Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mommy Come Home

When my son was first learning to put words into sentences, he very quickly learned a sentence that would cut me to the quick - "Mommy, come home!" Usually, I'd hear this over the phone when I was at work calling to say goodnight or on a trip somewhere. Sometimes it was even en route to coming home, but no matter what circumstances I was in, my heart broke a little. I began to question again, "Should I be working? Am I harming my child be being away from home? Is it selfish to be a working mom? Am I just a terrible parent?" All these insecurities would flow out and I'd instantly remember every single thing I'd done wrong in my parenting that week. Every selfish thought, every moment of impatience, every time I wasn't fully present with him even when I was home because of all the other things in life that were pressing down upon me to be accomplished.

Now my son can put much bigger sentences together and, in fact, talks a lot more than I do. He could probably put together a much more guilt-inducing plea if he wanted to but as he's grown in his verbal abilities, so has he grown in his understanding. I still don't think he likes it when I leave the house for any reason, but I can at least attempt to explain where I'm going. I can try to tell him why it's good for him to go to school and why I won't go with him, but still there's sometimes that look of betrayal and instantly again I hear his 18 month old voice in my head-"Mommy come home"- and I wonder if anything I'm doing is right.

As I wander through this sabbatical, one of the things I'm trying to let God deal with me on is my fear of motherhood. For a long time I didn't want to get married, to have kids, to settle down. I was not one of those girls who planned out my wedding at the age of 10 and knew exactly what dress I'd wear and what song I'd dance to with my dad. I wasn't really interested and didn't think I'd be missing much if I didn't have kids. I think sometimes because of all those years of indifference I now deal with insecurity thinking that since I didn't want this enough I'm probably not unselfish enough to do it well. I also let my mind wander into a place that thinks that since I'm not so good at this, maybe that's why God is witholding a second child from us. I know that's not how God works, but the lie creeps in. If I were a better mom, if I didn't work, if my son hadn't spent months asking me to come home...and I begin to wonder what I can do to manipulate God into letting me get pregnant. Messed up, right?

It all comes back to fear. Fear of failure, fear of not measuring up to...something, although what that something is still feels elusive. Fear that I'll royally screw up this precious life I've been given to raise and make decisions now that I'll regret when he's older. Yes, I've realized that some of the biggest craters in my battlefield have been caused by fear and that they can be so deep that I don't even know how to begin to pull myself out once the shelling has stopped. Though I often don't believe it, I'm thankful that God is a God who says not to fear and that He is trustworthy. That he reaches down from the edge of that crater and offers His hand as a stronghold. I'm hoping that as I slowly climb up He'll erase those insecurities and replace them with a confidence that can only come from being secure in Him. That I'll figure out who I am as a mom, without the use of any social measuring systems, without the comparison game, and learn to take this motherhood thing one day at a time.

3 comments:

  1. Carolyn, I don't have the answers to all this, but I just want to encourage you. You are a good mom. I struggle with some of those insecurities too, but God is not punishing you for anything. God loves you. You are doing a good job.

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  2. Fear is quite a beast, huh? I know I'm dealing with a lot of it these days too...just may look a little different. I have to keep reminding myself that fear is from the devil and not from the Holy Spirit. Keep on clinging to God's promises and let it fill you with joy (I'm talking to myself too when I write that)! Lots of love, Sarah :-)

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  3. I agree with Sarah. Heard a speaker tonight who said that when God says Fear not He is not talking about fear being a feeling but an action. Instead of retreating, we press forward while being scared and jittery, knowing that God will give us the strength and encouragement we need. You are a wonderful mother! Josh' love of life is proof that you and Reed have provided him a loving, secure environment. Enjoy the journey - Too much analyzing will rob you of the joy. Love, Mom

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