When Jack first came home I swore I was going to love every second of being a mother. After losing a baby and then going through the arduous process of adopting, I had worked hard to be a mom. I saw people yelling at their kids in the grocery store or ignoring them in a restaurant and I promised myself that would never be me. I was going to cherish every blessed moment of parenting.
Fast forward almost 16 years and you know what? I don’t cherish every moment. I yell at my kids in the grocery store and I have attempted (usually unsuccessfully) to ignore my children at a restaurant so that my husband and I could try to have an adult conversation. There are even moments when I wonder if it’s all worth it; If maybe I would have been better off living the yuppie life.
I love my kids, I really do. Always. The thing is there are times I could most definitely do without. I don’t need to be awoken at 2 am by a child covered from head to toe in an itchy rash. I could use a few minutes of silence both before and after dinner. I would love a teenager who gladly handed me his phone so I could check his text messages. And there are days I could do without the hormonal 13 year old crying over being looked at sideways.
As Thanksgiving approaches and everyone is talking about what they are thankful for I am wondering if it’s okay that I feel this way. Can I still be thankful for my children even if I don’t like being a mom every blessed moment?
I gave this question a lot of thought and I have decided that the answer is yes. I don’t think you have to love every moment. Sheesh, parenting is not always fun and there are lots of really hard parts. I think that there is something warped about anyone that says they love every second of parenting. It’s just not humanly possible. The important thing is not to love every second but to acknowledge the seconds that you do love:
When my 7 year old looks up at me and says, “I love you so much, there is no more room in my heart,” my heart melts and I am so thankful for being a mom.
When my 10 year old does his elf face and makes an entire room of people laugh, I beam with pride at his sense of humor and I am so thankful for being a mom.
When my 13 year old offers to make many loaves of banana bread for a friends fundraiser, I am pleased by her generosity and I am so thankful for being a mom.
When my 15 year old teaches his younger brother how to play basketball for hours with the patience of a saint, I am amazed by his kindness and I am so thankful for being a mom.
When my kids all come together and rally around the one who is being mistreated by another kid, I am heartened at their strength and loyalty and I am so thankful for being a mom.
The moments that I am thankful for being a mom most definitely outweigh the ones when I am ready to hop in my car, with my little 9lb dog in tow, and just flee the jurisdiction. Some days it is very hard to appreciate my kids with all the snarky comments, battle cries and whining, but when I stop and reflect, I realize that I am very thankful for my family.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.