Friday, June 4, 2010

Learning to be a good mother

A friend left a comment on my blog a while back saying that it seems I've fallen quite naturally into the my new roll as mother. All I could think while reading it was that I must not be leaving a very balanced impression here. I was recently given a book on twins. As I read the following lines from it all I could think was how very accurately they describe the first month or two for me.
"People who have not brought up twins probably underestimate the importance of having enough sleep at night in order to cope with their babies needs during the day. As a mother of twins you have unprecedented demands made of you at a time when your physical resources may be seriously depleted by a tiring pregnancy, followed perhaps by a difficult birth...In these circumstances you may feel inadequate and depressed, especially if this is your first experience of being a mother. The demands made on you are heavy-but none the less you do meet them. If you meet them a way that feel less than ideal, it is not the you are inadequate, but that you are in a most difficult situation...When your experiences do not match up with your expectation, you may feel cheated, without realizing that the fault does not lie with you. Often there seems to be little you can do except sit it out as calmly as possible, and take a break, however briefly, whenever you can. However welcome and loved your twins are, there may be times when you feel you can't cope with the relentlessness of their demands." Twins: from conception to five years
My dad just told me today that a few years back the Marines did some studies to find out the quickest way to turn a man into a killer (gruesome thought) and their answer was sleep deprivation. I believe it! My but there were some dark days those first few months, and how I have envied moms who do seem to fall so naturally into motherhood, but then maybe they have had just as tough a time as me and I just can't see it. But in those difficult days I learned many important lessons.My need for God. There were some nights that I literally thought we would never make it, that three o'clock would never give way to four o'clock, that the sun would never rise on the earth ever again, and I would forever be stuck in those moments with little red faced babied who screwed their eyes shut and screamed so loud my ears rang. It sounds very silly in the calm light of the next morning, but that's just how if felt in those moments. Looking back on those dark nights I realize that my very worst moments were when I was so deep in the "depths of despair" (to quote Anne) that I forgot to look to God. I forgot that to ask Him for help. I forgot that my God would hear me and part the heavens, fly on the wings of the wind, expose the foundations of the earth to snatch me, little crushed me, up out of deep waters (Psalm 18). God has given The Man and I the awesome responsibility of raising, loving and training up these children of His, and He will help me every step of the way, if I will only look to Him. I try to remember to take everything to Him, especially when I can't figure out what is wrong with one of the girls or what I should do. God always knows, and He's always willing to help, though the answers are not always what I expect. No matter how demanding life is I need to clear a little space to maintain my relationship with God. I've learned to read my Bible while nursing and pray while doing most anything, and even leave little screaming people in their beds when nothing seems to be working and get a breath of fresh air or a glass of water and pray for the strength to keep trying.
Balance. I used to think that motherhood was all self sacrifice, like the story I heard of the mama bird who stayed on her nest in a forest fire when she could have flown to safety, and under her scorched lifeless wings where found her safe little ones. She died protecting them. I still do believe that motherhood is about radical, exhausting, daily self sacrifice, but that's not all it's about. I know of a mom who never stopped to go to the bathroom when her children were young and needed her so much, and she ended up really hurting her body. Somewhere there is a balance between being a good self sacrificing mother and taking care of yourself so that you have a self to sacrifice. Yeah, I know. It's a catch 22. Two key traits of a good leader are being ready to sacrifice everything for the cause, and staying mentally and or physically ahead of those being led, so as to be worthy of leadership. What a difficult balance! I may never learn how to walk that line the way I should, but I still have a responsibility to try.
Grace. I do most things all the way and when I fail, I fail BIG. It's bad enough to fail yourself, your God, and your husband, but it seems extra heartbreaking when I fail my girls. They look to me for everything, and that is such a big calling. Little as they are and though I know they don't understand I always ask the girls for forgiveness whenever I have fallen short of my calling. Then like Jacob wrestling the angel for a blessing, when the storm is past I try to find a quiet moment and look back on the situation and learn something from it, force my mistakes to become blessing for the future. (I read a wonderful post on this very topic recently). And after that the best thing I can do is move on, determined to do better in the future. I can already see that as a mother I will need to show myself grace often.


  1. "C"! I am so happy to find you on the net! I ran into "B" and she told me of your blog...what a wonderful lift to my day! I think of you often, and am glad to see how God is blessing you. I look forward to reading more...and I *love* the photos!! xoxxo katie barry

  2. Katie Barry! My goodness! Drop me an e-mail some time. LOVEc