I've been thinking about Mother's Day and what it means to be a mom over the past few days. Motherhood is the hardest job I have ever had and probably ever will. It's also not what I expected. At all. Both in good ways and not such good ways.
I expected getting pregnant would be easy. It wasn't.
I expected having a girl allowed for an instant female to female connection with her. It didn't.
I expected forming a bond with my son would be difficult. It wasn't. It was magical.
I expected that my kids would go to school this spring. They didn't.
I expected my family and I would go crazy all cooped up together. Well, that one is sort of true.
One thing I didn't expect was how much they would need me. Of course, as infants and toddlers, I understood their dependence on me was vital, but even then, I had a hard time having them around me all the time. I was never one of those moms who breastfed my kids and enjoyed every minute. I wanted my body back. I was never the mom who dreaded leaving them for the first time to go on a trip somewhere. I wanted ME time.
While I have taught my children to become self-sufficient with many things, their emotional needs have grown. I thought the emotional part is where I'd thrive as a parent. I love giving words of wisdom and lots of advice. You know, the one-liners that make them think and then apply immediately (I now realize how ridiculous this sounds as I am typing it). But they don't want my words or advice. They want to be with me. Do life alongside me, especially now that their social interactions have dwindled to nothing.
Here's my dilemma: I am a person who desperately needs space and independence. Freedom from other people's schedules. Freedom from others' expectations. But being a mom requires me to set down ME time and make it WE time.
As I read through my weekly bible study today, one line stuck out:
"God wants us to need him."*
Ugh. I don't want to need anyone because I don't want to be needed, at least not all of the time. Immediately, my walls went up. But God gently tore them down, and pointed out something I needed to hear:
You try so hard to be independent of everyone else; you forget how to depend on me. You spend so much time trying to create space for "you", you don't see how much you are pushing me away. You forget what it looks like in real-time. Not only that, your desire for independence is now leaking onto your children. Don't you see how much your daughter wants to depend on you? She knows she is capable of doing things alone, but she wants you to be with her in the process. You keep pushing her away. These are the years you can teach your children how to lean into the relationships I created, and ultimately teach them what dependence upon the Lord looks like.
I am all for training up children to become responsible contributors to society. I don't think God was telling me to stop teaching them life skills or how to figure out math on their own. I do think He is teaching me something much bigger. To depend on someone isn't life-stealing; it's life-giving. And to be depended upon gives me insight into how I ultimately rely on my Heavenly Father.
*Stuck Bible Study by Jennie Allen
May 6, 2020