Thursday, September 16, 2010

Yes, I can

Right now we are studying paradoxes in class. This fits well. I am finding myself living in the truth of one half of several paradoxes. It is not that I do not assent to the value of the other half. It is simply that right now I look around me and feel a void in the half I am sitting in. I have been in the mother club for almost 4 years. Go me. My children are healthy, reasonably well behaved and we are a functioning family. One thing I have noticed lately is the constant self-seeking behavior of moms. Now, we all know that any revelation about society starts because of self-revelation. So I'll couch it in these terms. I noticed that I was participating in self-seeking behavior and conversation.

For example, I am out with no kids or grabbing coffee or something by myself. This is rare, but does happen. Then someone finds out I have two kids under 4. This alone is not egregious but the only social acceptable comment is, "Whew, you must be busy!" Mostly I follow society's claims and smile or otherwise agree. Inside I want to say, "some days I am but I've got a good grip on it."

Or this conversation, "You have a boy and girl. How many do you think you want?" My response, "we want to have one more biological child and then adopt. I am really praying about adopting a sibling set." In case you are math deficient, like I am, this adds up to 5 kids. I know I checked my math with hubby. Usually the person is too stunned to say much and the conversation ends quickly.

Now I have been on the other side of this. But sometimes I think even my contribution, judgmental and false as it is, is fed by social mores. I look at the frazzled complaining of a mom with 2-4 little ones and am like, "Yeah they are crazy busy and why would they want more. I would not want their life!" Judgmental I know. I admitted that at the start if you don't remember.

Mostly I want to be like a friend of mine who has one biological child, fosters two others, and will if possible adopt those two and their brother. Here comes the math again: this would give her 4 children 4 and under. Will she have rough days? Yes. Can she do it? I am quite confident. She gets the, "Whew, you must be busy" comment a lot. I wonder what her gut answer would be if she chose to speak the truth bluntly.

Here is my blunt truth: I am a well kept (look at my waistline) happy woman. I have bad days. I have days I wish the word "why?" was never invented. I accidentally agreed to ice cream and a movie at bed time because I was mindlessly "yes-ing" with my oldest's chatter. Mostly though, I can do this. In fact, most days, doing school and the kids and even (gasp) cooking from scratch are not hard to accomplish. I mean, consider today. I got up, fed breakfast to all hungry mouths. Enjoyed a morning walk and fresh air. Came home and put in a movie for the kids. Read a novel for a bit. Packed up a bag for an outing. Took the kids to a park. Visited with women from church. Came home and put kids to bed. Did school, ate lunch, and now I am with you. What part of that day should I feel bad about?

Every time we agree to being so busy, or how hard it is being a mom of little ones we (now remember this is ONE half of a paradox) disempower ourselves. We throw up our hands and say, "Yes, mothering is so hard I do not know how I will succeed." We would be better mothers, and more fit Christian examples if we told ourselves, "Yes, mothering is hard. But I can do it. I can do it because God has placed it in front of me and there is nothing too hard for God."

End of soapbox

P.S. I am sure, after a string of bad days I will live in the other half of the paradox and talk about how we have to mother out of our weakness, so stay tuned.