a front row seat to seeing a human life enter this world, develop, grow, and become an fully integrated adult in society. The fact that I would have a direct impact and influence in the upbringing and development of that child seemed to be an honor and gift that I felt like I would forever treasure.

Yet occasionally, exhausted from Mothering, drained from having to instruct, teach, encourage, reprimand, and focus the actions of my children all day long, that excitement seems to be a dim reminder fading in the distance like water evaporating after the rain on a hot day.

I often think about how parenting ends up being so m any opposing things at one time.

I can honestly say that I believe I am a good Mom. And in the same breath I can say with equal honesty that I feel most days my kids are being short changed when it comes to having me as a Mom. I am loving yet impatient. I am fair yet irrational. I love them fiercely and would not trade them yet wonder why in the world I volunteered for this incredibly beauty, demanding, difficult, draining. sometimes fun job. What was I thinking? I ask myself. Thoughts like... It seemed like a good idea at the time... is jokingly floating through my mind on bad days when I want to laugh and cry at the same time.  And scream. Some days I just want to howl in frustration.

Then Joel, my 5  year old, says something  new and profound and beautiful. His intuition and innate compassion and thoughtfulness takes my breath away. Ten minutes later he incessantly picks on his brother and my short tempered impatience flares and acts in ways I think I'd be embarrassed about if other Moms could see me.

Then Alvaro wakes up from a nap, and cuddles with me while I watch TV. He's soft and squishy and tender. He grabs my faces and spontaneously gives me kisses to tell me he loves me. And I'm lost in the beauty of the moment. Two hours later he's whining and throwing tantrums and I just want to run far far away. Not from him per say. But from the noise. The constant noise and cries and tantrums and sibling fights that seem to occupy more of my time mothering than the sweet tender moments.

I think its crazy that in one moment I feel like I am Enough and the best qualified person to love and care for my children. Nobody is the expert on their lives like I am. Then I spend hours reading books, asking questions, and seeking advice because I feel so lost and don't know what the heck I'm doing and feel like the farthest thing from Enough.  If I could just find a way that actually worked for us to get my kids to eat real food, stop talking back, and stop fighting with each other, then maybe I'd feel better qualified or like more of a successful parent.

But when I really stop to think about it and wonder what I want my kids to remember about me being their Mom it has little to do with eating their peas, keeping their hands to themselves, or not talking to back. Respect is important, but its not what I want them to think about.

I want them to reflect on my mothering and see a cheerleader. I want them to see someone who is always in their corner, win or lose. I want them to know without the shadow of a doubt that there is someone in this world who thinks they are amazing, no matter what. I want them to have learned the value of hard work, honesty, and integrity. I want them to know that God cares for them and if they  feel like there is no one in the world they can count on, they can always count on Him. I want them to know that others are worth being honored and respected and given dignity to. No matter what they look like, what they do, or what limitations societies tries to put on them. And selfishly, I want them to look back on their growing up years and think of me with fondness and tenderness. Even though some days, I don't feel I earn that.

One thing I never knew or expected about Motherhood was the constant dichotomy I would live in. Being blessed to have the boys. Feeling like their slowly driving me mad. Feeling guilty for not being perfect or more of a "better" mother. Feeling drained and lost and not knowing which way to turn when something isn't working. Feeling like they couldn't survive in this world without me because no one can love them quite like I can.


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