Each of my four children is so very different from each other and from my husband and I. At times this has caused me to wonder,
Why am I your mother?
When I was younger I used to think that I would end up with children just like me. I knew exactly how I was going to raise them, and I was pretty sure that I had everything all figured out. Boy oh boy was I wrong! I’m going to be very open and share one of my not so proud parenting moments to illustrate my point.
To say my second son was a challenge when he was younger would be a drastic understatement. My husband and I used to have a hand off system to make sure that he was constantly supervised. One day, when he was 2 years old, I decided to let him play in his room while I folded clothes down the hall. I had recently painted my sons’ room and put up a race-car wallpaper border that I had scrimped and saved for. After several minutes of silence I called to my son. His reply was a simple, “I tan’t.” I put my folding aside and walked down the hall to his room. As I opened the door, I stared in disbelief at the scene that lay in front of me. It looked as if a tiger had attacked the walls! My son was sitting on his bed trying to shove the torn pieces of wallpaper down the sides to hide them.
That’s when I completely lost it. I could blame it on being 3 months pregnant, but I think my maturity and patience tolerance had a lot to do with my response as well. I hauled my two year old up to his high chair and buckled him in, zipped his jacket over the buckles, and safety pinned the zipper down. (This was the only way to keep little Houdini in his high chair.) Then I scolded him until he cried. Some how I thought his crying would make me feel better. Then I proceeded to use Elmer’ glue to paste the torn pieces back on the wall. When he stopped crying, I returned to the kitchen to scold him some more. I was sobbing when my husband called. He actually had to come home and pry the glue and wallpaper pieces from my hands.
Later that night I felt horrible for how I had treated my son. As we put him to bed, I commented to my husband that I worried that I had permanently scarred him. Then I said that I was grateful that at least one of the walls was unscathed, requiring me to need to repurchase less of the border. About an hour later my son toddled into our room. When we took him back to bed, he pointed to the remaining wall which was now also shredded. I stared in disbelief as his pointed to his sleeping brother and said, “He did it!”
Why am I your mother?
Dazed, I walked into the hall and sunk to the floor in tears. My husband put my son to bed and then came out to sit next to me. I turned to him and very matter-of-factly said, “I can’t be this child’s mother! I was so hard on him to day, and it did absolutely nothing. How am I going to do this?”
I would love to say that things got better with my second son, but they didn’t for year. However, as I turned to God in prayer, I gradually got answers of how to deal with him. As time went on, I became better at dealing with the constant catastrophes that he caused. We had flooding and fires in my house; oil, shampoo, and a Sam’s club sized bottle of orange popcorn seasoning dumped on the carpet; various items flushed down the toilet; and a host of other frustrations. When my third son entered a similar stage and cut all of the cords off my lamps and his sister’s hair in the same week, I was able to shrug it off. When I looked back at the young mom slumped defeated in the hallway, I realized that she had come a long way.
So… why am I your mother?
Why did God send me a child so very different from myself and so difficult to handle? I would love to say that it was because I had wonderful things to impart to him, but I think it was more so that he could teach me. I needed to learn how to be patient, and being his mom has helped me to do that. Now we can look back at those stories and laugh at all of the trouble he caused.
God gives us troubles and trials and sometimes children to teach us important lessons. As we turn to Him for help in dealing with those things that are beyond our own abilities, He strengthens us, teaches us, and enables us to become someone better.
My second son just graduated from high school and is leaving for a two year mission for our church in Ecuador. I could not be more proud of the young man he has become. If I could go back and visit that young, frustrated mom, I would tell her to keep her chin up. The years ahead will be hard, but you will both learn amazing things, and in the end it will all be worth it!
Copyright © Veronica Clarke, Moms of Faith®, All Rights Reserved
My son is in Ecuador!!! Awesome!!! So many women need this perspective thank you for your honesty it’s needed for others!!! You endured it well!