Sometimes it’s palpable.
The churn of emotion that lies just under the veneer.
I’m blessed to speak frequently to a variety of mom groups. Some have circled up for a study, some meet over a specific topic regarding their children, some simply huddle together for laughter and support.
These women are mothering children of a variety of ages and stages. Some are coming from a legacy of great parenting from their parents. Others are not and are having to find their way. But regardless of where these women are at in their mothering careers, there is a question pulsing through the inner life of their hearts with astonishing universality.
“Am I doing this mother thing right?”
And its harsh ancillary…
“What about all the things I’m doing wrong?”
Your house is a mess and you worry what your lack of organization will do to your kids. Or it’s not a mess and you know that your zeal for order leaches resources from your portion of patience. Your kid’s homework project is a last minute disaster and by comparison, it looks like every other kid could build architectural models for high end clients. Or the grades are going well, but your child’s mouth and sass is out of control. Your daughter is perfectly behaved for adult observers but a pint-sized dictator to her peers. Or your kid is the one out of control during children’s church and every week you have the same conversation at the door to the Bible class room, a recitation of his behavior. You didn’t finish writing thank-you notes from your baby shower…three years ago. Your toddler is joyful and happy but you’re still wearing maternity pants to acommodate the leftover baby weight. Your friends’ teenagers are applying for scholarships but your teen is having to do court-ordered community service and what does that say about you? Your career is moving forward beautifully but your children miss you. Or you decided to stay home with your children and now you’re underwhelmed by the pedantic routine and overwhelmed by the need to constantly nurture in an isolated environment.
And through it all echoes the dissonant, discordant drone of fatigue, worry, judgement, right, wrong, less than.
I’ve been there. Some days I still go there. And I roll those familiar themes over and over in my heart.
You do too.
So for today…
Whatever it is…
Whatever the note is today that is whining its tinny judgement in your ear…
Whatever it is for you…
Today, enjoy your child. Enjoy. In joy. Marvel again at the hue of their eyes and the curve of their nose. Ponder the tenor of their voice. Laugh. Make them laugh. Let them make you laugh.
Because this I do know…
The melody of chosen joy blocks the waves of doubt. It doesn’t fix what might need to be fixed. It doesn’t forever extinguish doubt.
But it reminds you.
Why we do this mothering thing.
Because it is a chosen, deliberate, adored joy.
Enjoy. In joy.