Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Not always for me

I've been thinking about this for a while, but I don't know how to open.  It's probably not even enough to be a blog post.


I used to try to define my children, and their temperaments and quirks and talents, purely in relation to me.  "God gave me this child to teach me this, God gave me that child to make me better at that." Hey, did you hear that thing about me being the center of the universe?  Pretty awesome.

But what if, as usual, it's not about me at all?  Maybe I just happen to be the best woman to help create a person (we get to help. create. human. beings. #mindblownpause ) who will prompt the other people in my house be the best versions of themselves they can be. Maybe my kids have each other for very important reasons, and sometimes I'm simply supposed to be the facilitator, the delegator, the cat wrangler.

Do you see where I'm going with this?  Am I making sense?

They are people in their own right from the moment they come into existence.  And while there is always room for me to learn and grow, it could be that another person's sole reason for being isn't just so that I don't get mad about clean clothes going straight back into the dirty hamper or lights being left on in empty bedrooms. 

Let me tell ya- when I remember to stop imagining that everything my kids do or say has something to do with me, it's way less stressful around here.  Because THE PRESSURE, y'all.  The pressure when many little people with many temperaments are doing many sundry and often opposite things and you're running around thinking "what does this have to do with ME?  What am I supposed to be learning here?  What is the lesson for me? Am I supposed to become more energetic and more relaxed at the same time? How am I supposed to be reacting so that I get all the mothering gold stars and they have the best childhood ever and their futures are so bright that they have to wear shades???  MEMEMEMEMEME!"

After all these years it has finally occurred to me that God gave these kids to each other as siblings just as much as he gave them to me as children.  I am for them as their primary educator and caregiver, sure.  But they are not always for me.  Sometimes they are for each other.  Sometimes they are for their friends.  Sometimes what's happening is a growth in their relationship with God.  Not every day of mothering is a 9 hour graduate course in becoming a better person or else. 

Sweet relief, friends.  Sweet sweet relief.

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  1. Oh yes yes yes. I have three, four and under, and the third (almost same age as your bebe!) really changed things around here such that the relationship amongst all of them has eclipsed their relationship to me in some ways. Pressure. Hahah!

  2. I like this and I'll have to think about it some more. I had a similar realization when really hoping to get pregnant with #4 - this isn't just about when *I* have a baby - this will be this person's birthday and year, etc, for her whole life. Maybe me not getting pregnant right now isn't related to me at all.

  3. I've wondered about this myself too. When my oldest was a baby, I was rocking him one night thinking, "this kid is here to teach me patience for sure." Then I stopped in my tracks and thought, "I wonder if he's here to teach his future wife patience too." Then I stopped again and thought, "What if he's here for a totally different reason altogether?" It seems like such a simple idea... but it was a little shattering to me. This kid may be set on this earth to do great things, great things that have nothing to do with me.

  4. Wow. Thank you for sharing this.

  5. Well this is a relief.

    Thank God for more experienced mothers with internet connections. Truly. Light at the end of the tunnel.

  6. This reminded me of something similar I said to my sister. She adopted a child who turned out to be very needy, difficult and troubled. It has made her life much more complicated and has given her more sufferings than she imagined parenting would have. When my sister is discouraged and depressed about how things are going, people often tell her how much good she's doing and what a better life she's given this child than she would have had, etc. But once I had a rare inspiration and said to my sister: "What if it's not about you making her good, what if it's about this child making you (and her husband and her siblings) better?" She said that helped put it in a new light and take off some of the perfectionist pressure.

  7. They are not always for me. I need to remember this. Because it really isn't all about me and being recognized as a good mom. I just need to be good because I should, but let them be kids in their own right and have relationships with others. They are building relationships with so many other people right now too - more people than this stay-at-home-mom - and that's gotta be hard!

  8. This is great, Dwija. I linked to it in my own post tonight--please let me know if that's not okay! (I'm new to this blogging thing--still figuring out the etiquette.) :)

  9. I'm actually having similar thoughts with God's plans for when/how our house sells. We wanted it to sell by owner muy pronto. Deal fell through. Now we're still on the market and needing a realtor and I JUST WANT TO CONTROL ALL THE THINGS. And then it occurs to me: we can handle waiting a bit, we can handle paying a Realtor, we can handle coming down in price, etc. Maybe our future buyer is praying, "Dear God, please let the right house pop up in the MLS this week. We really need to close by X." And then it'll work out and instead of thinking, "Gee, thanks for barely lifting a cosmic finger on this one!" we can think, "Isn't it amazing that our house, which is beautiful and the most affordable single family in a great town, just got sold to a widow who thought she'd have to for sure make her kids change schools?" Or something like that...anyway--it hadn't really occurred to me before that what feels like God putting me on hold for no reason may really be Him answering a prayer from someone else.

    Or maybe I just missed your whole point, but I liked the post anyway!

    1. You didn't miss the point at all! This definitely goes right along with it and coincidentally something Ive also been thinking about with regard to our house selling. The best buyer is praying for our house to be theirs (even if they don't know about our house yet) so if this deal falls through, it will be the answer to someone else's prayers and maybe I can be patient and help facilitate that instead of assuming the memememeeme there, too.

  10. Wonderful words to ponder - thank you!
    many blessings

  11. Ahhh yes. This one. What you've written is pretty counter cultural right now. It's all about "mommy & me" up in dis life, which is good and great until it does become as you say "I get all the mothering gold stars" and then if we somehow (read:ALWAYS) get it wrong it becomes "now I've ruined their childhood and who they'll become". So many of us need to know this. And yes, the relief is just grand :)

  12. You're just the best. Thanks for the perspective adjustment.

  13. What a great post and so fitting in my life right now, my kids are 19, 16, and 12.

  14. Oh goodness! And only yesterday I was telling everyone my babies are here to make me a better person and get me to Heaven. :) As I'm expecting my second child I am sure I'll see the reality of how important they are to their siblings and not just for me. Oh how sneaky the ME ME ME mentality ALWAYS creeps in.. even when we think we're having wonderfully pious thoughts!


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