FAITH / family / LIVING WELL / MOTHERHOOD

motherhood

03.03.10
motherhood

With all the baby talk around here, it seemed somewhat appropriate that this mama would drop her calf yesterday morning, just inside the fence on the edge of our property. She belongs to our neighbor, but my girls "adopt" these calves as if they were our own. 

There was much concern over this calf. Lots of checking in. Lots of reports coming in to me in the house. And a handful of stern warnings from me about nervous mama cows who need to protect their new calves. And the flimsy piece of barbed wire standing between you and that mama.

The patient nudging of this mama cow reminded me of where I was last week in my feelings about motherhood. I found myself in another season of feeling at the end of my rope. Feeling like nothing I was saying or doing was making a difference. Feeling like I somehow was failing at guiding my children in the right direction. Feeling like none of my children were inherently wanting to make the right and good decisions. Feeling like I had a house full of attitudes, that unfortunately and embarrassingly, probably matched my own. 

I shot an email to my husband at work — what do I do? How do I handle this? What should I say to them? 

He gave me a few ideas. But a few minutes later he wrote me another email. Just remember, he said, it takes a long time to train a child. It’s like doing the dinner dishes. I get upset at the girl’s lack of attention but they are slowly (very slowly) getting better. It will take time for them to get in the habit of doing the job with the right amount of focus. Then it will take a while for them to learn how to do it right. Then it will take a while for them to anticipate what comes next so I won’t have to tell them. But this all takes time.

I keep reminding myself of that first and last line. It takes a long time to guide and train my children. This all takes time. 

Telling them once, doesn't equal a change in heart or an automatic change in the way they do things. They need to be reminded. Reminded again. Taught. Shown. Guided. Encouraged. And reminded again. 

Change comes. But it often comes slowly. Much more slowly than I'm willing to allow. But it does come, and is coming, if I look closely. 

If I give up, get frustrated, get angry, then no one is learning anything except the wrong way to handle a situation that requires resilience and endurance. And I wonder why I'm not seeing any change.

But the changes are there.

They're not leaving the sofa cushions on the floor when they're done.

The boots are (generally) making it back into the boot box.

She's trying to walk away from the situation instead of reacting in anger.

They're drying the dishes without complaining and reminding.

She's talking it out with her sister, before raising her voice. Sometimes.

This all takes times. 

It is the mantra that breathes an extra portion of patience into my mothering. 

motherhood

With all the baby talk around here, it seemed somewhat appropriate that this mama would drop her calf yesterday morning, just inside the fence on the edge of our property. She belongs to our neighbor, but my girls "adopt" these calves as if they were our own. 

There was much concern over this calf. Lots of checking in. Lots of reports coming in to me in the house. And a handful of stern warnings from me about nervous mama cows who need to protect their new calves. And the flimsy piece of barbed wire standing between you and that mama.

The patient nudging of this mama cow reminded me of where I was last week in my feelings about motherhood. I found myself in another season of feeling at the end of my rope. Feeling like nothing I was saying or doing was making a difference. Feeling like I somehow was failing at guiding my children in the right direction. Feeling like none of my children were inherently wanting to make the right and good decisions. Feeling like I had a house full of attitudes, that unfortunately and embarrassingly, probably matched my own. 

I shot an email to my husband at work — what do I do? How do I handle this? What should I say to them? 

He gave me a few ideas. But a few minutes later he wrote me another email. Just remember, he said, it takes a long time to train a child. It’s like doing the dinner dishes. I get upset at the girl’s lack of attention but they are slowly (very slowly) getting better. It will take time for them to get in the habit of doing the job with the right amount of focus. Then it will take a while for them to learn how to do it right. Then it will take a while for them to anticipate what comes next so I won’t have to tell them. But this all takes time.

I keep reminding myself of that first and last line. It takes a long time to guide and train my children. This all takes time. 

Telling them once, doesn't equal a change in heart or an automatic change in the way they do things. They need to be reminded. Reminded again. Taught. Shown. Guided. Encouraged. And reminded again. 

Change comes. But it often comes slowly. Much more slowly than I'm willing to allow. But it does come, and is coming, if I look closely. 

If I give up, get frustrated, get angry, then no one is learning anything except the wrong way to handle a situation that requires resilience and endurance. And I wonder why I'm not seeing any change.

But the changes are there.

They're not leaving the sofa cushions on the floor when they're done.

