02 June 2009

the balance of motherhood

being a mommy is what i've always dreamed of. i played baby dolls until i was way too old for it to be cool. my friends and i created intricate 'baby books' for our pretend children {using cut outs from magazines and catalogs of cute children, then naming them, cutting a little piece of my hair to pretend it was my child's, making hospital bracelets, stamping a baby footprint using my own fist and pinky fingers ... we had all the tricks down}. i have always been in love with talking about baby names. i babysat from the time anyone would take me and nannyed for as long as my sweet nanny family would have me. i went to college knowing i wanted to go, but not really sure what to study ... i just wanted to be a wife and mother {my degree is in child & family psychology, go figure}. so now, one wonderful husband and three darling children later, i'm living my dream. i have had opportunities in the recent past to pursue business ventures and just couldn't make that commitment knowing that my real dream was to 'just be a mom'. i love this opportunity to be home with my little ones and willingly and gratefully take on the e.nor. mous task of rasing them {with my wonderful husband, of course}. i really can't complain. but i will for just a moment. raising kids is hard. i'm not talking about the too many sleepless nights, the never-ending messy house to clean, the mountains of laundry to fold, the task of diapering, wiping, dressing, shoe-tying, sippy-cup packing, snack preparing, get out the door and loaded in the car dance that is my everyday life. these things are hard, no doubt. like, for instance, when i've set breakfast out for all the kids and just when i'm finished pouring milk in my own bowl of cereal, one of the darlings spills theirs. and as i am on the floor wiping up the milk, he's asking for more cereal. really? you don't think i'm working on that? do you not see me on the floor wiping up your spilled milk while my cereal is now disgustingly soggy? it's a constant sacrifice of patience, time, energy, and eating soggy breakfast. but, no. that's not what i'm talking about. being a mommy is hard because i love my babies with an incomprehensible amount of love and everything in me wants to protect them. and at the same time, i want to encourage them to grow and master things like independence and responsibility and the idea of consequences. i struggle with this everyday. do i let them ride their bikes ahead of me or should i be right next to them in case they fall? do i encourage them to practice their climbing and reach the tippy top of the playset, or keep them safely on the ground? is it okay for them to play sword fight and get bad guys or should they talk sweet? when the older two are arguing, do i encourage them to figure it out themselves or do i step in? if another child is being unkind, do i take over or let my child face it alone? do we send our oldest baby to public school where he'll be exposed to things i don't want him exposed to, or do we homeschool? is protecting him this way hindering his growth or is it being responsible for what we've been given? i could go on and on. i wouldn't necessarily call myself an overprotective mom, but i certainly don't want to be called an underprotective one either. what is the balance? is there an answer? i kind of don't think so. i don't think there is a formula or a method that will work for every child, every family, every circumstance. {just for the record, i don't believe in relativism. there is truth, there are better ways to parent, be a wife, live your life. i'm just thinking about the details ... how to make everyday, in the moment decisions.} So, this all leads me back to what i know. i can not do this on my own. one of my favorite songs is by shawn mcdonald called 'here i am'. i sing these words often and pray them for my life:
i lay myself at your feet asking you won't you meet won't you meet me i cannot do it on my own i cannot do it all alone here i am, oh, tonight with my arms open wide won't you come inside come and fill this heart of mine i'm in need of you of your touch, of your life, of your love i need you i need you
i think that is my answer. i can never, by myself, even with the help of every parenting book out there, figure out how to be the best mom to my boys. there is no way. i am human and will fail no matter how hard i try. but i have the holy spirit living in me - the one true living god - living inside of me. wanting to direct me. wanting to help me. all i have to do is believe and listen for his guidance.
"but the counselor, the holy spirit whom the father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything i have said to you." john 14:26.
if i really believe what i believe is true, then certainly the god who parted the red sea so that his beloved people could escape slavery; the god who rescued three of his children from a firey furnace; the god who sent his son to be born by a young virgin girl; the god who raised his son from the grave; the god who gave the holy spirit to ALL who believe in him and promised that we'd do miracles in his name; surely, if diseases can be healed, lives transformed, freedom given to the bound, then the same holy spirit can help me discern whether or not my children should climb on a playset. he cares. he really does. and he sees everything we do. even wiping up spilled milk. e m i l y {lexindustries.blogspot.com}


  1. This is beautiful. You are a gifted, brilliant writer, Em... and of course these words would not be able to flow withouth the depth of heart behind them. I am racing around getting ready for camp and sat down just long enough to read this and it was truly a sweet gift in the middle of a rushed day. thank you!

  2. just wondering if you would add me to your blog. i loved when you participated in the house tour. loved your sons' room.

    not sure if you will get this or not.