Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Dripping Wet, Cocoa in the Tub

I don't usually feel like a good mom. I used to. I did all sorts of "good mom" things. Like let them go play in the pouring rain, come inside dripping wet, get them in the warm tub, and serve them hot cocoa in the bath. That's the stuff good mom's do. Read them chapter books. Feed them super healthy, homemade food. Do art projects and science experiments. Go to China with them. Make them eat their peas.

I used to do those things. But life got fast and complicated and more multi-faceted than this mom could keep up with. There have been lots of days, maybe even weeks, when I didn't do any good-mom deeds. Days when all I did was love them from a high speed distance while I try to keep all my plates spinning. Sometimes I've felt bad about that. Someone pointed out to one of my older kids that the younger kids are "being raised differently than the older kids were." I think it was dripping with judgment and condemnation, but I'm not sure.

I sleep good at night in spite of all this. Why? Because I know that being a good mom plays out in a hundred different genres and colors. God hasn't given me big kids and little kids at the same time so that I would be laden with guilt that their upbringings are different. I think He's given me these 5 kids all spread out in ages so that I could know Him in a different color. Need Him in a different genre. Rely on His grace more acutely. He shows me that my goodness, even as a mom, isn't what works. It isn't what makes a child grow up and be something special. It's Him. And He doesn't need my pre-packaged formula to work in their hearts. He uses me. But He doesn't need me.

8 comments:

Through the Sea Glass said...

I love this post. So precious and from the heart. I think you have both done amazingly well and I love you. I think you are a fantastic mother and I'm pretty sure your kiddos think your the coolest. I never got cocoa in the tub!! I'm putting that in my notes of things I want to do for my children! You are such a wonderful example. I look up to you.

Leslie said...

Kristine,

This is such a bare-naked express your feelings post. Thank you for sharing your heart. If we think about it, all our kids are raised different because they are different kids not cookie cutter kids. Each of my kids need different things. Hot cocoa in the tub does sound fun though but I simply can't imagine you not being a good mom.

Rambling Tart said...

"I think it was dripping with judgment and condemnation, but I'm not sure." That's officially my favorite quote of the day. :-) I'm so glad you are at peace with where you are. I'm learning to be at peace with my adventure, whether others approve or not. Cheers to a beautiful life, no matter what it looks like. :-)

Brenda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brenda said...

Hey, I deleted the first one because I spelled words wrong. Vain or what? Here's what it said:

Ok silly, YOU are a REALLY good mom, so enough of that talk! (I do know what you mean though... sigh.) It's by design that we don't raise our kids all in the same way. They are unique people. We are different parents as time goes along. Imagine acting like a first time mother with kid number 3, 4, 5 or ???

I firmly believe that as parents, we do the best we can, given what we know and how we are equipped at each point in time. With my first, I didn't know much, and it was reflected in my parenting. With my third, I knew more, and my parenting was different. THIS is not a crime. Even people who I would actually consider a bad parent are doing the best they can, given what they know and how they are equipped. I think that rare is the parent who actually doesn't care if they are a bad parent. If your parenting is different now than it was 20 years ago, that's a sign of time/growth, not being a bad mom.

Isn't there some verse about judging the speck in one's eye? (ok, I KNOW there is this verse, I just don't know where it comes from at the moment.) Be polite about the log in another person's eye. They will find it soon enough. And if they don't, God's spirit will direct them to it when the time is right.

Thanks for your honesty in this post. You are strong and brave and you guys are doing what is right for your family at this point in time. Love you!

Gma Judy said...

You are a great mother!! This is like looking back at life. "If only I had done something differently" I don't think our children look at growing up that way. (at least I hope not) I think I rmember more of the good moments, growing up, than the not so great moments. We can't relive the past, but go forward doing the best we can with the guidance that God provides, maybe with a little input from those that love us.

Leanne said...

Hi Kristine,

Brenda and I had a chat about this post today! SO many thoughts, and I'm pretty confident that anything I could add to the discussion you already know.

I always tell my kids that my goal is to treat them uniquely, according to their needs, not treat them equally. When I think of doing everything exactly the same with each of my kids...isn't that what animals do with their litters?

And, like Brenda, I like to think that I've grown and matured as a mother as my kids have grown. And I know that anywhere I mess up as a mom is opportunity for Jesus to shine brighter in our lives.

Remember that the only woman who has all the answers as a parent and knows how to do it all "right" is one who has not experienced motherhood yet.

And I have NEVER served my kids hot cocoa in the tub. Doggone it. There goes my Mother of the Year Award nomination.

Continue to sleep well ~ you are in good company in this whole motherhood journey!!

~Leanne

Mary Ann C. said...

Hello, friend! Your sentiments are the beat of my heart these days. I feel all spread out too but am stepping away to look at things with new eyes. Oh what "good" things we can raise up as standards of measure! Chapter books and homemade bread and homeschooling, etc...nice, but certainly not necessary and potentially dangerous if we gaze at ourselves and these things so long and so hard that we become defined by them (and worse, begin to define others by them). A person I know VERY WELL calls this "Motherhood as a competitive sport".
On this Mothers Day let's breathe in the grace of the Gospel as it applies to motherhood, yes?

I check on your blog from time to time. I have to because you never call me (smile :))