I am the type of person who looks for the beauty in things.
I try not to let anything go by without seeing an aspect that is praiseworthy in a situation.
And, I love my kids with all of me.
But that’s just it.
Giving all of me can tend to leave me lacking in joy.
Sometimes, the constant pouring myself out to my kids becomes too much, and it becomes hardly possible to see the beauty in it.
I frequently find myself feeling things like:
“I cannot be the one who is continually arranging and rearranging our to-do lists, therapy schedules, school matters, medications and specialist appointments, performing our daily routines, the getting ready, the getting everywhere on time, the managing the schedule to make sure all of the appointments are remembered and accomplished.
I can’t always be the one to analyze whether what we are doing is working well or if we need to change the plan, and also figure out how to. I can’t be the one managing all the paperwork of it all, the applications, the medical forms, the lists of special needs for everyone to know about Lucas beforehand. I can’t be the one doing all the extensive research about all that comes with “special needs,” autism, and ADHD.
I can’t possibly spend another minute being patient.
I can’t be the one who encourages, loves, and helps each child through all of their difficult moments everyday if I am too exhausted. I can’t be the one who wakes up early every day, and in the middle of the night, anytime a kid needs it. And, I don’t have it in me to be the one who cleans up every mess that is created when I’m not looking.
I can’t do all this.
I can’t listen to every detail that my kids want to share with me about the latest game or interest they have. I can’t listen to each and every question presented to me, because I am so preoccupied with all the things I haven’t gotten done yet.”
Then I wonder, in frustration, why does something that is supposed to be so beautiful feel so insurmountable to me?
But, I think it’s because, I shouldn’t keep trying to love them with all of me.
I can’t love them with all of me, because I need some of me too.
I need some of me to function in a somewhat healthy manner. I need some of me to assure my mental health is not suffering. I need some of me to find peace. I need some of me for happiness. I need some of me to enjoy things in life that are not only related to motherhood. I need some of me to function from day to day. I need some of me to feel whole, and to feel well.
So why then, do I have so much guilt over any time I want something for me? Because of this whole notion that a mom loves her kids with all her heart. She is overjoyed by all the small moments that she will never get back when they grow up. While that may be somewhat true, I don’t think its fair to expect it that way.
I simply cannot spend every single moment appreciating what I have now, and the season of life I am in now. I will cherish it yes, but I cannot be driven by the impossibility that my whole life will be my children. A mother can so easily blur these lines, because it is usually her nature to want to do everything for her child. She has all these standards to meet, set by words she has read, in poems, hallmark cards, and becoming a mom books. They all reiterate the beauty and precious nature of these younger years. Her standards have been set by the commercials she’s seen on TV of a mom transformed by motherhood, holding a newborn on her chest. But, nowhere do I see, on TV or in books, the reality to be considered for your mental health to stay in tact.
You cannot make your whole life about, and give your whole life to your children. I need to keep some for me. And although that feels really selfish to type, it also feels so freeing. I give myself permission not to be a perfect mom. I need space in my head and my heart for myself. And that makes me the best mom that I can be for admitting it. I surely wasn’t the best mom I could be when I was sulking over the vast differences between the mom I thought I was supposed to be, compared to the mom I need to be, want to be, and am.
I will accept, I need time for myself. It’s healthier for them. It’s healthier for me. I need space in my heart to love myself. I need space in my mind to think of what I want. I will choose me over them sometimes. And, while I do all this, I am still a good mother. And God loves me just as I am. His grace is enough for me. And His love protects my children- both through me, and independent of me.
That means, I am free to love more than just my children. I am free to love me also.
This doesn’t mean I will ever stop fighting for them. It doesn’t mean I will ever neglect them. It doesn’t mean I ever stop loving them.
But, when I am loving me, while I’m preparing me heart for what’s next, God steps in. He loves them better then I ever could, and He gives me permission to heal and recharge my spirit. And it’s better for us all that way, when I don’t run my well dry, loving my kids with all of me. Instead, I will love them with a really huge part of me. But, I will always save some of me for me.