Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Individuality and Motherhood

I noticed on the Power of Mom's website (one of my favorite websites) that their focus for this month is Individuality.  I have started to think about that in terms of my motherhood.  What is it about me that makes me a unique mother to my children and vice-versa?  Why were the children that I have sent to me?  Do I have strengths that my children can uniquely benefit from?  Or is it my weaknesses that will ultimately cause them to learn and grow and become their best selves? 

My son Tyler (8), hugged me the other night and said "Mom, you are the best mom I know!"  He then thought for a minute and said, "Actually, you are pretty much the only one I know... but I bet you are the best."  That pretty much sums it up.  I AM the only one he knows.  And I am really glad because I know that there are a heckuvalot better moms out there and I hope that he never discovers that fact! Because I am pretty much sure that almost every day I am ruining my children! 

There are things about my personality that don't mesh very well with my kids.  I am very type A, OCD-ish, kind of a high stress sort of mom.  I like things to be neat, orderly, and quiet.  I like a well-controlled environment.  Well God must think he is pretty funny because he sent me not one, but five very high energy, loud, messy, Adhd like kids!  My house is pretty much chaos from sun-up to sun-down.  I don't like chaos.  I spend most of my time and energy trying to contain it, box it up, and put it in it's place.  In the process, I am pretty sure I am ruining my children. 
Or are they ruining me?  I thought I was a really nice person before I had children.  I never knew that I could be a sweet, loving, good person one minute, and a stark raving mad lunatic the next!  Linda Eyre wrote a book once called "I Never Meant to be a Witch."  I think I am going to buy it. 

The other day I asked my daughter Sarah (5), what she wanted to be when she grew up. She weighs in at 54 pounds and stands at least 47 inches tall, so I half expected her to say she wanted to be a fullback when she grew up, or maybe a starting center for the WMBA.  But actually, she said she wanted to be a mom!  I said "Really? That's so awesome!"  She then replied, "Yah, then I can say, bad, bad, go to thinktime!" Ouch. That hurt. It is really hard to see yourself mirrrored in the eyes of your children.

I envy those mothers who just seem to roll with it.  They just drink it all up and take it in and love every minute of it - chaos and all.  Nothing seems to fluster them.  I wish I could be more like them.  But I'm not!

A good friend of mine, who happens to be a therapist (now there is a helpful profession for motherhood, why on earth I ever went out and got a worthless law degree is beyond me!), told me recently that we tend to think that parents shape kids, when in actuality it probably much more likely that kids shape parents.  Now there is a thought!  But perhaps it is a little of both.  Perhaps it is a combination of both my individual strengths and weaknesses as a mother, and the strengths and weaknesses that my children bring to the table that make the whole giant experiment turn out in the end... with the good things helping us through life and the Not So Good forcing us to struggle and grow and ultimately find ourselves and the strength of our character.  My friend the therapist also told me that God gives to us the relationships we need to help us discover just how beautiful we really are.  Now that is something to think about.

I found a quote today that I am going to put on my mirror (if I can find room).  It says: "Everything is going to be okay in the end.  If it is not okay, it is not the end."  Through all the struggle, and the wondering and the hoping, and the loving and the mistake making, I have to believe this is true.        


  1. Can't imagine I post I could relate to more! I've struggled with the same things so many times. (Trying to contain all the craziness rather than embracing it.) I often reflect on the home I grew up in. My mom was very project oriented. I don't remember spending much one on one time with her. I remember the crazy, messy, hectic life she had. But I always felt loved. I watched as she had her hands into 15 great things at the same time....making pies for the neighbors, geneology, little league baseball, sewing computer covers for schools to earn a few extra bucks for the family....etc. I think just watching her be who she innately was shaped who I am SO much today. I may not be the mom that is down in the floor playing all day (even though I know I should do more of that) but I do hope my kids feel loved and inspired as they see me trying to be a good person at home, church and in the community.

  2. Loved this post Stephanie. I to thought I was a nice person until I became a Mother. I so wanted to control everything and have everything the way I wanted it but trying to control 3 teenagers that are only your step-children made me learn that you can't control much of anything. haha Anyway, after having Sam I think I started to finally release a little and relax but it hasn't been easy. I loved your post though as I feel and relate to so much of what you were saying.

  3. Wow, this is a fantastic post! Thank you for being REAL. I feel the exact same way you do so it is a relief to read this because now I don't feel like "the only one". I love the quotes you mentioned and the thoughts you expressed. Our children do help to shape us. We are constantly refiguring things out and reshaping ourselves and our parenting techniques. Hopefully by the time my 5th child is 10 I'll have something figured out. I sometimes feel like I am "ruining" my kids too. God DID, however, send these children to me, knowing all my weaknesses, inadequacies, and even my strengths. Thanks again for posting this. I'll post it on facebook.

  4. Oh, WOW, what a great post! I'm so glad I'm not the only one who feels like I'm ruining my children because they tax me to the very limit (or sometimes I just have an ridiculously short fuse) and I lose it. Right after promising myself that I will be calm in the midst of (constant) chaos. I feel so guilty for not being a better mom and I wonder how I became the neurotic, low-chaos-toleration levels person that I am now...because I, too, thought I was a nice person before kids. :-)
    I love the quotes and thoughts you gave - I think I'm going to make a vinyl sign out of the one about being Okay at the End. I really need to internalize that - it's comforting to me on many levels. Thanks again!

  5. I'm so glad you are blogging again. I love reading your thoughts. You are a great mom!

  6. Glad I took the time to read your post friend. Love that last quote. I believe it is true too. I love how kids can be so loving in their words and humbling at the same time. I remember Leah telling me she couldn't wait to be a mom and added she would never yell at them. I think I wrote that down. I will give it to her kids.