Updated: Jun 20, 2018
Or mythical creatures and where to find them...
We were having an afterparty for the 20th anniversary of my 25th birthday, in other words, a 45 year old woman and her family were sitting around the kitchen table eating birthday cake for the second day in a row, when I had an epiphany. As I looked around the table at my husband and four of my children I realized I should have never been a mother. Not because my children are not wonderful, not because they are all still all here and accounted for. A goal which, when they were young, my mother doubted I would achieve. No, it’s when other women stop me in church or the grocery store, and ask in amazement how I did it, or if they are ALL mine, and then tell me they could NEVER do what I do, I have to say, I could never do it either. At least, it doesn’t seem like I should be able to do it. I don’t really possess the super mom characteristics that people attribute to moms of large families.
In fact, I can quickly make a list of all the reasons I should never have been anyone’s mother.
I hate to cook.
I am easily distracted from chores and bills and pressing tasks (such as making lists of why I make a lousy mother)
I don’t let the neighborhood kids into my house, I tell them we have no bathroom.
I don’t wait in line or in traffic well.
I hate watching a movie more than once.
I like being alone and have been known to use a tub full of hot water as a moat between myself and my offspring. (It doesn’t always work, children with something to say fail to see nakedness and privacy as pressing issues.)
Put it all together and it doesn’t look at all like the pictures on the internet of Mom 2.0. But I love being a mother, and I love having five children. I don’t have super powers, I barely have regular powers of persuasion and manipulation to get my brood on task. But my children are a gift to me. My children have made me so much less worried about me that they gave me the freedom to be about them. And that changed me. When I see my children being petty and selfish I think, oh yeah, that looks familiar. When they are greedy and self-absorbed, I remember that. It was so easy to be all those things before I had children. It has been much harder since they came along. I can’t thank my children enough for the changes they have wrought in me. They save me from myself every day, I believe they are shaping my chances of gaining heaven. Who has time to dwell on your mistakes when there are just so many of them? All you can do is regroup and be grateful you will get to try to solve that problem again. Yes, be grateful that fights over toys and time, chores and work ethics, never go away. I will someday master the exact right words for the situation because children have a wonderful way of repeating their offenses. This is a gift, it gives me the practice to get it right, and when I do, it makes me really happy. My children give that to me, that opportunity to get it right. They give me the chance to be good, and they forgive me when I really am not. It is a very humbling thing to be forgiven by children and that humility is my true super power. It leads me to my knees. I know that in truth, I have never gotten anything right, but God has gotten it right through me. My children teach me that, over and over, and I am eternally grateful. I have also learned you can be a good mother and still lock the bathroom door.