There are so few parenting moments in which I think . . . “Yeah. That was spot-on. They should write books about what I just said.”
But the other day while we were driving to preschool, I had one. My only regret was the lack of a rolling camera to capture my shining moment.
So as we were driving along in our swagger wagon, late as usual, me feeling a bit cranky because I need every last second of my boys being at preschool, the three of us began to talk about swimming this summer.
Samuel was expressing, rather boastfully so his non-swimming brother could hear, how excited he is to swim in the shallow end of the pool because he can now swim all by himself.
All three of my children have an intense fear of the deep-end. I could stand on my head and sing “I’m A Yankee Doodle Dandee” backwards in an attempt to get them to understand if they can swim in the shallow, they can swim in the deep and they still won’t be convinced.
“Buddy, if you can swim in the shallow end it doesn’t matter how deep the water is,” I explain for oh, I don’t know, maybe the 10,005th time this year.
Fixing those lashes and that killer dimple right on me, he unapologetically disagrees.
“Yes, buddy, you can. It’s all in your mind. You get scared and you start to think about it too much and before you know it, you’re like Peter when he walks on water and sinks when he takes his eyes off of Jesus,” I retort, beginning to be amazed by my stellar parenting prowess.
He’s silent. He’s digesting. I think I’m finally getting through. I proceed.
“And you know what, bud? Who controls fear?” I ask. “Is it from God?”
“No,” he answers thoughtfully. I’m nailing this.
“That’s right. When we choose to not do something because we’re scared we aren’t giving God enough credit. There are many things I do that scare me but I step-out in courage and He always delivers,” I add.
Quiet. Thoughtful. Gazing out the window. Spencer listens intently, too. I’m rockin’ it.
After a hushed five minutes, he declares, “I’m still gonna wear my water wings.”
And just like that, my big moment, the one time when I was even impressed by my own parenting, was shot down in a blaze of glory.
Thank God there weren’t any cameras.
Which, come to think of it, is how I feel about most events in my everyday life.
I’m so not the mom I thought I would be. I really did envision myself as the kind of mother who would do crafts around the kitchen table, which is completely hysterical when you think of the fact that I actually hate crafts.
I’m not sure why I thought I would one day do crafts with my children, as if this Fairy Godmother from Jo-Ann Fabrics would descend upon me and bless me with the crafting knowledge of what to do with a flippin’ pompom and a glue gun.
I also thought I would do all kinds of homeschooling types of stuff without really homeschooling. Like, since I’m a former Title One teacher, actually teaching my children to read.
It’s a good day when we get a book read. It makes me cringe to write this but it’s the cold-hard truth.
But you know what I think I do at least good enough?
I love those children with a fierceness that makes it clear to them they’re a priority. I give good hugs. I go to their soccer games and swim lessons and school programs and class parties and I take pictures and sit with tears brimming my eyes because wasn’t it just yesterday they descended from my womb?
There are many areas in which I lack mothering skills. There are many of my lessons I teach which I think are amazing and end-up embarrassingly ineffective. There is so much I thought I would do as a mom but now accept that I won’t ever.
So I just trust He knew what He was doing when He picked me to be their mother – deep end and all.
How do your kids keep you humble? What are your strengths as a mother?
Thank you Natalie! I so needed this, especially the part about I might not do everything right, but I do love my girls fiercely, give good hugs, etc.! Thank you!!! Love your blog & stories!
You are welcome, Kandi! We do the best we can do with our limitations of being in the flesh, don’t we?
And guess what? That’s enough.
Thank you for reading and commenting, sweet friend.
OK…I am cracking up because I can totally see him doing this. :) I love this post, I have been there too when I think I am totally making sense, the perfect truth of God’s word woven in with a childlike retelling to fit their situation…only to have blank eyes look up at me. Usually, I keep talking and they move on to something totally different in which I realize that I am mostly speaking for myself. Hilarious! This post (and many of your other ones) totally go along with my “Mom’s keeping it real” campaign of FB! We need to drop the pretense and let people see our real. Our good, bad, ugly and just plain hilarious…and then encourage each other in Christ. Like the fact that we are doing something very right if we simply love them unconditionally, despite our many messy mom moments. Great blog my friend! xo
Amen, sister! I hear you!
