I was scrolling through Facebook the other day and decided to read through my “On This Day” section. It was a tad disappointing. You see, after I got through the sweet memories of The Bonus and V, I got to a memory from seven years ago. You know the year where photo sharing and political memes weren’t quite the craze and actually sharing something from your own brain was? Well, my brain was thinking this.
Okay a tad boring for 2016, but my brain started thinking this….Ugh. Motherhood sucks. I went through an entire train of thought of how unintelligent I feel. I mean, I used to read about ancient civilizations on my free time! I tackled a book a week, sometimes more! I watched documentaries and The Hubs and I had really in depth
conversations arguments about the hippie movement, the history of slavery, the political impact of gangsta rap, and his personal favorite….economics. We discussed the creative abilities of Tupac. We talked for hours about the future, our passions, and goals. We stayed up late watching rented movies and went out to see the new ones. I was organized and attacked projects from start to finish. I cooked interesting meals that took 45+ minutes of prep and equally as long to find the ingredients at the store. I slept. Did I mention I read books? Real books that didn’t rhyme and the only picture was a black and white headshot of the author on the back cover. Oh how I miss reading all.the.time.
I seriously could go on and on about how motherhood stinks. You can probably add your own reasons on why it stinks for you too. But there is one reason it doesn’t stink for me. The most important. And no it isn’t all the happy horse poo about how wonderful it is to have little eyes look into mine with all that love and how much joy it brings to see the big eyes light up with success on the sports field. I absolutely LOVE those moments. But they are moments and moments are fleeting. They quickly turn to strict boundaries and frustration as we guide these lives we are trusted with for 18 short years. It’s called parenting and it is hard.
The one reason motherhood doesn’t suck is God.
Becoming a parent is one of the reasons I knew God was real and that His love was best. You see, I grew up in a church with a lot of rules and expectations. At least that is how I perceived it. It really left a bad taste in my mouth about church and God. I felt like I had to consistently make the right choices and be perfect or I wouldn’t be loved or accepted by Him or any of the people who I thought were following Him. Since I was growing up and learning to find my way, I was always messing up. Always sinning. Always feeling less than enough for this big God whose wrath would come down upon me if I continued to mess up. I carried that belief with me for a long time.
Now, as I am raising a preschooler and a teenager, I see God’s love very clearly. I understand why He asks us not to make certain choices. It isn’t to control us. It is simply to love us. I try to teach Sweet V to use kind words and tell her no to certain shows and too much screen time. I give her specific healthy foods to help her body grow and restrict too much sugar because I know the long term consequences. She loses privileges when she isn’t using her “listening ears.” I warn The Bonus about apathy and anger and lack of self-discipline. We talk about fairness, hard work, and forgiveness. We talk about the consequences of too much of anything and even a little bit of sex, drugs or alcohol. He has been grounded for lying and lectured for choosing too much fun over a little more effort. Our family has boundaries. A lot of them. And it isn’t because we want to control our children, it is because we love them too much not to guide them toward the path that will help them discover their future. A future God wants to help them thrive in.
We love them and ask them not to do certain things because of that love. But when Sweet V or her big bro falter, we do not immediately cast them out of the family and home. We actually strive to bring them closer to us and remind them of their worth. Their potential. Their future. We beg and plead with them to make the right choice. We get angry and frustrated when they just don’t figure it out and sometimes we allow a consequence in order to say that is not okay to continue to do. Then we beg and plead again saying, please just listen to what we are telling you and please, please let us help you do that. We will hold your hand if you still need it and we will sit with you and figure out this puzzle or geometry homework if you would only make the choice to let us. And if you don’t, we still love you, I still love you, with my entire being.
I think that is what God wants for us. He just wants us to understand His love and stay in His protection. He knows the consequences of porn, gluttony, materialism, and sex outside of marriage. He knows the consequences of bitterness, rage, envy and pride. He asks us to avoid certain choices and let go of bad habits. There are consequences to our choices and we have free will to make them. But that doesn’t mean He loves us less when we mess it all up and He isn’t there the second we ask Him to come help. Just like a mom who snatches her toddler away from the fire while camping and then rocks her gently to sleep after such a fright, God wants to snatch us away from the fire of life outside of His boundary and give us peace and comfort after we mess it up. I am not sure that is a lesson I would have ever learned or trusted if not for becoming a parent. He sent us Jesus to remind us of that self-less love and to say no matter what we do, no matter what, He will forgive us and love us and be there to help when we ask. We can trust His grace and mercy even if when we are suffering the consequences of our choices. I know this because this is how I love my children.
So, I guess not having time or energy to read about world history, create 5 course gourmet meals and hang out all weekend with girlfriends is worth it if I can understand the incredible love of the Big Guy in the sky. The One who made me. And these two awesome kiddos aren’t so bad either.
Maybe your parents were bad examples of love and grace filled boundaries and guidance. Maybe you are struggling with showing those same things to your own kids. Remember, every day is a day to start new. Heck, every minute is a chance to start again. Don’t give up. Keep pressing forward and trying to make your house a love filled home. Life is good. High five for home.
What is your one reason parenthood doesn’t suck? Let us know in the comments.