The boots are (generally) making it back into the boot box.

She's trying to walk away from the situation instead of reacting in anger.

They're drying the dishes without complaining and reminding.

She's talking it out with her sister, before raising her voice. Sometimes.

This all takes times. 

It is the mantra that breathes an extra portion of patience into my mothering. 

37 comments on “motherhood”

  1. Thanks for being so honest. Sometimes I feel like all the blog authors I read are super women who have these calm, easy going kids, and no daily qualms. It’s good to hear your real voice and suggestions. I’ve been trying to regularly read bits of: Easy to Love, Hard to Discipline because it has been perhaps the first parenting book I have really found useful. So much of what the author speaks to is real for me and the way I was raised and struggles I’m having. Not sure if it’s right for all, but I do highly recommend it!Take care!

  2. Why hello there, my twin. I’ve been feeling the same way and have come to the same conclusions: patience and time. Unfortunately, I also have to work on constancy. Ugh.

  3. oh, goodness molly, i so needed to read this today. i’m having such a time with the girls right now-not all bad, but just all…complicated. and not knowing what the right thing is in so many instances. how can i guide them if i’m not sure myself? big, big sigh.and thank you.

  4. this is such a great post Molly; simple wisdom is always the best. it’s a good reminder to think back to the things they’ve learned while looking ahead at the work that still needs to be done.

  5. This is so so good. A reminder I needed this morning. This is a long long process, more evolution than revolution maybe. 🙂 And if nothing else, looking for those tiny steps in the right direction makes for a better mamma outlook than the mountain yet to climb.

    Boy, I’m going to chew on this all day.

  6. how exciting about the calf Molly! such a great experience for the girls. And you and Dan both have the gift of writing–so well said and words that connect to so many!

  7. I really needed to read that today. Getting the kids off to school today was a little hairy this morning and I felt like stripping my gears the whole time. It was good to read your post. Thanks!

  8. i lost sight of this wisdom this weekend. and i screamed at my girls. long and loud. and i am so sad about that. they have forgiven me, but i haven’t forgiven myself yet.

    next time i am at the end of my rope, i hope that i can remember this post, and give my girls, and myself, “a long time”.

    thank you so much.

  9. New to your blog, but appreciating it already…Hard to remember patience with young children. Hard to remain aware of their abilities and their growth. Easy to get frustrated and forget to savor the moments of their childhood before they know it all and can do it all. We will miss these frustrations soon…Rayan

  10. Oh, man, why so slow?! I needed this bright shiny glimmer of truth, as much for me as my children. Thank you. (And be well, during this long short last stretch)

  11. Count me into that place too – especially with the controlling anger. I have one who needs serious help in that area. We’re working on it, but it feels like one step forward two steps back right now.

    So thank you, friend for the reminder that we’re all in this place together. xoxo.

  12. Thank you for this. I’m in the midst of a “bicker brothers bonanza” these days. I’m going to take a deep breath, continue to help them treat each other more kindly, and remind myself “this all takes time.”

  13. Ahhhhhh yes. It all takes so much time and patience. I’m going through a hard season of motherhood myself and reading this gives me a little flicker of inspiration to keep moving, keep trying, keep calm…

  14. I so very much needed to hear this today – thank you! Isn’t it funny, though, how the “wrong” things are learned so quickly? Further proof, I guess, that good things take time (to learn) and are worth waiting for.

  15. That is so true and so helpful to point out what we don’t always see in families, the bigger picture. At times I feel I dont’ expect too much of my 6 year old then given the way it’s dealt with I feel I am getting a good response. She does try to clean up after herself, she does try to respect her things, but she also has the ideas and reactions of a very young person. You have helped me realise though that she is trying and is improving and it’s my own frustrations that are coming through in the reaction to how fast she is or isn’t doing things, and that’s up to me to control.

  16. There are only two jobs, really, that matter for all eternity and you’re doing one of them. The great cathedrals weren’t built in a day but were built, for the most part, by folks whose names will never be known to us. Yet they labored, daily, knowing their part would, in time, make the whole.As it is with motherhood except your legacy is your children. “They will rise up and call you blessed.”

  17. a very needed and relevant reminder. I struggle with everything from shoes in the right place, to how to ‘talk nice’, to playing fairly, to helping, etc…with my 8 year old triplets. Life is full…full of surprises!

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