Yes, I’ve enjoyed reading your posts when I am able to jump on Facebook. Love that you’re doing this!
Great blog…so real and so true. I have never done anything that has humbled me as much as this parenting thing. It reminds me of those pictures you see on the internet…how I think I look doing something verses how I really look. Only it is, as you said, my expectation of how I will parent (with the underlying assumption I’d be so much better than my mom ;-) ) and how I actually stumble through my days as a mom. When my kids were babies, I would have been wise to consider it victorious that they managed to survive every day. Now that I have a teenager….um, young adult…I know it is wise to consider it victorious that he survives another day (whether his actions cause his own undoing or whether “I brought you into this life and I can take you out of it”). Yeah. Humbling.
Charlotte, I am SO with you – my goal is survival. I agree with you – I think we’re doing well if we are all still alive at the end of the day, too! HA!
Thanks for reading and commenting, sweet sister. You are a blessing.
Wonderful, Natalie! I don’t get to read here enough because I am such a busy mom (it is 24/7 around here!), but this is very encouraging and full of great truths. I especially enjoyed the part about the lack of crafting because I was just beating myself up about that yesterday. I needed to hear from another mom (who I witness loving their kids fiercely!) that it’s ok not to do that. Sometimes I feel like simply not doing the crafts will send me into the “Horrible Mom” category. And I planned to do the whole “homeschool without really homeschooling-activity” thing last summer and it all fell to pieces when I got mono. I STILL beat myself up for never doing it and was putting immense pressure on myself to do it this summer (now maybe I won’t!). :) Thanks for the truths and the freedom to not feel pressure to do it all.
Oh, girl. Release. That. Now.
Everyone is still alive. You all made it.
Mono is serious business.
You know what my summer homeschooling plans consist of? Going to pool. Reading books outside on the picnic blanket. Catching fireflies. Sleeping in.
Yep. Sounds good to me.
Listen: Spencer may not have gotten the lesson, but I sure did. That line, “When we choose to not do something because we’re scared we aren’t giving God enough credit,” hit me like a ton of bricks. I mean I was mid-pretzel eating and read through that line at least 20 times. But seriously, as someone who is yet a mommy I can tell you there are so many things my mom said to me that at the moment I disregarded but today am so grateful she planted that seed. Likewise, one day Spencer is going to need to step out on faith for something and he’s going to remember that conversation. I know it!
You’re an amazing momma and wife, you truly are. Happy Mother’s Day!
Shakirah, do you want to move in with me? I think I could use you around to be my personal cheerleader like, oh, I don’t know…ALL DAY?
Thank you so much for your encouraging words, sister. You are right about planting the seed. I’ll keep planting in the hopes that one day there will be fruit.
And YOU will be one amazing mama and wife, girl.
How in the world you can make me howl with laughter, nod in agreement, and then be so utterly thankful for your transparency.
Motherhood is real — and whatever image or expectation we have of some tv mom should not even entire our – my mind(s). We’re nailing parenting because we’re sharing Jesus with our kids. And that friend is amazing!!
Amen, sister. You are right!!! Thanks for putting it into perspective, sweet friend. Happy Mother’s Day!
Love the part about fear not coming from god. Such a great reminder. I’m also a teacher, and NEVER have spent my summers doing school things with my kiddos. I always mean to..but like you mentioned sleeping in, pools, parks, splash park, etc seem to be more interesting ;). My oldest starts kinder in August, so I have made it a point to work more with him. BUT I guarantee we will still spend our summer “out of school” mode. Thanks for another great post.
Jessica, it’s something I have to tell myself all of the time. Fear. Is. Not. From. God.
Don’t we all just need to have fun in the summer? What happened to that?? I’m with you – we’ll be doing pool time, for sure!!! :)