On Mothers and Mothering

I would imagine I wasn’t the only teenage girl whose mother’s advice was met with eye rolls and disdain. How I treated my mom during my bratty high school years would be on the short list of ‘Things I Would Do Differently If Given The Chance.’ I didn’t necessarily display rebellious behavior; I wasn’t a police blotter type of problem child, but for matters of the heart, I am not proud of my annoyance at nearly everything my mom said or did. And I really don’t know why I was so perturbed, other than my near-certainty that I would be nothing like her when I grew up and had kids of my own.

And then I grew up and had kids of my own.

I heard it said that ‘God perfects you through your children.’ About three kids in, I figured I must not need perfecting, because things were going really well. I really, truly, believed at that point in parenting that some people might simply have the gift of mothering and others must just make things more difficult than they need to be. It didn’t occur to me at the time that the fact that my oldest was still three and very much still under my control may have been the reason things were going so smoothly. Fast forward 13 years and if God perfects us through our children, I knew then that I was an absolute mess. With five of the seven being teenagers, my manicured fantasy life suddenly displayed brush strokes of dark, ugly, and out of control.

When my girls would roll their eyes at me, when it was apparent they’d much rather have been anywhere other than with me, I was jerked back to my own teenage nonsense. In a flash, I realized my mom had feelings. She wasn’t just ‘mom’ the role-filler, carrying out duties she was ‘supposed’ to do for her family. She cared deeply. She muddled through my brattiness the best way she knew how, but in the process I was certain that those daggers I flung through glared eyes or terse words surely must have cut. Whoa. The last thing I would ever want to do is hurt one of my parents.

Thankfully, my mom has a beautiful perspective on raising her five kids, and an apparent short memory. Because these days, as a mother, grandmother, and now great-grandmother, she chooses to see the beauty in the process. It is with raucous laughter that she looks back on our formative years. She is, when I look at her now, perfect. Not perfect without flaws, but she’s the perfect mom for me. And for every one of my siblings. She was the perfect mom for us.

When I speak around the country, when I’m asked to share, I make it a point remind mothers that God hand picked us to raise each and every one of our kids ~ however your kids came to you ~ God knew the parts of their personalities that would challenge you, the parts that would bring you joy to the depths of your soul, and even the parts that would cut you a little, knowing that as those little cuts scabbed over, they would strengthen you. Perfect you.

Happy Mother’s Day. You’re the PERFECT Mom for your children.

My perfected Mom and Dad, reaping the rewards of a life well-lived:

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And the tools I’m being perfected with:

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Comments

  1. Barbara Courtley says:

    How sweet is your tribute…and for Mothers everywhere. Those times were there, Yes, but so much more in the way of memories transcends the years. Beautiful loving relationships with all of our Children and their children and that sweet great grandchild. I feel that one of the most precious blessings of all is the relationship of our children to each other. There is nothing more pleasing to us as parents than the fact that you all genuinely love each other and each others’ families; that you are concerned, are helpful, and lovingly pray for each another. There is nothing that pleases us more than to be a part of that love. You are a treasure and we love you all very much. Dad & Mom

  2. Brigid Ventimiglia says:

    KIm, Your words are so beautifully written, and I know they touched my heart and brought me right back to those years! I was not the best teenager and though you may not remember, I had a few rough bumps through high school :/ Apparently I thought I knew it all! Thankful today and every day for a mother who forgave, forgot and just loved us always. I wish you a very happy Mother’s Day, and thank you for the gift of your blog!
    Brigid

  3. Bette Perry says:

    We always knew she was perfect!!!! I am sure she was thrilled with this tribute. I think you are an awesome Mom yourself.!!

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