One of my new favorite authors is Anne Lamott. I've read a few of her books during the last couple months and have enjoyed her willingness to be transparent with her life, and quite funny at the same time. She inspires me to be more vulnerable with my inadequacies, secret sins and weaknesses. I don't always agree with her opinions, but I fully agree with her honesty and her willingness to pursue the path of Jesus, even when it is hard and uncomfortable.
I just read chapter 9 of her, "Plan B, Further Thoughts on Faith". She wrote honestly of many of her thoughts, experiences, and emotions of parenting her son. After reading it, it inspired me to continue to break the chain of secrets.
I have 4 children. I love Jesus. I love my children and have learned more about myself while parenting then anything else I have ever done. Parenting has brought out the best and worst in me. Parenting has given me more Joy in life than I could have ever imagined. But to be completely honest, the daily grind in parenting can be the most daunting, monotonous, boring and frustrating things you will ever do. Walking through chores, step by step, as if they had never done them before can make you do things you swear you'd never do. Finding patience and the ability to teach in the midst of sibling rivalry sometimes seems absolutely impossible. Being consistent is sometimes the last thing you want to do when you have given spanking after spanking, time out after time out, and you wonder if the consequences will ever sink into their little brain.
I have been more physically angry with my children than I have with ANYONE, even my husband. I have yelled, squeezed, grabbed, growled, and broken things out of anger towards my children. Potty-training seems to be my most volatile times, draining every ounce of patience, kindness, and gentleness and replacing those good things with frustration, impatience, roughness, and ogre-ness. Just thinking about teaching my children to pee and poop in the toilet makes me cringe.
At times I have looked at my children, sleeping peacefully after a rough day and wondered how in the world I could have treated them as if they were a piece of dirt. The shame that comes after the storm of anger and emotion can overwhelm you. And there were a few years when the cycle of storm, shame, and groveling happened. There seemed to be no hope in sight of being able to muster up kindness or self-control. My fleshy-ness was so strong I wondered if my children could make it without hating me.
I'm telling you these things because I realize it happens to A LOT of mommies. These emotions and experiences are real. I am a real person, which means I have real emotions that hurt people, including my children. And it is only because I know Jesus and have a fairly healthy marriage that I have not hurt my children to the point of abuse. I have hurt them, emotionally and physically- but miraculously they have been protected by the Grace of God.
I have claimed that I desire to be real, not only with the people around me, but with everyone who reads my blog. Jesus loves me even when I mess up and the last thing I want to do is paint a pretty picture of Fake Serenity. That is just silly. What I want to do is be at a place where people can be real back to me. It goes both ways- transparency brings out transparency.
Mothering has become fun for me, not because it is what I always dreamed about. It has become fun because I have become more willing to know what I can and can't do. I have learned to begin leaning on the Lord for my weaknesses, like potty training. And believe me, learning to laugh and have patience in the midst of a small child holding themselves for hours until exploding all over the bathroom floor, is a miracle.
Praise the Lord for His kindness and grace over me. And praise the Lord for the ability to laugh.