I’ve been a mom for almost 11 years now and yet motherhood still scares me. My children don’t scare me. Well, technically they do a little. But what scares me is how I mother them.
Oprah Winfrey once said, “I believe the choice to become a mother is the choice to become one of the greatest spiritual teachers there is.”“I believe the choice to become a mother is the choice to become one of the greatest spiritual teachers there is.” - Oprah Winfrey Click To Tweet
Honestly, that is probably what scares me the most. Besides being a meal preparer, a lunch packer, a laundry tackler, a bottom wiper, a bandage putter-onner, a boo-boo kisser, and a best hugging-human-Kleenex, I am a spiritual teacher.
Thinking of myself as a teacher in general just makes me laugh. So many times, I feel like the what-not-to-do example.
If only parenting were as easy as “do what I say, not what I do.”
I think about the behavior modeling I exhibit to my children. And I feel like a failure.
How many times have they seen my knee jerk reactions and overreactions to situations?
Are they perceiving the moments when I lift my hands up and cry out, “God, help me?” or do they just see me throwing my hands up in frustration?
Have I demonstrated to the boys that setbacks are temporary opportunities for us to contemplate the path we’re traveling? They may trip us up, but they don’t keep us down.
Or that bravery and courage aren’t just terms for the battleground, but for the battlefield of life?
Do they understand that even the wealthiest people are poor if they aren’t rich in love? And that money doesn’t buy happiness?
Am I showing them that joy comes from knowing what God says about us, not how much success we have or possessions we own?
Friends, not many things scare me (well, besides snakes and breastfeeding my little ones when they grew teeth). But motherhood… it can be downright terrifying!
I am still a little resentful that a how-to manual didn’t come with my boys. After giving birth, I was waiting for my “what to do with this tiny person” instruction set. But none of my boys came with one so I guess we just fumble through together.
I know that ultimately, we will all damage our children in some way. We are flawed human beings raising flawed human beings.
We weren’t designed to be perfect. And therefore, our parenting won’t look perfect either.
I don’t know about you, but when I feel disrespected, unheard, and sassed by my child, my voice gets raised. And I yell.
When I’m frustrated, I give the nose-flared, angry-eye stare down. And yell.
If I’m hurt or overly stressed, I go one of two ways… shut down mode or yelling.
And when I can’t control the anxiety and emotions within, I become critical and try to control my surroundings… including my children.
This stuff scares me. I find it scary that my weaknesses may be their interpretation of normal and I’m afraid to think this is how my boys will remember their mother. Even as much as I try to fix it, to yell less and love more, I am a sad cry from being the mom I want to be.
Motherhood is as much about how we as moms see ourselves and model that to our children (both consciously and unconsciously) as it is what activities we involve our children in or what we feed them for dinner.
But on the flipside, I know my kids best.
I can read their faces even when they’re in denial of their feelings. I can tell by their behavior if they’re hungry, tired, or had too much screen time.
I am aware of the funky odor that will flood the house when their sweaty shoes have stomped through puddles at school.
I can tell when they need cuddling or encouragement. I know when they need a push to move them past their comfort zone.
And maybe, just maybe, my personal flaws and shortcomings as a mom will be the very things that draw us into a deeper parent/child relationship. Seeing that mom isn’t perfect may help them navigate the crazy they will experience in their lives and help them accept themselves for the incredible person they were designed to be.
So, does motherhood actually scare me? Heck yeah. But this thrill ride is nothing shy of amazing!
Let’s talk feelings. What do you find as the scariest or most intimidating part of mothering? Please share in the comments below.