I am a mom. It's a title I am usually proud to carry. I earned it through sleepless nights, countless diapers, painful disciplining, and lots of love!
Some days, though, I want to have another label. Any other label. Successful woman, fashionista, good friend. Anything that identifies me as something other than "mom."
I recently read a study that said that moms level of happiness peaks when the kids are 6 months old, then quickly plummets. This does not surprise me. Who doesn't love holding and cuddling babies? They are sweet, soft, and can be quieted with a bottle or rocking chair. Then, they get older. Terrible two's, phone calls from schools over discipline, fights over chores, teenagers.
I love my kids. I love it when Josh snuggles with me to watch TV. I love it when Jamie wakes up, he climbs up into my lap for a few moments of undivided attention. I love it when Trina wants to learn to cook with me. There have been countless happy times in our family.
But there have also been countless trying times in our family. Constant fighting between the kids, perpetual Saturday stress over the chores, worrying whether or not I am giving them the love and attention they need.
Wanting to get away.
That part is hard to say. I think it is for most moms. They usually feel bad for wanting to be away from their kids. They feel like since they are a mom, they need to do everything, be everything for their kids. Counselor, teacher, cook, helper.
All of that is true. I am those things to my kids. But, I realized that I don't need to be all of those all of the time. As the saying goes, "It takes a village to raise a child." That rings so true for me lately. God has provided us with an awesome church with awesome people who are willing to go the extra mile for my kids. There are those whose kids are like mine, who understand the challenges of having a child with ADHD. Not everyone does and finding those that do is priceless. There are those who are willing to take my daughter, to listen to her, to mentor her. As the mom of a teenager, who know and understands nothing, it is a relief to know there are those with whom she is willing to talk and trust.
As a prayer warrior, I have prayed continually for my kids since they were born. I have prayed for them to know Him, to be kind and helpful. I have prayed for them to grow up into who God wants them to be. To find the right mate and to know happiness. I have prayed for them to want to serve Him and others, to not follow the crowd, but follow His leading.
What I left out in my prayers was to pray for me. Oh, I have prayed to be a good mom, to set the right example, to make the right choices for them. But, I didn't pray for my sanity, my own well being in this parenting endeavor. And now I realize how vital that is. I believe parenting is the hardest job there is, and without the prayer to get through it, I will continue to flounder. I can't do it alone. Now I know I was never meant to. I have a wonderful husband who tag teams with me in parenting. I have a church family who reaches out to help. But, more importantly, I have a God who loves my kids more than I do, who can bear the burdens I lay at His feet, and who wants to help.
All I have to do is ask Him.