Yesterday marked yet another Mother's Day here in the good ol' USA. I was not too thrilled to be celebrating this "holiday". You see, when you have sassy, disrespectful children it is kinda difficult to get all worked up and happy about a day set apart to celebrate the thing that you are terribly failing at. I mean, who is supposed to raise the children to be kind, loving, respectful, helpful, obedient……(etc) people? The mamma. I spend 24/7 with said children so if they don't learn these things and then act upon the things that have been taught who's fault is it? That's right - mine.
I had been going through a ton of "stuff" for the past week. My children have been less than cooperative and even less kind and obedient to me - their mamma. They were even finding ways to make each other miserable and any excuse to fight was good for them. I really did try to accommodate all of their needs compassionately and with the most kindness I could muster. I even tried to help them resolve their disputes without being harsh. But after being emotionally trampled upon time after time, I eventually turned to yelling (imagine that, a mamma who yells. Yep, I'm one of "those" mammas). I don't want to be a mamma who yells and is constantly angry about things, but when you have children that make you feel as if you are not wanted or welcome even in your own home, you start to feel a little depressed and get really hard on yourself. I mean, these children are this way because I failed in some part of my training of said children, so it must be my fault - right?
I have read hundreds of books, posts, and blogs about being a good mamma. I have consulted many friends and family members about how I can make things better in my family. I have tried EVERYTHING under the sun to be the kind of mamma I know I should be. The key word here is I tried. I haven't just been complaining about the situation I am in, I have put into action the things I have been given and have experimented on these suggestions to see which things would work or not. Some of the suggestions I have been given work, others….well, not so much.
One of the biggest suggestions I have been given lately is "cut them off". This particularly applies to the older children. You know who I'm talking about, the ones that are now adults and have experienced "freedom" to do what they want and no longer feel they have to "answer" to or "listen" to the parent. "Cutting them off" implies that you, the parent, no longer give them the things they expect, or feel they are entitled to, because you have been giving them these things for their entire life. I have had a really difficult time accepting this advise, because I love my children too much and I really don't want to lose them, but I do need to do something. That means I really need to grow a backbone and "cut them off". I don't think I can ever come to the point of asking them to leave my home, but I just might if things don't change.
Now, if you are a young person reading this, please keep in mind, your parents will bend over backwards to help you out anytime you need them. They will stand up for you, protect you, and even give their life for you if necessary. The question I ask you is, what are you giving your parent in return for their love to you? Are you sassy, argumentative, disobedient, combative, disrespectful, standoffish? Do you try to start fights or arguments with your siblings on purpose? Or do you really try to be the respectful, kind, helpful, obedient person that your parents have tried REALLY hard to raise?
Ok, so back to yesterday. As you can probably guess, I was less then happy to sit in church and listen to the praises given to all the "wonderful" mammas out there. The mammas who have their ducks swimming neatly in a row, who don't have dirty dishes or laundry piled to the ceiling, the ones whose children are always kind and respectful, the mammas who don't yell. Basically the kind of mamma that often times makes me want to throw-up! Come on! Do mammas like that even exist?!? If they do exist, I would LOVE to spend an week in their home and see how they do it. Cuz I am so far behind that mark that I don't think I will ever reach that level of mamma.
I was given a little bit of hope though. As I was trying really hard not to bolt out of the church house, I heard one sister say there is hope for me yet. I just can't give up. She quoted Elder Jeffery R. Holland who said,
"no love in mortality comes closer to approximating the pure love of Jesus Christ than the selfless love a devoted mother has for her child….To all mothers in every circumstance, including those who struggle—and all will—I say, “Be peaceful. Believe in God and yourself. You are doing better than you think you are."
So, there it is. No matter how hard your struggle is, you are doing better than you think you are. We as mammas just need to hold on, keep praying for the strength to carry on, and never give up. Our blessing as mamma will be difficult at the best of times, but if we just "hang in there" it will be more than worth it.
Do I struggle to feel like I am a good enough mamma? You bet. Is my home always peaceful and organized? Not a chance. Do my children know that I love them more than words will ever be able to express? I hope they know, cuz I do! Will I ever give up trying to be the mamma that Heavenly Father knows I can be? NEVER!!!
I plead with you younger persons to give your mammas a break, they are doing the best they know how to do. When we became a mamma, we weren't given a manual on how to do things, we are learning by hands-on experiences, we're bound to mess up once in a while. Just remember that we mammas will love you no matter what and without fail!
I encourage each of you mammas, NEVER GIVE UP. After all, "you are doing better than you think you are."