Just this week I asked some of my friends if there were moms out there who felt they were acing his whole mom thing. Faced with kids who won't listen to me, who won't eat their meals without threats and coercion, who won't leave the house clean for 15 minutes, who fill a basket of laundry in a day, who are mean to each other and to me, who bicker and fight and whine and talk back and blatantly disobey my orders, little TV addicts... I have felt I am failing as a mother, and that this is really really hard. I have felt ill equipped and half of the time like I'm just fumbling in the dark, parenting from what I experienced growing up and not necessarily from a script that will give me great results. I have been frustrated and snappy, wondering where I missed the special button that makes children listen and obey on one touch.
The consolation was that the mommies I talked to were struggling like me, wondering what they can do to get good results with their children. Jokingly we said we are throwing away every script we ever received on parenting and all expectations we had laid out and start from scratch - re-learning. We were going to let God teach us bow to mother right. We were letting God our kids mother through us since we were screwing it up.
As part of a study we are undertaking, we have had to first appreciate that you can't put new wine in old wine skins. God is exposing our old thought patterns , habits and traditions that are making it it hard for Him to mother our children through us. These old mindsets have been sabotaging anv efforts to accommodate the new wine of God's truths. We found that we have been borrowing ideas and philosophies from here and from here and then trying to take patches of God's word and sewing it onto our tattered ideas. The result of course is dysfunction, frustration and an immense sense of failure.
God is still shining the light of his word on all our stinky habits and selfishness, which are stopping us from being the parents we desire to be. I have issues with anger and impatience and meanness and these make it hard for God's love and peace to flow through me to my children. As it is, I am doing a prett bad job reflecting God's love to these babies. I have old habits carried forward from childhood, like whining and yelling and snapping that undermine m efforts o be a good mommy. My introversion too keeps getting in my way. I crave for personal space, especially during this quarantine/ social distancing/ Covid-19 mess where we are all cramped together at home, with little breathing space and no school. But every time I try to get into my zen zone I am rudely yanked out by a two-ear-old who wants attention or by bickering five and seven who just know the right buttons to push me to make me lose my marbles. I struggle because I want to be in control, to dictate things and behaviours and results, having things the way I want them, when I want them. But as long as I am dealing with sinful little two, five and seven year-olds, that is forever going to be a battle of wills where we both lose.
Maybe I feel this overwhelming sense of failure because God is shining his light on me as he makes me the woman, wife and mother he wants me to be. As I recognise my inadequacies, I pray this journey will lead to a place where God removes all the things inside me that make me a horrible mother, deal with the sin in me, and lead me to a place of equipping and reliance on Him as he does this parenting thing through me.
If you are acing this, or have gone ahead of me and have one or two secrets to share, I am all ears. After all, it takes a village. Meanwhile, I will keep sharing how our stud is going and which stinks the Holy Spirit has been unearthing and forcing me to deal with.