Two things occurred to be yesterday while I watched my kids by the pool;
1. I have not shared my beach weekend with you.
2. How precious is this mothering gig that we have.
It seems like being a mom has turned into the cool thing all the sudden...mostly just in a celebrity sense I mean. Every celebrity out there is adopting babies or having 5 dozen of their own. If a Kardashian has a kid, it must be cool right?
When I found out I was pregnant with Noah, I did not think it was cool. I was young...too young, and scared witless.
When Noah was born, I was bound a determined to not just be another "young dumb mom." I learned things, read books, engaged him in tactile and multisensory learning activities...the whole gamut. Also, I was a hard nose.
I had preconceived notions of everything; potty trained by "this" age, writing his letters at "that" age. I loved the heck out of him, but I think mostly I wanted to be the "good" mom. As in, the mom with the kid that's potty trained and signing the alphabet too.
In 10 years, I've changed a lot as a mom. I'm not so hard. I feel gentler. I enjoy my kids more than being worried about what they know. I'm in no way perfect, but I've definitely evolved into a sweeter mama.
You see, these last few weeks for whatever reason I've been really watching kids. Watching their faces, watching their body language, seeing how they respond to their mamas and daddies. I was watching a little boy at the pool with his mom yesterday. He was little...4ish, paddling around with his little wings on. His mom was being so hard on him about not swimming "right."
"No, you don't need that toy, it's a distraction. You need to be learning how to swim."
"Kick your legs or you'll never swim right."
"That's not yours, put it down."
"If you're not going to swim right, we're not coming back to the pool."
The thing that made me cringe a bit was not because I knew she was crushing his sweet little spirit and making herself look like a crab, even though that made me feel bad too. The thing that broke my hard was she sounded like I did. I know I sounded like that.
I look at Noah sometimes and wonder if he remembers how awful I made his potty training experience, if he's been scarred by my negligence, if I created a barrier between us even way back then by being so authoritative.
Listening to that mom yesterday made me want to scoop all three of mine up on my lap and tell them how important they were. That they aren't just kids, but they're people. Real little people. The enormity of our jobs as moms hit me so hard yesterday.
It made me wonder...are my kids happy? Do they feel safe and protected? Are they secure in our love for them? Do they feel "good enough" or that I always want better and better from them?
I want them to feel full. Full.
I want definite security that Jarrod and I support them and love them unconditionally. I want them to have confidence in themselves. I want them to be happy. Strong. Full of wisdom.
Believe me, as a mom that is around her kids a lot I know it gets tiring...it's hard to not get crabby, but I don't want an excuse right now. I want my kids seeing me love through the frazzled days. Choosing joy over critical, because I can...and I should.
When I had Jack, my mothering changed a lot. I had more patience as they both grew. When Sophie came along I felt so much more confident in myself as a mom.
So many things in life are a balance issue, being a mom is no different. My worry always used to be that if I let even the tiniest thing slide, they'd be on the path to rebellion. But now I feel the opposite; if we lead with love first, the rest will fall into place. Would Jesus correct my kids with an iron fist or lead with love?
Watching them yesterday, I think I just had a moment of clarity. My epiphane for that split second made me see them as such gifts...not to keep, but gifts God has entrusted me with for a time. Clarity, meaning realizing just how important everyday is that I have them under my roof.
What a gift they are to me.
What a blessing.
Life is short, but no duh, right?? That's nothing new, but since we know that's a fact I want to take advatage of every day I have with my kids. Not meaning having some unhealthy, I-cannot-ever-be-separated-from-my-kids syndrome, but a real presence instead.
Giving them my whole attention instead of 45%, loving before I lash out first, letting them know it's ok to fail...that they're still ok and they're still loved.
Scripture tells us to teach scripture to your kids (Deut. 4:9), to not exasparate your kids (Ephesians 6:4), to not embitter your kids (Col. 3:21), to train our kids (Proverbs ), heck we're even supposed to be like kids (Matthew 18:3).
I don't think these lessons are supposed to be sit-down and listen ones. I think they're everyday/all day lessons.
How I react when the milk spills? What do I say when someone cuts me off in my lane? How do I behave when I'm stressed to the max?
They're entrusted to us, what am I teaching them?
We're all a work in progress...til we're not anymore. I'm not trying to be hard on myself as much as just remind myself what a gift my kids really are...to make the most of everyday...just a reminder-to-self.
Have a blessed day, mamas. Enjoy your kids today. Sometimes we have to love through our teeth a little bit, but it's still love. And I know our kids will be blessed for it...and so will we.
PS: I forgot to give you this...your Summer soundtrack. It's good stuff. You're gonna want to play this while you make an easy dinner and sip on coconut rum while wearing a breezy summer dress...you just are.