October 2, 2012

maybe this is why God let me have children

I originally wrote this in June of 2010.  I thought I'd use it as the first in a series of three posts on motherhood.  The first one, today's, shows that it doesn't matter if you have one child or ten, being a mom can be really frustrating and difficult at times.  As much as it is a gift - and what a truly great gift it is! - it also demands sacrifice.  Tomorrow's post will be on a couple of things that have helped me as a mother and the last post will be about having my hands full with my 4 kids aged 4 and under.

Some nights I look back over my days with a great deal of shame.  Let's take, for instance, Tuesday.  Most of the day went really well:  play group, folded laundry, dishes done, visited with Mom, talked to some friends on the phone.  And then during nap time both of my kids were sleeping and this was exactly what I wanted.  Some quiet time to myself to check my email without Ben or L grabbing at the laptop, or my leg, or my arm, or my hair.  To sit without anyone on my person.  Ahhhh..

And then L woke up.  I held her so she'd go back to sleep but then she wouldn't let me put her down.  Every time I tried to lay her back down she'd cry and cry and cling to me.  This drove me over the edge and I yelled at her to go to sleep and leave me alone.

She then gave me that look.  The one where she's afraid and sad and confused, and she just wants her mommy to hold her, but her mommy is the one making her feel that way.  So she just cries a little harder.  Hopefully you don't know what I'm talking about.

It is the worst feeling I have experienced.  

And then I am reminded of what another mom shared once.  She told the story of snapping at her son one day in the car.  Her son began to cry and said, "Don't yell at me, Mommy.  It hurts my feelings."

She then said, "My mother has her defense mechanisms; my husband has learned to protect himself against my words and moods, but my son has nothing.  Sometimes I wonder if maybe this is why God has let me have the one son I have - so I can see how I really treat people."

I have thought about that comment so many times over the months since she first shared it.  I don't freak out at everyone the way I do my kids, but I do loose my patience, jump to conclusions, make snap (usually harsh) judgements, grumble, and become easily frustrated.  Often I find myself wanting to walk away from people who are annoying or frustrating me because I just don't want to take the time to see their side, understand their point, show a little compassion and mercy.  It is very similar to me yelling at my child to "just leave me alone."

In all of these interactions with people I know that it is not only from them that I am withholding charity, but Christ Himself.  The Judgement of the Nations in Matthew 25 is very powerful for me, and I know that many times I am a goat instead of a sheep.  Goats go to Hell - but not this one.  I've still got some filing down to do on my horns, but I fully intend to not spend an eternity away from my God.

"God will give you for eternity what you love the most.  If it's Him, you go to Heaven."  Fr. Larry Richards

I believe that in my vocation of motherhood God is asking me to love Him in a special way through my kids.  So sometimes that just might mean sacrificing my body and personal space to snuggle with a napping girl who craves my presence when I just don't want to.  

Lord, have mercy, because it can be so hard.

I'd like to thank my friend, J, for giving me permission to retell her story.


  1. I get so sad when I get "that look" but every so often it happens. Thank you for sharing this reflection again.

  2. Such a beautiful, honest post! A great priest always reminds me to use the kids' Guardian Angels help to keep myself calm.

  3. Ohhhhh...that look happened way too many times with my firstborn in her first year of life. I should have sought counseling and spiritual guidance. Ugh...so much guilt. I just expected a perfect baby and had NO rhythm let alone schedule for our days and she was just an exhausted baby who wanted to be held and allowed to be a tiny person.
    Sweet Jesus restore her soul where I have wounded!!

    Looking forward to the next two posts!