What I Gather About Myself as Mom

girls

I laughed a little as I wrote that title, for several reasons.  Do any of us really have all of the answers about motherhood?  And if anyone does have all of the answers, surely it isn’t this 32-year-old with two children under the age of ten.

And yet the subject of motherhood has been on my mind a lot lately.  I recently spent a week away from my family, returning just in time for Mother’s Day.  I must confess, I felt a little torn while I was away.  I missed my girls every day, but I also felt an overwhelming peace, just having some time to myself, some time to breathe.  And that feeling of peace, having space and time to breathe?  It made me feel a little guilty.  Upon some self-reflection, I came to two conclusions about Rachael as mom that I will reluctantly joyfully share with you.

1.  Rachael is selfish.  Motherhood has a way of showing me 1,000 times a day, in ways both small and large, just how selfish I am.  Many days, my first thought is of how I wish my kids had slept longer so I could sleep myself.

When I want to write, Isabel wants to play with me.  When I am reading, Isabel needs her 13th drink of the day.  When I am taking a bath, Ava bangs on the door.  When I want to go out on a date with Jimmie, I can’t because there isn’t anyone to watch the kids.  I want to go hang out with friends but Isabel has to get in bed.  And on and on and on and on it goes.  

Let me just be straight with you.  My kids are six years apart for a reason!  I loved being a mom from the start, but I also daily got a glimpse into my own selfishness when I had Ava.  I was young, clueless and ALWAYS FELT INCONVENIENCED.  That’s not easy to admit, but it is the truth.  So I waited until Ava was fairly self-sufficient before I considered bringing another demanding human being into the world.

Let me try to make that last sentence sound better…. Because of my awareness of my own selfish inclinations, I felt it would be best for any future children to not have my attention constantly pulled in two directions.  Better?

Before I draw some conclusions about my selfish nature, let me get into the second conclusion about myself as mother…..

2. Rachael loves fiercely.I fell in love with both of my babies the moment I laid eyes on them.

With Ava, I have always been amazed at her outgoing nature, leadership abilities and her brain.  I stare in wonder at her face, amazed that God allowed us to be the parents of such an exceptional human being.

Isabel has always been my baby, my baby, my baby.  I hold her close, remembering that God promised her to me.  She is a gift, heaven-sent, to bring joy and love into our home and the world.

They are my girls and I love them the way only a mother can.  You better believe that if someone tries to hurt them I will throw rocks at them show up to defend my babies.  My love for them is constant.  It surges in unexpected ways that astound me.

And so I am confronted with this dichotomy of selfish Rachael and loving Rachael on a daily basis.

Until I realize that God is in it all.

God knows my innermost being.  There is no character flaw that is hidden from his probing gaze.  He knows the deepest, darkest places of my heart.  And yet…. he sent these children into my life, knowing that in spite of my humanity and selfishness, I would love them unconditionally.  This very combination of selfishness and love is what transforms me into a better mom and ultimately a better person.

I am selfish but I love my children.  In order for me to demonstrate that love effectively, I must confront my selfish nature daily.  I must allow the Holy Spirit to illuminate the darkest places of my heart so that the heart I show my girls is full of love and the light of a savior.

Jesus uses me as an instrument to point my girls to him.  Jesus also uses my girls as an instrument to point ME to him.

There are days motherhood brings out the worst in me.  I find myself yelling or grumpy or angry or resentful.  I’m sorry to say these days happen in my house.  However, I see how over time, God has chipped away at my selfishness and I am transforming into a more giving, generous, loving, forgiving, graceful and compassionate person.  Motherhood has been that vehicle of transformation and I thank God that in his grace, I am slowly becoming the kind of mother my girls deserve.

Maybe I will get there before they move out.

What about you?  What has motherhood taught you about yourself?  If you don’t have children yet, what scares you about motherhood? What vehicle, other than motherhood, has God used to transform you?  I welcome your feedback and HOPE I’m not alone here!

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Have you missed any posts?  Here are the most recent:

A Gathering of Links X

Langstons Gather

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Comments

  1. Rachael says

    I forgot to mention (and had every intention of doing so) that my HEROES are you moms out there with lots of little ones who have NO TIME for selfishness. You give and give and give and you are amazing and it never goes unnoticed with me!

  2. Belinda says

    Oh Rachael!!!!! Every thought and every word and I do mean every sentence could have been written from my typing. Only their names would be Karah and Kaleb. I can’t even put into words how exactly you wrote me. I did the same thing…Karah has to be potty trained before I think about another one. I know that my frustration, yelling and grumpy attitudes sometimes come from my own issues. I can’t get anything done productive or selfish and it frustrated me. But you are also right. Until I became a mom I had no idea how selfish I was OR how strongly and fiercely I could love and protect my children. This mothers love sometimes makes me physically ache it is so strong. God truly knows what we need. We need these kids, they need us and we all know without a doubt we need God! Thanks for writing my own true confession. :). I too am amazed at those mothers who have multiple little ones. I think back to when we did our fertility treatment to get kaleb we had to wait a week and a half to see if his embryo had split into twins or worse. That was torture because I was doing my I’m selfish thinking wondering if I could handle that and how would I ever get anything done let alone have a bath or read a book or go out by myself…God knows what we can handle. I have to believe that those “perfect” moms (in my eyes at least) who have lots of little ones are good at that but struggle in other ways that maybe I don’t. That’s what I tell myself anyway haha. Thanks again for the honesty. And for showing me in not alone. And I’m also glad for a husband who recognizes when I need my space and give me room to be myself without too much judgement.

