As a mommy I have fallen into some tortuous traps. Today I am writing about two pits in particular, the trap of trying to be “supermom” and the pit of doubt; of who I am in Christ. Wavering is for insecure moms during insecure times, but there are foundational truths that once realized, no longer have to blow around like a balloon in the wind.
Louis Armstrong told people that his Mom taught Him to see Jesus in everyone. He wrote, “My mother had one thing… and that was good common sense and respect for human beings, yea. That’s my diploma.” Mom was teacher and home was school. I can’t control a lot of things, like who they become, their personalities, who they choose to marry, and a slew of other variables, but with vision I can control an atmosphere in my home. It has taken a long time for me and Chris to create an atmosphere void of anger, hatred, self-pity, and playing games with our emotions, such as the blame game, for example. I read recently that children blaming parents for their problems is what keeps shrinks in business. True, I am teaching my children foundational truths and setting a course for them, but by choosing not to blame anyone else for our problems, Chris and I are showing them that 1) sometimes life sucks, and 2) we deal with it… without blaming people, throwing pity parties, turning to illicit drugs and alcohol, or letting it change the atmosphere in the home.
As a Mom I am keenly aware that my moods can set a tone in the home. I am not content with simply being happy or patient, because those acts and emotions can be false and blown in and out by the wind. When I get sick or when I have medical needs, the kids learn real life lessons. Not the kind other kids in America are learning (according to the nightly news) by being bullied or trying to fit in. But they learn real life, in the context of love. Everyone has a spark in them, something bigger than ourselves that makes us unique and inspired, a Divine spark if you will. Passion and determination is all we need to light that spark, according to some of the greats, including Louis Armstrong. How can I create an environment in which a match will light that spark just waiting to burst? Well, here’s what I’ve come up with over the last 9 years of motherhood…
I will never be the perfect mom, she went out with June Cleaver in the 70’s. My former pastor once called me “supermom” and I felt a surge of pride that forced up an image, a false image I struggled to uphold. During that time I was putting in 30+ hours in at the church each week, my kids were in with the pastors kids at the daycare, and I was homeschooling before we left the house each day. The problem was that I was striving for something I couldn’t attain. I wanted to be the best at being a mom and a homemaker, but the house was stressful and I was ignoring some mounting emotions and issues that I needed to deal with. So I tried being the perfect mom and realized that the atmosphere in our home was never as perfect as when I gave all that up.
On the other hand, I know that I will also never be the cheating, lying, drug-snorting mom or anything even resembling her. Although wrong, they will not live to judge those who are like that and that starts with me and Chris laying down those judgement calls ourselves. They see what we do and say and they learn from that. I provide a liberal space for them to be who they are and never create anxiety by pushing them to do something they don’t have the “passion or determination” to do. My kids have seen a lot, they have seen their parents sick. They have been homeschooled from day 1 and have been with me as I have been not-well, then healthy and well and in shape, as I helped friends in need who have been sick or in need. They have gone with me to the park where the homeless people go and played Frisbee on the grass. They have understood the importance of taking a day off of school when a friend in need has her baby several months too early and we need to help with her other kids. They have understood the importance of good days because they have known bad ones. One thing they have not known is a life without Christ. In order to go out into the world and be who they are, they need to have the foundation at home of love, acceptance, and encouragement to be who they are while knowing what’s wrong and choosing the better way, and never judging another.
I have had a lot of advice over the years. Some helpful, some downright annoying, but I no longer waver like I used to. If someone should call me supermom, I don’t change a thing about myself because I know I am not supermom and am confident and thankful for that. If I should be criticized for what I am doing or not doing I take it with a grain of salt. Of all the moms in all the world, no one knows my kids and what they need like me and their Dad do. If I listened to every piece of advice given to me over the last 9 years I would be working full-time with children I only got to see a few hours a week and on weekends. My middle child would not be reading as well as he is and he would not feel secure in his pace as a 7 year-old still learning his words. My oldest would be forced to be somebody he’s not in order to fit the world’s mold and just like his mom, he would never understand that he’s a beautiful soul. My youngest would be embarrassed by who he is and he would not have the safe place to learn to control himself. I have done all sorts of things to or “for” my kids out of guilt. But it never made me feel good enough, even compared to the moms I know are unfit mothers (side note… comparing myself to moms who need serious help with drugs and alcohol and saying “at least I am not like her” is not setting a good atmosphere, but a judgemental one and that’s another pit for another day).
I have an awareness of what the Lord has for our lives, for our family, and I have true joy. I have learned to let go of anger and resentment and I have found my passion in homemaking. And writing. Do we have bad habits in the home? Yup. Do we make mistakes? Absolutely. Do I change what we want for our family and how we raise our kids because others disapprove? Not anymore. I am told on a weekly basis by at least one child how much they love life and being homeschooled and how glad they are to be my kid. I am not lying. I would say that’s the perfect atmosphere for raising some terrific kids. When I was “supermom” they weren’t this happy.
To sum up, I am learning some important lessons as a mom in this phase of my life, none so important as my role in my family. That begins with confidence and self-control. Taking everything I can’t handle and throwing it to the Lord. In being the healthiest version of myself that I can be, an atmosphere of love and peace and gentleness is what my children will know when they are at home, with their family. And a house built on Christ cannot be shaken.
Have a good week and Happy Monday!