Friday, November 15, 2013

Motherhood, Grace, and the Lack Thereof.

I have a million blog posts running through my head. 
And not enough time

But there has been one lesson that I just keep getting hit smack in the face with.  And I need to record it and write about it and process it right now.
And since this blog is basically my journal and scrapbook of sorts all rolled into one, 
you're gonna hear about it. 

Motherhood.  And Grace.
[and the lack thereof]

There are a lot of times I think I shouldn't have kids.  
I love my kids.  Like there's no tomorrow.
But I just cannot get it together.
Today we missed the school buses.  Not one, but two.  That is ridiculous.
One kid wouldn't get out of bed, because she got up about 13 times through the night and then decided to crash at about 5am.  The other kid... well... was still studying for the math test her mom forgot about.
Homework... I just... I can't.  I had these dreams of making flash cards and being super on top of all of the projects and I just can't do it.  I literally have to count backwards in my head during reading homework just to keep from running through the house screaming.  And these 14-page study guides for tests in the first grade?  I can't do it.  I can't remember when it is library day or who is supposed to have on tennis shoes for PE, and oh... today was wear green day for character counts and... guess whose kids didn't have on green?  I'm already trying to remember work and ballet and soccer and cheerleading tryouts and Sparks and Cubbies and more work and therapy... doing too many things and none of them well.
So that brings me back to motherhood.  And why I think sometimes the Lord was craaazy when He gave me three kids.  And I told Him so in my head today as I drove books my child forgot to school while on a conference call for work.

I know for a fact that there are mothers who look at me and think I'm insane.
I don't homeschool.  Refer to the above paragraph.
I don't make homemade medicines.  We do vaccines.
The extra outfit is never in the diaper bag when the baby has an explosion.  But its always in there when everyone is perfectly clean and tidy.  I hate doing laundry and usually we run out of clean clothes before I trek down into the dungeon [basement] to wash something. 
I work full-time and then some.  At home, which some people think means my house should be clean and my laundry should be done and dinner should be made... but those people haven't worked at home. 

I think mothers are some of the most forgiving creatures... forgiving of their children.
They are also some of the most judgemental creatures...of other mothers.
It has gotten out. of. control.

And this brings me to grace. 
We all do things differently.
When my oldest was born, I knew exactly who I wanted to be and how I wanted to mother.
And about an hour into that venture, I threw all the books out the window and declared myself a failure.
That dimpled kid is ever so patient with me, and I am ever so grateful.
I'm figuring this motherhood thing out, one day at a time, 6 years later.

With baby #3, breastfeeding has been a... challenge.  Maybe that isn't the right word.  The baby nurses fine.  I don't mind feeding her.  I haven't had infections.  I just don't have enough milk.  I've tried.  It isn't that I didn't want to do it.  I nursed her standing up in a line at Disney world when it was 90 degrees, for crying out loud.  I gave it a really, really good effort.
I've breastfed all 3 children.  I've read books.  I know that I should quit supplementing and take herbs and drink teas and pump every 2 hours all weekend.  But my husband works weekends and I have two other children who need to go places and be at things... and I can't do that.  During the week I have conference calls and meetings, and my husband and I trade off the baby when he isn't working and I am.  And that is just the way it works for our family.  But I've really struggled with the reality that I probably need to make the jump over to formula.  And my struggle isn't because of my emotions or worry about the baby... we'll be fine.  It is because I am afraid of being judged.  By other mothers. 

I work full-time.  That is what God has provided for our family.
My kids go to public school.  That is the choice we had peace about.
I can't sew.  I don't know home remedies.  I try to plan ahead but more often than not live in the moment.
I'm making the switch to formula feeding. 
I rocked my 3 year old to sleep until about 2 months ago. 
I don't really let my kids drink soda.  But they've had plenty of bowls of cereal for dinner. 
We don't go to story time or have play dates because I'm working.
We have someone that comes and helps at our house some afternoons so that we can all get to where we need to be and keep the house kind of clean doing it.  
We do pacifiers, a lot of baby holding/spoiling, and we have a very dirty car.

I need grace.
Don't we all?
I'm still trying to get it all together.  We all fight different battles.  We don't know what goes on inside the houses of those around us. There is a kid that might be eating a granola bar for breakfast while waiting on the bus... because the parents are inside prepping for a trip to UVA with a child who can't eat... and they didn't want her to see her sister eating breakfast.  A mom might be in her pajamas when her kids get off of the school bus in the afternoon... because she's alternated between conference calls and feeding a newborn all day and hasn't had time to get dressed.  There are children who sleep in the bed with their parents, because that is what they chose.  There is a mom who is paying to have her house cleaned because she just can't do it all herself. 

Grace, my friends.
Not everyone can do things the way you do them.
And that's okay.
Motherhood is different for everyone.
And that's okay.
Some people can make pinterest crafts.  Some can put together a powerpoint that will rock your world.  Some can keep their floors clean enough to eat on.  Some are the breadwinners of their families and wish they were able to mop their own floors.  Some are public speakers, some are doctors working crazy hours on a residency.  Some are stay at home moms that gave up their careers.  Some are trying to do it all because they don't have a choice.
Grace and more grace. 

So do me a favor.  The next time you see the 4 year old with the pacifier, don't judge his mom.
Look past the next dirty-faced toddler throwing the tantrum in the grocery store.  
When you see a mom give a bottle to that tiny baby, don't assume she's less because she isn't nursing.  She tried... and she's probably still battling guilt over it.

At the end of the day... the important thing is not that your kids wore the right color to school, or that they watched only baby einstein videos, or that you made them all-organic baby food with your own two hands.  You aren't a bad mom if you work, or if you don't work.
The important thing is this...  that they are loved, and they love others.
It is that they learn to be mature, responsible, kind people who do their best.
Even if their best isn't what their neighbors think it should be.
So tonight I will close with this, and then I'm going to sit next to a pile of clean clothes and watch tv, because I've been going nonstop since 5:30am and I can.
I want every mother out there tonight to know that I see you.  And you are doing your best.  And you're rocking it.  Those gray areas?  They are grace areas to me, friend.
Love on those babies, and give yourself a hug.
Mommyhood isn't for the faint of heart, and whatever your flavor, you're a rockstar.