Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Out Of Balance

So I just read an honest blog by a frustrated, juggling mother with a fondness for the f word. A little profane, but I slogged through it anyway because she was so honest. I’d have to count on both hands how long it’s been since I was in her shoes—okay, I might need my toes for that, too—but reading her post made me realize something important.
Things haven’t changed.
She’d probably take umbrage to that, since the whole point of her frustration is that none of today’s psycho gurus seem to understand it doesn’t help to tell young families to keep “balance.”  If she could balance the chaos of raising kids, she’d be in control. And she’s not in control. That’s what having kids teaches you. Life doesn’t stay the same for more than twenty minutes on a good day and you are not in control.
Things are always changing.
I didn’t know “balance” is the new bullwhip used against young moms.  When my kids were growing up, all I ever heard about was “quality time.”  I haven’t heard that buzz phrase in a while, though.  I think somebody figured out that “quality time” only happens in “quantity time,” and who has that? 
I only raised two children.  If I’d been courageous enough to birth more kids to practice on, I’d have done some things differently. But that’s no guarantee I’d have been any better at mothering than I was the first two times. It might simply have been different and then I’d have had to birth more kids to try another approach and who can afford that many kids before you learn to be perfect?
See, I think all those armchair childrearing experts don’t really mean ‘balance’ or ‘quality’ when they give out unsolicited advice. What they really mean is ‘strive for perfection’.  But here’s a newsflash for you—God Himself was the perfect parent in that Garden and look what happened.
Things changed.
So to all you exhausted, guilt-ridden, disillusioned mothers of children with atomic energy and fathomless needs, here’s what I’ve learned about raising kids and keeping a marriage intact.  Every day it changes.  Every.Single.Day. 
And also this.  Your kids will always love you.  And someday they’ll even appreciate you.  Especially when they become parents themselves.
That never changes.

Photo courtesy of Colin Harris's photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/18091121@N00/5136926303

6 comments:

  1. Thank you for your encouraging post :). I am a mother to two amazing children and I can tell you that some days I definitely feel inadequate in keeping a "balance" or having "quality time" with them. I know at the end of the day that I was trying my very best and tomorrow we can work on it again.

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    1. You are right in the trenches there, JoAnna. It is such a learn-as-you-go commitment. I remember someone telling me that by the time we feel qualified to be parents, we're out of a job. That makes me think that parenting is as much for our growth as it is for helping our kiddos grow. I love that you called your two kids "amazing" - I can tell they are lucky to call you 'mom'. Thank you for leaving a comment for me!

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  2. Love this post, Eula!! As the mother of two grown children and four grandchildren ranging in ages 4 to 1, I couldn't agree more with your sentiments. I spent a number of years worrying about the "damage" I did to my kids for not being there enough, being there too much, having a career, not having a career - we can truly guilt ourselves to death - and it serves no useful purpose. Things change. Daily. Sometimes hourly or by the minute. Deal with it. Expect it. And move on. That's what I think anyway (and happily my two grown kids seem to love me in spite of myself). :-)

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    1. If we stay on that seesaw of insecurity while we parent, we miss out on the gift of enjoying our kids. I made a point of apologizing to my children when I knew I was wrong and asking for their forgiveness. But my insecurities extended into their adulthood as I worried, like you wrote, that I'd done damage to them. Finally,one of my grown kids told me that every time I asked them to be sure and tell me where I'd wounded them, it made them feel like I thought they were screwed up. So I stopped that! And just like when they were little, it helped me enjoy my adult kids more. I'm still learning from my children. I'm so grateful for your comments here!

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  3. I love this! I've found myself cringing every time someone throws that balance word out there. I am never in 'balance' - life is always fluctuating. It is a fluid thing and we have to roll with it...thank you for the encouragement. :)

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    1. I know I've been guilty of tossing that word around, too. It just hit home yesterday when I read that poor young mom's blog how guilt inducing that word can be. It even feels like freedom to let go of trying to stay "in balance." I love your phrasing here, that life is "fluctuating" and "fluid". I may have to blog out loud and dance around with those words soon . . . Thank you so much for commenting!

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