Monday, September 13, 2010

When Mom Gets Weary

Daughter: "Mom, can I go to my friends house after the game Friday and then spend the night?"
Mom:"Is her mom going to be there?"
Daughter:"Yes, mother" (with exasperation in voice)
Mom:"Okay, since I know her, just have her call me to confirm, and that will be fine."
Daughter:"Oh and mom, can we get something to eat after the game, before we go back to her house? And can I have some money?"
Mom: "Well where are you going, who is going, and who is going to be driving?"
Daughter: (lengthy explanation of everyone involved and reassurances that all is well)
Mom: "Okay, but just grab a quick bite, and then get home before curfew."
Daughter: "Okay, mom. Oh yea, and can I go out to eat with a group of friends on Saturday night? They are all going around 5pm. Then after that, go to my team sleepover with my other set of friends?"
Mom: "Well, you are only supposed to go out one night a weekend, but I guess since this is a special team party, you can go."
Daughter: "Thanks mom!"

**2 hours later***

Daughter: "Maaaaamaaa, I dont want to go that team party anymore. Now I want to go my friends party from school after we eat, because all my friends are going. Is that okay?"

(long discussion ensues about party, whereabouts, time, location, parental supervision, who is driving, texting me when she gets there, etc.)

Mom: "Okay, that will be fine. Just be home by curfew."
Daughter: "I will. But, there is a problem. I do not have a thing to wear. Everybody else is getting dressed up and I might not go, because I have nothing to put on. Can we go shopping?"
Mom: "No honey, we cannot go buy new clothes every time you have a new social outing."

(whining, everybody else does..., ... blah, blah, blah)

**the next day***

Daughter: "Mom, now I DO want to go that team party, but not until Sunday morning, and they are hanging out at the pool all day, before we have to go to practice. So can I just spend the night at my other friends house, then leave her house in the morning and drive across town to my other friends house, go to the pool party and then go to my practice?"
Mom: "No, you cannot skip church to go to the pool, and there is no need to drive an hour from one friends house to the next. That is a waste of gas. You need to pick an activity for the weekend. You cant do everything with everybody all in a three day period."
Daughter: "But, what if.... (long conversation ensues about all the possible ways that everyone can be worked in so that no social opportunities are missed)"
Mom: "No (irritation building; reaching end of rope with regards to discussing plans for the weekend), you cannot do everything."
Daughter: "Okay, well what if we.....(yet another detailed explanation of alternative plan ideas, and lengthy discussion ensues once again)."
Mom: "Here is what you can do. Take it or leave it....(long explanation ensues of approved activities)"
Daughter: "Okay. I guess that sounds okay. Thanks mom!"
Mom: Heavy sigh, followed by a reminder to said daughter about list of room cleaning, homework and other obligations required to be met before social activities can occur.

***next day***

Daughter: "Mom, I really dont feel like doing that party anymore. I think Ill just come home after dinner on Saturday."
Mom: "Geesh, you are making my brain tired. But okay."

***later that evening***

Other daughter: "Hey mom, can my boyfriend come over Friday afternoon and go to the game with us?"
Mom: "No, we dont bring boys home from school. Plus you are too young to date anyway. But you can just meet him at the ballgame."
Daughter: "But mom!! He cant do that, because he doesnt have a ride and ....(lengthy explanation of why my suggestions do not meet her ideal plan arrangements), and I want him to come here because.... (another lengthy explanation, laced with sadness, in an attempt to gain pity, then followed by pouting)."
Mom: "Well, probably not, but I'll talk to your father."
Daughter: Silence. Pouting. Retreating to bedroom. Its not fair. Nobody cares about her feelings, or so Im told.

***later, after talking with dad***

Mom: "Okay, here is what we will do, but just this once.... (weariness has begun to set in. Explanation ensues to said daughter about the boundaries and rules that will be implemented in the midst of these plans, and the chores and homework obligations that must be met prior to plans taking place)."
Daughter: "Okay mom, thanks!"

Weary mom: Retreats into bedroom, locks door, rubs head, wonders if a headache is creeping in; secretly wishes she had a magic wand that would take her back to a time when the toughest decisions for the day were whether or not her children could have a chocolate chip cookie after dinner and stay up an extra fifteen minutes at bedtime.

Welcome to a teeny, tiny glimpse of a day in the life of the Miles household. Maybe you are laughing right about now, or maybe you are crying, because this sounds alarmingly similar to a day in your household too!

