A friend and I were recently discussing our teenagers. Well, okay, we were venting: mine didn’t get up on time; hers was always missing the school bus. Mine won’t empty the dishwasher without twelve reminders; hers complained that there was no food in the house when the pantry was so obviously full. I think any mom could have jumped right in and added to our list. Then suddenly we stopped, and one of us said, “Tell me again why we wanted to have kids.”
Good Question: Why Did I Want to Have Kids?
I remember each of my positive pregnancy tests so well: the excitement that filled me when I finally saw those two lines in the little result window instead of just the one negative line. For one thing, our first child came after several years of infertility with so many doctor appointments, constant lab tests, a surgery, medicated cycles, and a lot of prayers. I had desperately wanted children, and I promised myself if-and-when they came, I would be the best. mom. ever. After all, I had almost six long years before I had a baby to study (and okay, judge) all my friends who were already parents, those moms at the grocery store, and the couples at church. I was never going to do what they did … and I would definitely handle that situation better than that other parent did.
I had it all figured out. My kids were going to be a source of constant joy in my life …
Then I had a baby. And twenty-six months later, I had another one. Then nine years after that, we added a little “bonus blessing” to our family. If you are a mom, you know that each child is so different but so loved and cherished. Of course, each baby has its own challenges. My children did not face any diagnoses outside of the usual baby issues – diaper rash, thrush, colic, eczema. My baby-toddler days were comparatively simple to those of a mom dealing with an autism diagnosis or some other special need. However, it is amazing how any child can rattle your confidence and make you eat your zealous words spoken before you really knew what parenthood meant.
Even as young moms, my friends and I would compare our grievances: my baby didn’t sleep all night due to teething; her toddler didn’t like any food she offered – and so on. I think we all need that outlet to share those frustrations with someone else who understands. Thank God for our moms, friends, and mentors who listen, commiserate, and often have great suggestions to guide us through our parenting years.
And those kids? They really are great! I try to remind myself that I need to point out the good things they do each day, even if it is just something little like remembering to wipe the toothpaste blob out of the sink. I think a child of any age loves hearing praise. What a privilege as a mom to be able to point out their very best character traits because you know them best!
I challenge us to speak more about the positive than about the negative in our children’s lives today.
My goal is to let my child know I am proud of them and that I realize they are still learning and discovering themselves. Each child struggles differently; they mature at various rates. I can’t compare my kid to yours – although sometimes they BOTH aren’t doing their chores, and that might make me and you feel better. I also venture to guess that my kids and yours all have some really great attributes. Let’s talk about those … after we vent about all those dirty dishes.