The house is quiet, my girls are peacefully fast asleep, and I’ve just turned out the light, ready to turn in for the night. Immediately, my thoughts are stolen and taken captive by suffocating mom guilt.
Why couldn’t I just go get that Band-aid, even though there was no blood? Even though it was on the crease of the hand in which every mother across the universe knows Band-aids don’t stick. Would it have been so difficult to hug her and say, “I know it hurts sweetie?”
To me, yes.Why did I lose my cool so loudly and boldly to my daughter who I know struggles with impulsivity, high emotions, and easily misplaces stuff when she lost her jazz shoes . . . again? Could I not have had a stern talk with her about responsibility instead of crushing her into tiny little pieces?
No, I simply couldn’t contain my cool. And as much as I want to say it isn’t my heart to act this way, maybe, just maybe, my actions are revealing is my heart.
Where, Lord? Where was my grace in that moment? In all those moments. Daily.
Sometimes I feel like the only mother on the planet who cannot get this piece of motherhood right. The only mother who feels like something is genuinely missing within me. Something so integral to motherhood, that maybe I should have never even had children of my own if I cannot fully display love-in-action, especially when it is tremendously hard over something tremendously mundane.
I love them so fiercely, but I fear that my lack of nurturing ability clouds my love. My actions are not teaching them how to unconditionally love in return.
“No, I am not,” says the rational me.
Then I hear it yet again.
But still. What is that pattern teaching her? That it is OK to show lack of sympathy and misplace it with annoyance as long as you apologize?
I do not struggle, friend, with wanting your house or wanting your car or impeccable style or your fancy trips. I envy your heart, dear friends. I envy your natural ability to put yourself aside and beautifully nurture. I envy how your house can be a wreck but everyone is welcome inside. I envy something missing in me that is found in so many of you.
Yes, there are so many affectionate ways I love my children. For the most part, I know they feel and see my love way more than I am giving myself credit for. I know they feel valued and cherished and I know they are happy kids living in a happy family with a very happy life.
But ‘for the most part’ isn’t enough. I want them to feel all parts of my love. I cannot stop asking myself, will they remember those more plentiful moments of love or will they remember the ones where I am agitated and impatient and too busy cleaning or writing or being room mom? What am I doing to my seven-year old’s confidence? Her heart? Will she eventually feel lonely and misunderstood and unheard by the one who is supposed to hold her hand the tightest, listen to her the longest?
So I pray. I ask the Lord to fill me with attributes in which my flesh is fully incapable of.