So this is for the mums (and dads) who feel like me in this photo…… captured by one of my tribe when I was having “a moment”. This is for those who are feeling the heavy burden today. For the ones who are finding parenting nothing like they expected it to be. The ones who are painfully sleep deprived….or waiting on the next phone call from school to discover another disappointing thing about their child…..or the ones who yelled yet again and are filled with shame….. or the ones who feel like they can’t do another day in battle with their toddler….. or the ones full of worry about who their child is becoming…… or the ones who love their child, but deep down, sometimes feel like they don’t like them much, and are too scared to admit it. This is for the parents who are seemingly making gains with their child, then all of a sudden they feel like they’re back at square one…… all their best efforts and intentions possibly wasted. This is for the parents who are trying to cover all bases, but end up covering none….. and things just look messy when everyone around you seems to have all their ducks in a row. This is for the parents who continue to pour out, only to not see where it is going……. for those whose teen shut the door in their face, again.
This is for the parents who so desperately wanted a child but are now questioning whether they are built for this.
I can honestly say I can relate to all of this. I have had one of those weeks where, despite my own advice and theories, it all got a bit heavy. It’s a week where I wanted to hide my face and retreat for a while….. or more. A week where my pre-schoolers are taking all I can give in the day, and my teens more than I can give in the evenings. Pouring out but not winning. It’s so easy in these moments or weeks to look at the road ahead with uncertainty.
It’s also in these moments that I can stop and realise that this is it. Real love. The opportunity and privilege of loving when they are being the most unlovable. Loving without restraint or expectation of return. Loving when it doesn’t look nice, neat and insta-pretty. Acknowledging that love is so much more than a feeling…….. it’s a beautiful sacrificial, selfless act of giving of oneself for the benefit of another.
I often think of how I imagined motherhood to look like before I birthed our first babe. I really don’t think I thought beyond a few restless nights and a baby sleeping soundly in a pram whilst I sipped a latte. What a wonderful, short-lived, dream that was. I do think that we are not always to know what is to come, what is around the corner. It is human nature to avoid pain…… however it is also pain, the inescapable kind, that refines us, humbles us and keeps us in touch with humanity. I am so glad I did not know in advance all the pain that was attached to parenting. The pain of seeing your child rejected. The pain of watching your beautiful child make bad decisions. The pain of watching your child feel pain themselves. The pain of not being able to recreate a perfect world around them. The pain of, in essence, of not being in control….. especially as they move toward independence. And mostly, the pain of being rejected by your own child when all your wanting us the very best for them…. but they don’t see it. Yet, I wouldn’t change a thing. Exposing myself to this via motherhood, even unwittingly, has been the most wonderful thing in the world.
To feel so deeply, even if it is painful, means I am truly loving and loving well. It is a privilege to love, and a privilege to parent. And this is what I want to keep in the forefront of my mind during the weeks like this. It is also the time, when someone who has walked the road ahead of you, can put their arm around you and say …. “It’s all going to be ok.These bumps in the road are defining the character of your child, and refining your depth and ability to love.You are more capable than you feel, and stronger than you think.You were born for such a time as this.You were chosen for this child.Take heart, there is a beauty and new hope every morning” and as my nan would say “This too, shall pass”. Thankfully, I had such loving truth spoken to me throughout my mothering, and I suppose I am wanting to pass it on to others needing it today.
So for those parents out there, who have had a week like me, I salute you! You are not alone. This parenting is not for the faint hearted but we can do this. It hurts at times, but it means you are loving well, and what greater call is there in this life than to love well? Even the painful kind.
Greta ….. The Butcher’s Wife xx