Archives For parenting
My daughter recently went with me to a speaking engagement where I shared the journey of my pregnancy with her (you can read about it here). It was one of the most distraught times of my life. Although Cauri had heard the story many times, she had never heard the feelings I experienced during that time. It moved her to tears to know I loved her so much.
And that broke my heart.
I realized although I sometimes share reasons for my teaching or discipline with her, many times I don’t share what I’m feeling.
So my dear, darling, challenging daughter, I want to share with you what I feel almost on a daily basis raising you.
I wake in the mornings and feel worried.
Worried that your heart will be hurt by unkind peers or impatient teachers.
Unfortunately, as the morning continues, I feel angry.
After fighting to get you out of bed, we argue about running late, lost homework, complaints about nothing to take for lunch, and leaving a huge mess in the kitchen for mom to clean since you “don’t have time.”
When you leave for school, I feel relieved.
Relieved we have time to get over ourselves and come back together in the evening for a fresh start.
Relief quickly turns to sadness.
Sadness that I am the one who caused you hurt before the day even had a chance to begin.
The day is then spent feeling helpless.
Helpless as I wonder about your day. How the test is going for which you spent so much time studying, if your friend is still upset with you and turning mutual friends against you, if the bully who sits behind you in two classes is calling you “stupid,” again, about your decisions and if they are wise or made out of emotion. And knowing you’re dealing with all of it away from me and beyond my help or rescue.
By the time you waltz in from school and you look content and happy, I feel reassured.
Reassured all went well during the day.
Reassurance quickly turns to feeling irritable.
Irritable from the complaints over what I’m making for supper, from all the arguing between you and your siblings, from all the things I’m trying to remember: which kids have activities, who is driving what carpool, everything on my to-do list that did not get finished earlier in the day, how much homework each of you has for the evening, calls or emails I need to return before the evening is over. I’m irritable and don’t listen well. I’m short with my words and yell.
As the evening progresses, I feel tired.
Tired from not knowing how to help with homework, from not knowing how to give you direction with your life question, from the sibling arguments, from disrespectful talk toward your dad and me, from feeling unappreciated after having worked at my job and on the house and taking care of all your needs throughout the day, tired from my brain working in overdrive, and tired from all those feelings I’ve been experiencing.
When the evening is over and we all go to bed, I feel guilt.
Guilt over not handling your questions well, not listening when you were trying to tell me something important, saying things to you I shouldn’t have, not having all the answers to your needs.
And guilt for feeling worried, angry, relieved, helpless, irritable, and tired. All of which reminds me of my shortcomings as a mom.
I leave my bed to check on you sleeping kids and I feel thankful.
Thankful God gave me such wonderful kids, thankful all of you are tucked safely in your beds in our warm house, thankful you made a decision to accept Christ’s sacrifice and are guaranteed eternal life, thankful you are mine.
I feel thankful and I kiss you on the forehead as you sleep.
And then I pray! I give all of my feelings and all those things out of my control to God.
Through it all, I feel indescribable love for you.
But know love is MORE than a feeling. While feelings change, my love for you never does! And that love, dear child, will never be compromised!
© 2015 Connie Davis Johnson
Tis true, I’m the worst mom ever!
Last week while traveling through South Dakota, we stopped at an Alpine Slide. If you’re unfamiliar with alpine slides, it is a long chute built in the side of a mountain or large hill. A wheeled sled is used to navigate the slide which is controlled by a hand brake between the rider’s legs.
Three years ago, we went on an alpine slide for the first time in TN. I followed my daughter, Cauriana, who was 10 years old at the time. She was timid and used her brake much of the time, therefore, I ended up catching up with her and was forced to ride slowly the rest of the way. It took away some of the excitement.
Once again, I found myself following Cauriana, now 13 years old, down the slide in SD. As Cauriana, my husband, and I rode the chairlift to the top of the hill, we were able to see riders on the alpine slide below. Many were inching along the track. I laughed and said I hoped I didn’t get behind anyone slow. My daughter quietly said, “I’m sorry.” She felt the sting of my words even though they were not meant to hurt.
Even though I knew she was remembering the adventure down the slide and feeling as if she ruined my ride, I still asked, “Are you going to go fast?” A bit hurt, she said, “yes.” Again, she felt my words as if it was a shot to her heart.
I really don’t know why but as she was getting ready to take off down the slide, I asked her again if she was going to go fast. She said, “Yes,” and took off like a bullet from a gun. No brake was used this time since she had something to prove to her selfish mom. She sped around the first curve and as I awaited my turn to follow, I saw her fly around the second curve.
It was on the second curve that I felt the weight of my words. I watched in horror as she lost control of the sled. The sled sped to the top of the curve throwing her off. She continued to slide on the concrete on her bare skin that was only covered in shorts and a tank top. She disappeared out of my line of sight leaving me to wonder her fate.
I began screaming as only a mom can when her child is in danger. My mind was racing wondering if she was tumbling head over heels down the rest of the concrete slide or if the sled ran over her causing a severe head injury.
Immediately my words, “I hope I don’t get behind anybody slow,” and “Are you going to go fast,” haunted me.
I did this! I caused my daughter to crash and get hurt.
I jumped off my sled and ran to the overlook.
Cauriana had stopped shortly after I lost sight of her. She was just stepping off the slide and assessing her injuries. Her shoulder, elbow, knee, and ankle were all burned from rubbing the slide at such a high rate of speed. It was akin to road rash. She was in tears. So was I. I truly deserved the title, “Worst mom ever!”
The workers doctored her wounds and got her a drink of water. She was okay but I wasn’t. The mental beat-down had only just begun.
I spent a very restless and sleepless night as I replayed my thoughtless words over and over in my mind. The guilt was overwhelming.
Are you a “Worst Mom”? Take heart in the following:
You’re in good company. Although I felt as though I was the worst mom in the world, there were probably 100 other moms in the same hotel that night feeling the same way. Thousands of moms go to bed each night recounting their mistakes from that day and deeming themselves “worst moms.” The fact is we are human and we will make mistakes.
Kids are forgiving. Cauriana honestly could not understand why I felt so guilty. She forgave me immediately. Many times recounting what we should have said or done extends our feelings of guilt while our kids have already forgiven and moved on. We need to learn from our mistakes but there is no need to prolong the situation by continuing to beat ourselves up.
The good outweighs the bad. If we really think through our days and weeks with our kids, more than likely our good mom moments outweigh the bad mom moments. But our good feelings seem to be squashed by guilt no matter how small. We will have bad days and even bad weeks but over the course of a year, the good outshines the bad.
Feel like a bad mom? You’re not alone! Let’s turn in our worn out crowns and tattered sashes saying we are the “worst moms ever”? Let’s focus on loving our kids and doing our best each and every day. Let’s forgive ourselves our mistakes and focus on the good. And let’s believe our kids when they proclaim us the “best mom ever!”
Disclaimer: There may be times when family counseling is in order. If we find ourselves being verbally or physically abusive, then we need to seek help from a professional. If our child is out of our control, we may need help in getting that control back. Addictions need support and guidance. Know that getting help when needed is being a good mom.
This blog post is featured in Sophie Woman’s Magazine October 2013 issue.
You may also like:
©2013 Connie Davis Johnson
You may also like:
©2013 Connie Davis Johnson