    • Rachael says

      Belinda, I love hearing that I”m not alone in these feelings! I like that you mentioned how helpful your husband is in the moments when you need space. Jimmie is great about that, too. He is so open to helping with the girls and encourages me to go out and have time to myself or with friends. Although I don’t know if that helps with my selfishness or just spoils me. Haha.

  3. Tasha says

    I love this post, as I love all your posts, but you and I have had these conversations so often. I am very selfish, and that is part of the reason there is 10 years between my girls, among a few others. I have so many moments where I have to take a step back to keep me from losing my mind. I am so grateful to have a friend like you that I can talk to when I am so upset because my 10 year old bit her best friend;-)(although there is still complete denial) or I am so scared with an infant that I don’t think I like her as much as everyone else. Your a great mom and you inspire me every day! Thanks for this post!

    • Rachael says

      The real question, Tasha, is… if you love all my posts, tell me how you felt about Man in 8D? Haha, just kidding. You say you are selfish, but I don’t think you give yourself enough credit. You are so good with your girls and show so much understanding and grace. I, however, am equally glad to have you when I’m at my worst, especially knowing you will just laugh at, I mean with me and love me anyway!

  4. Tasha says

    If the Man in 8D read that post, he’d think you were a creeper… ;-) I am kidding of course I loved that one too:)

  5. Kathy Turner says

    I love this blog! I believe it is a testament to the Lord’s enduring interest in our personal development. As long as we diligently ask Him to make us into the person He desires, He will continue to use situations and people to do so. I so well remember those years of having children at home; of having little time for what I wanted to do; the “constantness” of the responsibility; the many times I felt a failure; the recognition that it might be many years before I would know if I succeeded in any way. Having children to care for is certainly challenging! I remember a phrase I heard – or read – about difficult people (or learning situations) that has helped me so much through the years…”The Lord always sends us worthy opponents”. If all the people…and situations…around us were easy, we would not learn those valuable lessons that require us to seek God for direction. When we seek to surround ourselves with people who are just like us, or seek out situations that are only in our comfort zone, that do not challenge us, we become stunted in our growth and never reach our full potential. The necessary factor, which you so eloquently wrote about, is LOVE. Love that covers, hopes, endures, disciplines. If our children are known by God while they are still in our wombs, He certainly knows the mother who bears them. He knows her strengths and her weaknesses, and He knows how to help them be the kind of mother they need to be to His precious babies. Thank you, daughter, for being so honest.

    • Rachael says

      I like your reference to worthy opponents. I have seen how just about every relationship in my life either makes me better or brings out the bad in me. I think you are right about love being the necessary factor.

  6. Billie says

    This is a great post, Rachael. If we are all honest with ourselves, we moms will all admit that we have the same feelings. I’ve been a mom for 14 years, and it has only been very recently that I have realized how He uses my children to teach me things about myself. Maybe it’s because I have a teenager now that these lessons in self have become glaringly obvious. Lately when I get frustrated with the kids, especially the teen child, I have this thought: “Lord, do I make you feel this way. We are made in your image.” Then I realize how patiently enduring my God is with me, and how graceful and merciful he has been toward me. How can I not shower this same loving mercy and grace on my own children? This in turn, brings me to repentance, and draws me to show the same patient endurance to my kids. This is sometimes a tough pill to swallow because it also leads me to have to repent to my kids. I’m the mom and I know what’s best, right? Well, no, only He knows what’s best, and it’s only through seeking God and allowing Him to work on me that I can show His love to the most precious gifts He has given to me. Truly, our most important role as a mother is to point our children to Christ. The best way we can do that is by letting them see us turn to Him.

    • Rachael says

      What a great point about letting our kids see us turn to Jesus! After reading your comment, I want to re-dedicate myself to making sure my girls are seeing that…. especially before Ava is a teenager :) You may be getting a call for some advice in a few years!

  7. Wanda says

    Then if you have a special needs child, or just a strong willed child, you have even more to deal with. The bad news is you don’t know how you are doing as a parent until the child is about 25! God bless all the mothers of small children out there.

    • Rachael says

      So true! I am thankful for two healthy children and have so much respect for moms who are dealing with lots of young children, children with learning disabilities, special needs or physical illnesses! Thanks for the comment!

  8. narrowpathstohigherplaces says

    Yes! Nothing has taught me both the humility of getting it wrong so often and the grace of knowing that He’s refining all the ugly, messy, broken parts of motherhood. My children love me unconditionally as well. I have had to come to them after a day of tantrums (mine, not theirs) and apologize for my yelling and short temper and they’ve never even blinked an eye in forgiving me right then and there. I’ve learned grace from them in the midst of it all and I think that sacrifice, while trying, brings us the place where we truly get a glimpse of Jesus’s enduring faithfulness, patience, and love.

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