The Mommy Identity

Five Minute Friday: Identity

May 11, 2012

On Fridays over here a group of people who love to throw caution to the wind and just write gather to share what five minutes buys them. Just five minutes. Unscripted. Unedited. Real.

Your words. This shared feast.

If you have five minutes, we have a writing challenge <—click to tweet this!

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Please visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments.

http://thegypsymama.com/2012/05/five-minute-friday-identity/

 

 

[I wrote an entire post on this topic.  WordPress decided to have some quirks in their system and lost my post.  I am quite disappointed.  I will attempt to write it again, but you can never quite write the same thing.  Here’s my second attempt:]

I always wanted to be a mommy.  I played with dolls until I was 11.  Yes, I was a “girlie-girl.”  In spite of the stigma that seems to be with that term, being a “girlie-girl” doesn’t equal weakness.  But that’s another subject…

I used to keep a diary that had my favorite names that I hoped to name my children.  I wanted kids — a lot of them!  I dreamed about being a mommy.  My dreams were full of a smiling mom with happy and obedient children.  There were giggling babies with chubby cheeks.  I couldn’t imagine anything better than being a mommy.  My dreams were of perfection — the perfect mommy and the perfect kids.

Life happened.  I married and then 1 1/2 years into my marriage had a miscarriage.  I was devastated!  Miscarriages are never in our dreams.  Neither is infertility or still-births.  Neither is cancer or other diseases.  Neither are job losses.  For some women, neither is singleness.  What happens when life happens, and our dreams don’t?

A little later, I conceived again.  Nine months later, a healthy baby boy was born.  My dream was happening, right?!  Yes, except in my dreams, I didn’t have a rough post-partem recovery due to a severe tear and then developing Thrush.  Eight weeks later, my dream seemed to be happening.  The months passed.

Into my baby’s eighth month, changes and surprises came.  My husband switched jobs, we moved to a different state, and I found out I was pregnant again.  I had two babies 16 months apart, and life was busy!

The delivery of my second child was challenging.  My babies come with large heads.  More brains, right?!  Except, large heads make for painful deliveries, and pain is never in our dreams — only nightmares.  I remember saying that I didn’t want to think of having another baby after that.

With two babies demanding my attention, I found myself exhausted, struggling to change out of my pajamas before the afternoon was gone, and definitely not the mom in my dreams.  Who was I, without the perfect Mommy dream?  I thought I was a failure.  I didn’t know it at the time, but I had a thyroid disorder which contributed to my extreme fatigue and feelings of inadequacy.  What kind of a mom am I, if I don’t match my dream image of motherhood?  I struggled with that a lot, for years really.  I wanted my dreams of perfection to be reality.  Reality was very different.  Reality has its joys, but it also has its struggles.

Six years later, I now have four children plus one in Heaven!  Seems like a dream, doesn’t it?!! It is in many ways.  I have four, healthy children.  We do laugh and play a lot.  I also have a baby with chubby cheeks that I love to kiss a lot.  Yet, I have experienced that life is full of challenges.  Children aren’t perfect.  Moms aren’t perfect.  We have lots of messy days.  If my identity as a mom is all about perfection, then who am I?  I am a failure.  If my identity as a mom relies on how my children perform, and they have to perform perfectly, then my kids are failures.

Seven years and a few months into my parenting, I am learning that my identity as a mom is not based on a perfect performance.  Nor, does God require that of me.  Rather, it is based on God’s grace.  God allowed me to experience brokenness so that I might see His grace.  I thought that I was relying on Him to be a godly mother, but I didn’t fully understand what that meant.  We can’t fully know it until we know what it means to be broken.

Brokenness is not in our dreams, but it is through brokenness that real joy occurs. 

It is through brokenness that God’s grace is revealed. 

I experience His grace as I allow God into the vulnerability of my weakness. 

God’s grace has been poured out upon this life!  As I open the “cracked and parched lips” of my heart to His grace, my thirst for identity is quenched.  My Mommy identity is found in grace rather than perfection.

I am a Mommy through grace!  I am a Mommy of grace!

