Before L came along, I knew what kind of mother I would be: the organized mother. I would have it all together. I would always be wearing makeup and look great for my husband. I would never lose patience with my children (they would be angels anyways), I would always be in great shape physically, and in control of my mind and actions.
My kids would be respectful and polite. They would never throw tantrums in public, would help me put away all toys, would never watch television, and always have pants on.
They would never talk back, would be reading books by age 3, and have a full vocabulary, including "please" and "thank you" by age 2.
But above all, my kids would certainly NEVER use a pacifier. Ever.
I don't believe in karma. However, I believe that everything happens for a reason. And I believe God has a sense of humor. He has taught me more in the past 21 months than I can handle, really.
Pretty much everything that I have ever judged other parents for has come back to bite me. Yes, everything. L is very strong-willed but also sensitive - so right now, it is all about shaping his will but not crushing his spirit. He is a joy and a riot - but he is also very smart - and knows how to push buttons. We have pretty much checked off everything on the above list... Let's recap:
- Respectful and polite: L threw a toy at my pastor's kid last night. Yeah, of all kids, my pastor's kid.
- Throw tantrums in public: not only would he NOT sit in the cart at Shop N Save the other day, he picked his legs up and kept them over the front of the cart so I couldn't get his legs in. He then swore at me in baby language and we proceeded our close-quarter-combat show in the middle of the parking lot. I won.
- Help me put away toys - hahahahahaha
- Never watch television - this morning he watched two movies. I know, I know: mom fail.
- Always wear pants: yesterday, I kept him in a t-shirt and diaper until he removed said diaper. Then shorts went over a clean diaper. Both the shorts and the diaper were removed and he peed on his tent (yes, this did happen). Then a clean diaper, a onesie with very strong buttons, and pants were thrown on with socks (socks just make him mad, I figured it'd distract him from the diaper). Win.
- Never talk back: See point above. He swears at me in baby all the time, I just can't prove it.
- Reading books: Well, he's not 3 yet, but yesterday I walked in to find he had completely ripped apart one of my favorite board books for him. Literally pieces lying all over the room.
- "Please" and "thank you" - Again: hahahahahahaha
- Never use a pacifier: yikes. This is by far the worst: everywhere I go, I get those stares (the ones I used to give). I get little comments from other parents who can tell other people how snarky they were with me: "you still have that thing?" "When is mama going to take that away from you?" "I bet you'd talk more if you didn't have that thing in your mouth". I just nod and smile. See, I kind of consider it my payment. I figure if I endure the comments and open stares now, maybe I won't feel so bad about what a jerk I was pre-L. Make sense?
I could defend the "me-me" as L calls it (yes, it unfortunately has a name). I could say that it's one more step to remove it from his mouth when he finds a piece of a goldfish cracker on the floor or something - you know, it could slow him down from ingesting something that could potentially hurt him. But to be honest, he has the thing because I can't stand the crying.
I know one day soon we will be fighting over this point too - and I will eventually win. Eventually.
I guess my point is this: I have learned a lot over the past 21 months. A lot. I have learned my lesson (and more). I am tired of trying to be "organized mom" and with the constant comparisons with other moms. I refuse to only show our best side on Facebook.
I saw a post the other day that really touched my heart. One of my friends posted it, it was from a blog (Humble Musings). See, since I became a Beachbody Coach, I have been trying to really change the way I see myself and other people. I am feeling great, my body is getting healthier, I am happy, and I truly want to help others gain health and happiness. It's also forced me to take a good look inside at my own character and I initially didn't like what I saw. God is using my job as a means to change me, and shape me into who He wants me to be. It's painful at times, but I know it is worth it. It requires vulnerability, which goes against every fiber of my being. But this is why I post blogs and such about my failures and my hard-learned lessons (like The Binky Judger).
Anyways, here is what I read and it truly applies to my life now:
"And then other times, there is something very beautiful inside our hearts – love and compassion and empathy and tears and friendship and adoration – but that’s the thing we keep bottled inside. We talk about stupid stuff instead.
At the end of my life, I want to have lived a vulnerable life. Vulnerability requires courage. It means seeing vanity as a sin worthy of hell fire, and not as an annoying little trait that I happen to have. It means a deep understanding of who you are before the heavens. It is understanding that the story of Job was about God and not about Job. It means an intentional death blow to the spidery, ugly roots of pride that extend into the deep corners of our hearts.
I know this. The kingdom of heaven is a paradox: Blessed are the poor in spirit– those who understand their true, poor state before a holy God– for theirs is the kingdom. It’s no use being strong and putting on airs. Nobody thinks you’re strong anyway; they just think you’re a jerk. And I’m so tired of being a jerk."
I too am tired of putting on a front. I am tired of trying to be "perfect mom" and "organized mom". I want to be real. I want to help others. And I want to be the best REAL mom I can be to my L, who deserves that from me. He is not a perfect child, and I am definitely not a perfect mother. But with God's grace, we will make it through: he will come out still strong-willed but with a good heart and a good purpose, and I will come through a lot less judgey!
Recommendation: Christ in the Chaos - this book completely changed the way I parent. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what I did, I still need grace - and L needs to know that both he and his mommy need Jesus every day.