My Greatest Challenge: Mother

Shortly after I was married, and cooking hamburger helper successfully, I started to prepare to be the best mother ever. {{I can’t stop laughing because I’m not kidding}}

I’ll be honest with you, I thought I had it in the bag! Seeing my parents struggle with their relationship, I was more worried about being a wife than a mother. After all – I was armed with my list of “Things I’ll never do when I’m a mom” which also included “Things I will make sure to do” as well as “Things to be sure to tell my children and not expect them to figure it out on their own”. I was all ready. (Where’s that list now, you ask? I burned it in the sink sometime around year 4 of motherhood.)

So, I set out xeroxing, coloring, and laminating file folder games, family home evening lessons, and talks. I had visions of playing these games with my happy and willing child in loving bliss. In between kisses, hugs, and lots of clapping, of course.

A full Rubbermaid of laminated goodies, a baby shower, and 3 years later my oldest son was born. My divine role as mother had begun.

Can you say colic?

I’m in California with out any family, with out a car, and with a baby that takes two 20 min naps a day, wakes up at 5:30am, and finally goes to sleep for only 3 hours at a time at 9:00pm. During the day he’s nursing every 2 hours. My boobs are huge and get infected regularly and I’m barley functioning because of all the crying.

Motherhood was NOT what everyone said it would be.

To make a long story short(er) I managed through ignorance, got through denial, barely made it through martyrdom, had a very angry period but we won’t elaborate, cried and prayed a lot, was rescued by a team of angels and … after repeating many of the same stages … I’m now in acceptance.

“Hello, my name is Laurie and I won’t ever be the best Mom ever. Actually, I no longer want to be. I want to raise responsible boys who will grow up to be wonderful husbands and fathers. I’m willing to get my hands dirty to make that happen. I don’t want to enable, spoil, or play the martyr. Life is hard and many times we have cereal for dinner.”

Motherhood is different for all of us. I’ll never forget an Oprah I saw when Davis was 4 and at his most difficult. She was featuring several different mothers. One was saying that being a mother was the most wonderful experience ever and another one said “Being a mother sucks 80% of the time!”. I started crying. Finally someone could relate to how I was feeling.

My experience in being a Mother is listening to criticism of my children daily, figuring out how to teach them new skills by reading boring books instead of romantic novels, going through the tedious motions of trying to change those behaviors. In the meantime, knowing that you won’t know if it all works until they’re grown. All the while, hoping they won’t then resent you for what you’ve had to put them through to give them the best chance at a happy life.

My story reads more like a gothic novel than a Jane Austen classic but “that’s life”. I don’t expect to have my fairytale ending. That’s not my purpose in life. I’m just doing the best I can with what I’ve got and that’s ok.

So if you’re struggling with your divine role as mother, I am too. {{hugs}}

23 thoughts on “My Greatest Challenge: Mother

  1. Wow! Thank-you so being so frank. I find your thoughts totally refreshing. Here’s to another year survived as a mother – Happy Mother’s Day!

  2. Fabulous post! It’s hard on Mother’s Day to not think of the Mom we feel we’re not. I’ve never met you, but just from reading your blog, I think you are a fabulous woman & mom. Anyone who says being a mom is wonderful and blissful 100% of the time is fooling herself.

    Hope you have a wonderful Mom’s Day!

  3. You are the best, and I completely relate!! It was so so great to meet you last weekend. I just love you!

  4. I have been reading your blog for over a year now and I am amazed at your time and efforts at being a mother. I often say to my husband, “Motherhood is down in the trenches–doing all of the hard physical work.” Boy, our muscles are strong!

  5. Thanks for sharing. I think we all feel like some time or another.

    The best advice I ever got was when I went in to get my staples removed from my c-section. The nurse removing the staples said to me, “You know, you don’t have to be superwoman.” That was a relief, because that’s what I was trying to be.

  6. I am so happy you wrote that-

    I so agree with the “that’s life” attitude-( my blog has that title!)
    Its how we react to all the “stuff” that happens, that was not in our plans- that really matters in the end.

    I read a talk last weekend, and there was this quote- that made me think and encouraged me to continue on with the seemingly endless task of just continuing on in the direction I need to go- when often it feels like I am getting nowhere.

    “One of the trials of life is that we do not usually receive immediately the full blessing for righteousness or the full cursing for wickedness. That it will come is certain, but ofttimes there is a waiting period that occurs …”

    Keep carrying on with your greatest challenge! You can do it!

  7. Ditto and ditto! I am also a reforming perfectionist-mom. Stepping out of my giant expectations has made me realize the truly great things about life and being a mom…and none of them have to do with myself but more about how much joy comes from reaching out to someone else. It is obvious you do an excellent job of that! (Mother’s Day hug for you 🙂

  8. What a great post Laurie! I agree 100%. Being a mom in the church is especially hard. Don’t get me wrong I don’t want to raise my kids out of the church, but there’s a lot of pressure there too.
    You are a great mom! Happy Mother’s Day!

  9. happy mama’s day! i was delusional about the kind of mom i’d be, and the bliss that being a mom would bring me. HA! like i said delusional. great post. i’m with ya. we eat cereal too.

  10. These were wise and honest words. Thanks for sharing with humor and honesty–much appreciated. We LOVE cereal for dinner around here. 😉

  11. I love your “candidness!” So, well said! Even though I’ve never met you, I think you’re an amazing, dedicated mom! Thanks for your inspiring posts and ideas.
    Have a wonderful mother’s day!!

  12. Laurie, that was soooo great. I love that you can be so honest.
    I love the comment that motherhood sucks 80% of the time! That’s hilarious and true. But we love it because it is more of a calling than a job and we are compelled by love.
    Happy Mother’s Day!

  13. What great thoughts! I laughed as I read it, remembering doing some of the same things. Shortly after my 1st was born, I remember sitting in our living room crying, convinced God had made a mistake entrusting me with this child and that I had already done things that were going to “ruin” him. As my kids have grown, I have many regrets of what I wish I had done when they were little, but I feel like I did the best I could, and that is what is expected of us. My kids are turning into responsible, awesome ‘tweens, despite all I did to ruin them. I struggle on a daily basis still of what I ‘should’ be doing, and hoping that it will all work out anyway! Thanks for being so open and honest! Happy Mother’s Day!

  14. You really ARE amazing, especially after reading that post! I love your honesty. And thank you for confirmation that there are others out there that feel the way I do sometimes!

  15. Amen, sister!! I sometimes wonder whether I’m the odd one out – like I’m the only one not finding the ‘joy of motherhood’ in everyday! If more people were as candid as you, then the rest of us would make a huge sigh of relief 🙂

  16. I love your perspective–it’s been hard to shed the desire to be a perfect mom, when really, I just need to be good enough. Great post!

  17. You are awesome, and I am so happy that we are friends.

    Totally love the gothic novel ref. … ummmm…. love Mr Rochester.

  18. Thanks for sharing your feelings about that. Great post, it really spoke to me!
    It was nice to meet you, if for only a sec. at Rochelle’s the other night. I like how I almost dropped my drink because I was so overwhelmed to meet a blog celebrity hehe!

  19. I loved that Laurie!
    I had to laugh because I too, thought I would probably have it in the bag. I was older, had been the oldest of 8, had run a few group homes for people with special needs, and thought “how hard can it be?”. Anyway, I wanted to let you know that I related to this in so many ways and I am still looking for that T-shirt you told me about that says “my parents are exhausted”.
    You are so awesome.

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