I can post a nice photo and some mushy stuff about how blessed I am to be a mom, and it’s all true. But, let’s be honest. It gets rough. Life is tough, and many times I want to throw my hands up and say “I can’t do it anymore. Not today.”
But I do.
I keep going. I keep fighting. There’s something to fight for. There’s something more to life than “what’s in it for me.” There are three little people who call me “Mom.” They watch my every move and hear my every word (whether or not I think they do). Even though I could run away sometimes, or get the next plane ticket to Anywhere but Here, I’m here for a reason.
Some days I wonder if I’m doing anything right as a mother. Will our kids make the right choices as adults? Will they be capable adults? Am I teaching them enough? Why do they whine so much? Why do I feel like I say “No” more than I say “Yes?”
But I’ve come to learn, that while our influence on our children’s lives are so very important, ultimately, they will go out and make choices for themselves. Most importantly, as a mother, have I taught my children to make their decisions based on important morals and values that honor God, and have I set that example before them? I sure hope so, and I strive to do so.
On hard days as a mother, I wonder how my mom did it.
How did she work so diligently, sometimes two jobs as a single mom, so that we could have a decent life? I know she had to be extremely tired. But, she did it. My parents divorced when I was almost ten, and it was one of the hardest things I’ve been through. Unfortunately, most of my memory before that time has been almost completely wiped out. My mom and I did everything together until our little world fell apart. That’s another story for another day, but life became really hard for my mom afterwards. And for her to do what she did for us so that we wouldn’t go without, it set an example before us. I’m not talking about a fabulous, extravagant, materialistic life either. We had what we needed, and a little bit extra every now and then. Essentially, that’s what’s important anyways. My younger brother claims we were poor, but I can’t say that I really remember that.
Now that I have adult conversations with my mom, I’ve come to realize that she was only trying to survive when I was a kid. It was hard – like, beyond my comprehension, hard. I couldn’t even imagine. I’m not trying to create some sob story here either. My childhood is a real picture of how my mom fought through the struggles to do for her kids no matter what. And I really can’t say that I even remember her complaining about it. She put her “big-girl panties on” and handled it. And when I look back, I am so thankful that she fought for us.
Today, I am really grateful to have a faithful and loving husband, a home, everything we need physically, and I’m able to stay home and home-school our kids. Sometimes it gets easy to take all that for granted.
Life gets tough, and we must decide what type of choices we will make that will affect others as well. We can use our circumstance to define us and take us down a path of destruction, or we can use our circumstance as a learning experience and strive to do better and better everyday. One of the best things my mom did was not to let me feel sorry for myself. She pretty much made me “put my big-girl panties on” and handle it, too. She knew that life was going to try to knock me down too, and she wanted me to be able to get back up again and fight back.
I’m thankful that my mom never gave up. I’m thankful that she set the example before us to always push through. If I’ve learned anything, it’s to never give up hope and to put all faith in God.
Many people talk about their moms as being soft-spoken, kind, gentle, and patient. Now I can say that she really is all of those things, even if she doesn’t see it. Growing up though, I didn’t see it that way. She was always firm, strict, and it didn’t matter what everyone else was doing. She wasn’t always able to make everything and be at every sporting event I had, but my dad was there for most of those things and helped me out with the extra-curricular activities. My teenage years were mostly spent playing sports, and my mom and I didn’t develop a better relationship until I became an adult.
Now that I know her personally as an adult, I know her for her – not just as my mom, but as a close friend. A few years ago I asked her, “Why was I ever so scared of you?”
She laughed, “I was good, huh?”
The way she carried herself in the midst of trials has trickled down to her kids in ways that she probably never imagined. She has told me several times that it’s only because of God that she made it. Today, she has two adult children and one she is still raising with my step-dad. None of us have ever been to jail, we did well in school, went to college, and we are self-sufficient working citizens. You mean to tell me that she just got “lucky?”
I don’t think so.
One day I asked her, “How do you raise your kids in such a way that even when you think they might fall off the deep end, they still end up strong and capable, and seem to get their mind in the right place eventually?”
Her answer was profound, yet very simple. “I prayed a lot. I didn’t know what else to do. I gave my kids to God and asked Him to do it because I knew I couldn’t. I gave it all to Him because I knew I couldn’t do it on my own.” [paraphrased]
In no way would she ever call herself a perfect saint, or super-holy, but she contributes “the way her kids turned out” to her faith in God. She was only trying to survive, and she probably felt like she could barely keep her head above water. Now I know it was more than that – she put her love for her children first. Not in a “spoiling” type of way, but in a way that made her kids strong and capable. She intentionally gave us dignity and confidence, even though she says she may have lacked it herself.
She would probably change much of what happened if she could, but through it all, it has shaped me into the strong and determined person I am today. Being a mom truly is a gift and a blessing, but parenting, in general, is also one of the hardest, if not the hardest, endeavor I’ve taken. I’ve been told that it is also the most rewarding.
I’m thankful for the mom that never gave up.
Maybe you’re in a place where you think you just can’t go anymore, or life is getting too much for you. Never give up, fight hard for what’s right, and put everything in God’s hands. He can do so much more with our life than we can ever think or dream. Most of the time, it’s easier said than done. You don’t have to do it perfect. Just do it. Don’t give up. Be the example that your kids need to see. Your kids will thank you later.
Be the mom that never gives up.
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. ~Proverbs 31:30