 

 

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Learning to Laugh in the Brokenness

The Husband was away on a business-related trip to Wisconsin for four days.  So, I decided to take a trip with the four kiddoes and visit some friends we haven’t seen in four years!  Some friends a little less.  I wanted to take the boys to see the places where we shopped, lived, played.  I wanted to show them the library — one of my favorite haunts — where I loved to borrow free videos and books back in the “pre-baby” days.  So, the three boys, baby girl, and I did just that.  The boys really enjoyed seeing everything, and Will just loved to hear about his babyhood!  It was so much fun to introduce all of my kids to our old neighbors.  When we had last seen them, we had just two kids.  It was encouraging to hear the neighbors comment on how well-behaved the boys are!  [Maybe, I am doing some things right but only by God’s grace!] 

We then met up with an elderly lady that I used to visit with once-a-week on Tuesdays. She loved meeting Olivia for the first time!  It was so special to see how those two interacted!  “Miss Joy’s” face lit up whenever Olivia would reach out and take her hand.  Seeing how delighted Miss Joy was, Olivia kept reaching for Miss Joy’s hand and giggling every time she did.  Lots of laughter and giggles ensued! 

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We departed from our visit with Miss Joy to stay with friends nearby.  It was special to introduce the youngest members of both families.  What precious children!  I loved meeting Gideon and seeing Elijah, Ruth, and Isaiah again!  The children had a lot of fun together, and it was entertaining to watch eight children play together, six of which are boys!

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That night was not quite so happy as Olivia interrupted our sleep 8 or more times!  Exhausting is an understatement!

The next morning, we packed the eight children and coolers of food and drinks and headed to a park to meet up with another family of four children.  It was great fun to watch our twelve children run around!  I think we must have looked like a daycare center.  We had three moms to twelve kids!  The kids loved the swings, slides, and playing chase.  Giggles and smiles abounded.

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The original family and ours took our kids to the local library for a potty break.  I was so pleased to see how well-behaved the kids all were.  We played a game of “Stop and Go” to get everyone very orderly to and from the park and library.  We also had everyone pair up with a partner.  The kids did very well, and I know the librarians were impressed.  I know I was!  [Thank you, Lord, for times like these!]

The kids and I departed that evening and returned home, driving in misty rain.  My kids were so tired that they fell asleep within a few minutes of departure.  The kids were already in their pajamas so it was a simple task to put them in their beds once we reached home.  I then unloaded the van in semi-light. 

The next morning, I discovered that our fridge had a broken thermostat and called a technician.  Thankfully, by the next day, we had a working fridge again.  I did have to toss a bit of food, but all-in-all, it all worked out.

The following day, while attempting to unlock a door into the main part of the house, my key broke off.  I wiggled and jiggled but to no avail.  Our tools were locked in the house so I couldn’t get to them.  I called my dad and asked him if he could help.  I then prayed and tried again.  Lo and behold, the door unlocked and the key came out!  I canceled my dad’s trip, and the boys and I thanked the Lord for helping us.

Through the craziness of very little sleep, exhausted kids, a baby who also was sick, a broken fridge, and broken key, I saw God’s hand and was able to laugh.  Sometimes, when life gets a little more trying, I find myself laughing at the craziness of it.  I also find myself thankful — thankful that God cares about every detail in our lives.  He sees us in our brokenness.  Broken keys and appliances are a small thing. 

Broken hearts and fractured dreams are much larger. 

Some days as a mommy, I feel just like my key.  Sheared off at the top.  Stuck in a gear that won’t move and has become useless.  Some days, I feel just like my fridge.  Inefficient and unable to protect the fragile hearts of my kids.  Too “warm” in my outbursts or my kids’ outbursts.  Fluctuating “temperatures” of moods.  In my brokenness, God is teaching me to laugh — to laugh at the craziness of my life but also to rejoice in how He cares about each piece of my broken life.  I am then able to see the joy even in the brokenness. 

We are all “broken” people, desperately needing a Master Technician to repair us.  So thankful that He cares!  He’s working!  Some repairs start inwardly and can’t be seen at first.  I couldn’t see the gears turning inside my door lock at first.  I couldn’t see what the newly-installed fridge thermometer was doing at first.  In time though, it becomes apparent.  First though, I have to acknowledge my brokenness, then I need to seek help, and finally, I can rejoice. 

The key is still mangled.  The old thermometer is still broken.  Being repaired doesn’t always mean the old being restored.  What it can mean is something new, something better, something greater being brought into our lives. 

We can hang on to the broken, or we can release our brokenness into God’s hands and allow Him to work something greater in our lives. 

When we allow Him to fix us, He does just that!