I think I finally understand the real meaning of that old cliche' - "nobody ever said parenting was easy" - Amen to that!

Even if we view being a mom as the most important and treasured responsibility that God ever put on our plates, sometimes it just gets downright tiring! No amount of love for our kids can prevent us from having days when we are ready to throw in the towel, or at least admit temporary defeat.

Whether we are struggling with toddler tantrums and diaper changes, or teenage social plans, peer pressures and busy schedules, being a mom can zap our energy physically and emotionally.

I have to be honest, there have been "those days", when I felt like just saying "yes' to every question that anyone would ask, merely because it would make life simpler. How peaceful our household would be, if I just agreed to all requests for social activities, spending money, desires for shopping, friend outings, dating, parties, snacks before dinner, junk food all day, etc., etc.

If there were less "no's" and more "yes's", then everybody would be happy with mom all the time, and oh what a wonderful world it would be.... right?

That might seem like a good choice at first glance, especially after another one of "those days" have taken place, but in the long run, that is the worst choice we could possibly make.

When God made me a mom, He didnt just give me little people who need to be cared for, He gave me a job. A job that is in essence, a divine calling.

A calling to be the guardian of not only my childrens lives, but their hearts. A calling to raise them with values, and boundaries, and sacrifice, even when doing so makes me tired in more ways than one.

A calling to not only be a mother, but to be a parent.

Nobody will argue, that parenting can be tough, and it takes a tough heart to keep giving it your all, when your all is just about spent.

However, when I consider the alternative of taking the easy way out, and allow myself to envision the negative consequences that results when a parent simply grows weary of parenting, my heart comes back to a place where I can truly treasure the job that God has given me. The job that brings immeasurable blessing - and with blessing, comes responsibility.

There is no such thing as perfect parents or perfect parenting. Even if there were, it would still not guarantee that the kids would turn out perfect or live a life free from sin or bad choices. The truth is, that no matter how many books we read, "good" parents we mimic, or Bible verses we share, we will never be able to reach a level of perfection that insures perfect kids.

Even so, sometimes I think us moms get caught up in trying to be the perfect mom, and feel discouraged and defeated when we realize that we are not. We are quick to compare ourselves to other women who we think are better moms than us, setting ourselves up for self-condemnation.

But as long as we are giving it our best, and devoting our energies, or even our lack of energies, to raising healthy, happy kids in a way that would be pleasing to God, I believe with all my heart, that God will honor that devotion. After all, our children are loans from the heavens, and what better way to show praise to God, and be faithful in our calling, than to care diligently for His own.

The weariness that comes from the day to day challenges of parenting will one day be rewarded by seeing the fruits of our efforts in our childrens lives. As they flourish into happy, healthy people, and begin living lives of worship themselves, only then can we truly understand that all "those days" were well spent, and that every ounce of weariness was well worth the effort.

Proverbs 22:6 Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. (NLT)

Proverbs 29:15 Wise discipline imparts wisdom; spoiled adolescents embarrass their parents. (MSG)

Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord. (NLT)

Galatians 6:7 Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. (NLT)

Psalm 144:12 May our sons flourish in their youth like well-nurtured plants. May our daughters be like graceful pillars,carved to beautify a palace.

Deuteronomy 6:6-9 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (NLT)

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Aimee W said...

Wow! This is entertaining to read on the outside looking in...but I am sure you were not laughing! So...I have 2 daughters...9 and this what I have to look forward to?!?! I have already been needing lots of patience with my 9 y/o! Lord, be with me!!!

Caroline said...

Insightful post. Thank you for writing it!

What an important duty and privilege we have as mothers. I've thought about this often since becoming a mother.

I particularly like this line of yours:

"After all, our children are loans from the heavens, and what better way to show praise to God, and be faithful in our calling, than to care diligently for His own."

As I was struggling through the first few months of motherhood with a very upset baby, a good friend told me the wonderful, amazing, almost unbelievable truth that God chose my husband and me to specifically be our children's parents. What encouragement (and responsibility) and preciousness that brings!

I'm praying for you now in your situation with teenagers. :-)

In Christ,

Carol Poortvliet said...

Wouldn't it be nice if we could just have a printout of all the rules posted on the fridge, including all the "what-if" and "but" scenarios, then we could just point to the fridge and smile. I love the way they work you to the point of exhaustion. That must be where the phrase "whatever" came from... 3 days of discussion and debating and a wornout mom responded with "whatever".