Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"Please bless Mommy not to snap at me."

That's what Sweetie said in her prayer tonight. 

Ouch. 

Part of me is glad she said it. I could use all of the help I can get. So if she can pray for me and I can pray for me, maybe something will actually improve. Today was just one of those overwhelming days where I felt like I was doing too much and none of it even remotely well, including mothering. It's easy to get down on yourself on those days, especially when your 3-year-old prays that you won't snap at her. 

Tonight, as I was searching through my Word archives, looking for a specific example for one of my dissertation chapters, I came upon this quote by Toni Morrison that I'd saved:

"There was something so valuable about what happened when one became a mother. For me it was the most liberating thing that ever happened. . . . Liberating because the demands that children make are not the demands of a normal 'other.' The children's demands on me were things that nobody else ever asked me to do. To be a good manager. To have a sense of humor. To deliver something that somebody else could use. And they were not interested in all the things that other people were interested in, like what I was wearing or if I were sensual. Somehow all of the baggage that I had accumulated as a person about what was valuable just fell away. I could not only be me--whatever that was--but somebody actually needed me to be that."

Now I don't know that I would describe being a mother as "the most liberating thing that ever happened" to me. Some days it feels like just the opposite. 

But today the part of this quote that resonated with me is the end: "I could not only be me--whatever that was--but somebody actually needed me to be that." There are many things that make up "me," and unfortunately, one of those things is impatience. But if I look at the whole picture, I can think of a whole bunch of other things about me that Sweetie needs me to be, even if that means she has to put up with my impatience and pray for my soul occasionally. I can draw confidence from that thought that despite my inadequacies, I am what she needs.

And Morrison is right, there is something valuable in the frazzling and abnormal demands that my children make of me. Maybe by the time they're 18 or 20 (or 30 or 40), all of those "Please bless Mommy not to snap at me" prayers will have kicked in and the "me" that my offspring will need will be a little bit more mellow than "me" that they are currently getting.  Maybe.

4 comments:

Melanie Leishman said...

This was good for me to read tonight! That is a great thought that our kids need us for who we are (good & bad!) I feel like moments like this are windows into their souls and all in all those moments help us be better. Thanks for sharing.

smart mama said...

you know my life was getting crazy mid jan and i kept hearing you'll be happier doing less- so i cleared my schedule and cleaned my house but good and statred organizing my time with my boys better - it i am so much better- its a constant balanacing process-- and hey you're almost done-

sweetpea said...

I appreciated reading this today--I love the thought that our kids need us for who we are; all of us! It certainly helps through the tough mothering moments.

Snigger Fam said...

I love that quote! Kids are funny and have a way of making us look at ourselves differently.