The Trials of Mothering: The Need for Perspective
My husband is currently teaching the midweek Bible study at the church we attend. The topic is Faith and Service. This week we discussed how we sometimes start out so strong in our faith and then fizzle out.
I said that sometimes the seasons of life overtake us, and we focus on whatever needs an immediate solution. My husband has a stressful job, but he’s only there for a limited time. However, I’m Mom 24/7, rain or shine, in sickness and in health, and there are no vacation days from the responsibility of raising these little people into adulthood.
Now, I’m not saying it’s a terrible job. On the contrary, like a certain branch of the military, “it’s the hardest job you’ll ever love!” But I am saying that I am so close to the day-to-day operations that the sheer myopia is stunning in its dizzying intensity.
I second guess myself all the time. I feel guilt. I agonize over “doing the right thing.” Castigate myself when I think I’ve been cranky or harsh in my wording. I “get” my role in the big picture, but I often don’t see it being so close up. It’s like gaining weight…It’s gradual and then you see a picture of yourself and you can’t believe it compared to earlier pictures. (That works the other way, too, with weight loss….but we’re dealing with my experience here….*sigh*)
But then, someone from the outside looks in and you see what you don’t often give yourself credit for. Someone will say something specific about your child and you see a glimpse of your mothering that validates all you’ve done….and it feels really good!
I think mothers are very hard on themselves. We commiserate with each other, but sometimes we tear each other down to feel better about ourselves. Few really do care how old your tyke was when s/he began walking or talking. The real question is, “How are you as a mother? Am I doing a better job than you are? I’m insecure and I need to know…” It’s about self-validation because we are so close to the situation.
I may not always blog here, but ever since my oldest was born, I’ve blogged somewhere. And, when I begin to doubt myself — because this job is far too important — I look at some old blog posts and I see that I’ve done pretty well by my kids, and it gives me the power to stay the course a little longer.