I’m a working mom, but I’m also a stay-at-home mom. I guess you could say I have the best of both worlds, and being able to work only part-time allows me the opportunity to spend more time in the home with my children. My young, rambunctious children.
Today was another day off with my kids, although I’m not certain I’d describe a day spent molding little minds as time off at all. As usual I was maxed out with things I needed to do, and I even had people coming into the house as I struggled to pack boxes, recover from a stubborn cold, and waddle around uselessly as I tend to do when I’m eight months pregnant.
The crew of men worked making repairs around my soon-to-be vacated home, and I worked along with them, although my job was to feed tiny tummies, teach phonics, and intermittently change out loads of laundry. We were all pretty busy.
Being busy was something I was used to. Feeling frazzled was sorta my thing. But I noticed something very peculiar as I went about my typical day. It seemed it wasn’t quite as typical as it tended to be. Something was different.
My tone was a little softer, my patience a bit larger, and my frayed nerves seemed subdued. I listened to my own voice as I instructed my daughters, and I realized I was saying “please” and “thank you” more often than usual. I realized with surprise I was actually being the kind of mom I prayed to be at the end of the day, when I laid in bed before drifting off and asked for God to help me be a better parent.
Although I should have been proud of my much desired behavior I actually felt my heart sink a bit. Even though it wasn’t that I was acting, I realized with conviction that my subconscious was aware of the presence of others, and in that recognition my behavior was indeed altered.
In the presence of others I was being the kind of mother I dreamed to be, and an icky guilt stabbed at my mommy heart. Was I a fraud?!
If I could control my anger over breakfast they ignored, only to be hungry fifteen minutes after I threw it away, why couldn’t I do the same any other day?
If a hidden abundance of patience lived inside me as my kindergartener painfully sounded out a collection of consonants and vowels, hadn’t it been there all along?
I winced at my daily failure, but at the same time I tried to cling to hope that I had the power within me to be better, to do better, to consistently be the kind of mom I wanted to be. The kind that emerged a bit easier when people were watching me.
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
I am not the best I know I could be, and I fall short most days. Especially as a mother. But I don’t dwell on my mistakes. Rather I try to learn from them, build upon the lessons learned, and strive for future improvement.
Plus they’re coming back to work around the house some more tomorrow so at least I’ll get a little extra practice before I go at it alone.