I yell sometimes. Okay, maybe often is more accurate than sometimes. It’s happening so often recently that when I ask my one year old “what does the mama say?,” my husband teasingly makes loud noises. It’s funny, in a sad way, because it’s accurate.
I yelled today. I picked up the kids from “church school” (daycare) and we had been in the car for less than 5 minutes when it happened.
I didn’t just raise my voice.
That’s ENOUGH! Just STOP!
I don’t want to be an angry mom who yells. It’s not like I put it on my list of things to do. Today, I will lose my cool and let my kids have it. I don’t want my kids to look back on their childhood and remember me as an impatient or angry dictator mom who yelled all the time.
If I’m being honest, “mom” was not on my list of things I wanted to be when I grew up. Though the list evolved and included lawyer, journalist, writer, successful professional woman, Ph.D and theologian, “mom” was never really a goal. Maybe it’s because I had an angry mom, and my childhood memories of her aren’t warm and fuzzy. Or maybe it’s because money and education were bigger status symbols to a poor kid on welfare, whose mom was in and out of jail and drug rehab. Whatever the reason, “mom” wasn’t something I imagined myself being one day.
Now that I’m a mother of two, I can’t imagine being anything other than mom. It’s a paradox I can’t explain, but my heart changed a little over three years ago when we had our firstborn. When she looks up at me in the middle of any one of a million mundane moments and declares, “I love you so much, mama,” all of those other hopes and aspirations fade in comparison to this reality.
Whether it was my goal or not, mom is what I am and I wouldn’t change that even if I could.
However, I’m not the mom I want to be. In fact, I can think of a number of moms I’d rather be. I’d like to be the mom who plans meals and clips coupons to perfect the grocery budget. I’d like to be the mom who makes crafts without fussing about the mess. The mom who gets up before the rest of the family on a Saturday for a 5-miler before cooking a big breakfast. Or the mom who reads and prays with her kids every night and teaches them about Jesus without fail.
I don’t necessarily want to do it all. I’d just like to be the mom who does some of it well. Instead, I’m the mom who yells. I’m the mom who struggles to find joy in the chaos of overcooked meals, potty accidents, spilled drinks, seemingly endless ear infections, never-ending loads of laundry and the constant needs of two in the throes of toddlerhood.
Maybe this is you today, too. Maybe you’re struggling with mom life and you’re disappointed with where you are. I hope you’re encouraged to know you’re not alone. This is a safe place for you. It’s okay to admit that maybe this isn’t all you hoped.
If you find yourself here today feeling like you’re not the mom or person you want to be, let me offer you the only thing I have: grace. Grace gives me patience when I want to lose my cool. Grace teaches my children it’s okay to mess up because forgiveness is real and repentance is important. Grace allows me to say in faith “my flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart, my portion forever” (psalm 73:26). Grace redeems the mom I am instead of guilting me to be the mom I’m not.
Have you experienced this grace? His name is Jesus, and from him we have all received grace upon grace. I hope you know there is grace for you, too. Grab hold of it, of him, and never let go.