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Grace for the Hard Days

Several years ago, I sat on my kitchen floor crying over a hard decision I was making for my child. That decision? To pull my three year old out of preschool.

He wasn't ready.

I had convinced myself that this would ruin the rest of his life. My bewildered husband said to me in a very gentle voice, “Preschool is not Harvard Medical school. He will be okay!” You will be relieved to know my three year old is now 27 and his life was not ruined.

I laugh when I think of that now.

I am a mom of six and have had to make many more tough decisions over the years.

Motherhood is hard at times especially now as we are in the midst of a pandemic! We want to do it well and we never know if we are doing anything right. There is so much riding on this job. In our minds, all the choices we make seem so important. There is a terrible insecurity that comes with mothering. We often wonder whether we are doing anything right. Being a special needs mom is even more difficult.

We live our lives for our kids. If our children are doing well, we get praised for how well we do our job.

But if a child misbehaves or is struggling we often feel judged. We feel like we are terrible parents. We feel guilty.

I have been on the receiving end of judgement several times in my life. Two of my children have behavioral issues due to special needs. When I am judged I often want to try to fix the problem or hide.

It takes humility to be a mother.

“Humility is the dedicated acceptance of one’s duty on life.” — Thomas Merton

Sometimes I fight my duty, but not because I do not want this duty. (If I am being honest there are times when I want to quit this job of mothering.) I want to do it well. My idea of doing it well is a good result, a tangible outcome so others can say, “Good job, look how well you did!” “You’re a good mom!”

But when things start to look bad or my child’s challenging behavior doesn’t get better. I try harder, hustle more; I retreat and worry about being judged. I feel guilty that I should be doing a better job than I am.

The truth is, life is messy and there is so much hard. Kids don’t do what you want them to do — they are human and have problems. I cannot control any of that.

I need to love my kids and give myself more grace.

I should always pay attention when I start to get frantic. When I want to hustle or come up with a better system to fix a problem. I should also pay attention when I start to blame myself and let the feeling of

guilt color my view of myself. I should pay attention when I want to hide for fear of being judged.

That is the moment when I should be still and listen.

I need to give my worries and striving to God. To remember that raising children can be messy, loud, frantic, and also beautiful.

His love for us never fails and He holds is in his hands.

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