Thursday, November 12, 2009

On Mothering

Mothering is hard. Mothering is so hard that I am convinced that a large reason mothers exist is to help their daughters when they become mothers. I'm beginning to think it's unnatural to not live in close proximity to your mother (I understand that for some people, their relationship with their mom is not all that, and they will think I'm crazy. Bear with me...) I truly believe that God intended for young mothers to have their own mothers there to help them. The Bible says in Genesis 2:24 "For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh." Do you notice how the man leaves his family, but the wife does not leave hers?

This week, I've felt terribly alone in parenting. Thankfully, my mom is only a phone call away, and offers encouragement. But she is too far away to come over and watch the kids for a few minutes so that I can have a few moments to rejuvenate and recover (or, you know, go to the bathroom by myself.) We all imagine having children of our own. Usually, they are perfect children who listen the first time, and naturally fall into routines, and lavish love and affection on us. Real children, of course, do not listen the first time, need constant reminders to do everything, and sometimes, they make it very clear that they don't like us.

Mothers, of course, are only half the equation. But it's interesting to me how very different fathers are from mothers. I'm sure that much of that difference (at least in our house) has to do with the time present. My husband is a wonderful father. He's willing to change diapers, feed children, wash dishes, discipline, check homework, and take over so I can take a nap. But he works two jobs, and he has a hard time remembering what day the science test is, or when it's yellow day at school, or what skill we're working on with which child when. These are tasks that fall to me, the mother. I think these are tasks that are meant to be mine, and I want to take them on and do them well. This week, I think I'm failing.

Mothering is hard work. It's hard and exhausting and sometimes, it's not nearly as rewarding as I think it should be. Thankfully, there are big baby smiles, and hugs and kisses from small children, and chocolate and ice cream. And mothers; my mother to help me through these times and remind me that someday, I will help my daughters be mothers.


Anonymous said...

Dear Dorothy,

my English is not good enough to put such deep thought in words, but don't you ever forget this:
You're a great mother and you're doing a great job.
Kids can be selfish sometimes and forget to let you know how much they love you, but they do and they will always love you.

Methinks you need a little vacation. Wish I was closer to you so I could look after the kids for a few hours and you could take a break.

I had my share of hard jobs, but none of them compare to the one you do.

Christina said...


What an awesome post! You put into words what I often have thought to myself. I know without my mother being close, I would be toast. I am glad that you have your mom close for you, too. And, hang in there - I had a week like that, too. However, today I got paid back in sticky kisses and hugs, with some fun times at the playground, too. Your day will come.


Knitting with a Purpose said...

This is so, so true. I feel like so much of mothering is sheer, hard work. Thankfully there's enough joy in there (and the more I notice it, the more there is) to keep me going, but yeah. It's tough. My mom also isn't close enough to help on regular basis, and that's tough. Thankfully I have a community of moms here and we support each other.

It's funny, mothers and fathers are different. I didn't want to admit that but I think it's true.

Miss Me said...

okay - i'm just catching up yet again on some belated blog reading. parenting is not for wimps! sometimes the little things accumulate into a great big thing that just seems overwhelming - that was parenthood with small children for me.
i completely get your first annoyance in your previous post. no one can be as obnoxious as a 9 year old boy! i lived through one and onto my second...

km said...

I was at a seminar on women and the effects of anxiety & depression. There too much was discussed on why mammas feel anxiety with the addition of children to the family that fathers just don't feel. I know there are so many days I've had those thoughts/feelings. Praying for you...wish I could give you an afternoon off. God Bless Kristen