Motherhood – Part Two

October 22, 2009

 

I don’t know how to how to be a mother, really.
I don’t have all the right words to tell them
I don’t know how to teach them
hardly ever

words and orders
my rules
obey!
repeating and explaining

Or
even more
how I live
how I speak
they will know and do and be
because of what I’m doing, not what I’m saying.

Tall order
living out what you say is right and good so they will act like you
because they will act like you.

I’m so often saying one thing and acting quite another thing out.

That’s
the pressure in motherhood for me, the thing I worry over getting right.
Not when they potty train
junk food
paci
TV
co-sleep
ECFE

Maybe those things matter, but only for a time and then they don’t.

When I say I want to allow myself to fall into motherhood, I’m not talking about losing myself, I’m talking about allowing myself to be changed by it in the ways that I am meant to be changed so they will see it and want to live it too.

Being kind
Less Afraid
More vulnerable
Safe place.
Secure
Confident
Choosing happiness

Motherhood is all about changing. Our children, they change overnight, growing and learning and being more all the time.

I get scared that I won’t have enough time to make sure they understand what I’m saying but not living out. I hate it that my own growing up takes so much more time, that they may be gone before I’ve finally allowed myself to be the best version of me. Because the trickiest thing is that mothering is such sacrifice and there are so many demands in the daily grind, it leaves very little space and time for the growing up of me. There is no option other than slow to grow, when a mother is almost always buried in serving and trying to love it, distracted from herself. So, the cocooning process is terribly long, at least for me.

I make it no secret that I believe in a graceful God, one that takes our slow process and the ways we fail and redeems it, making butterflies out of sighing grumpy mother caterpillars,

up in the air.

And this is Grace, my children, already seeing me as that butterfly, even now on my slow-belly crawl through time.

And this is Motherhood, a chance to see myself through those merciful eyes of my children, and then live what they see, what I didn’t see without them.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This post was sitting in my drafts, afraid to rear it’s head. Then I was inspired to finish it by MamaKat and her writing prompts on Motherhood over at Mama’s Losin‘ It. So here it is, out of it’s cocoon, if you will.

{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

spielbee October 22, 2009 at 8:59 am

Lovely. Congrats on finishing something, right? Keep writing. That was beautiful. And have a great day butterfly.

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Billy Coffey October 22, 2009 at 9:00 am

For as much as I think I'm raising my kids, I also think in a lot of ways we're raising each other.

I'm glad this came out of the cocoon.

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Emma October 22, 2009 at 9:00 am

Yes to be a good mother!! Keep trying and I will too!!!

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Adventures In Babywearing October 22, 2009 at 9:00 am

Oh I've often laughed in my mind about all those years of "finding myself" (which I never did find myself, by the way) because I never truly knew who I was until I was a mother… it is SO painfully reflected in every detail. New things are revealed every day. Like, here you are. You are right here. This is you. Now what are you going to do with it?

I need to remember the awesomeness and power I have right there in that very thing.

Steph

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Kelly October 22, 2009 at 9:29 am

I often try to sit back and see myself through my children's eyes. To them, I must seem magical yet fierce, funny yet unpredictable.

It's something I'm working on, but what really struck me here is the idea that, to them, I'm already the butterfly and not that struggling caterpillar.

I do not want them to emulate the caterpillar. I suppose that means I better start working toward the butterfly.

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Laanykidsmom October 22, 2009 at 10:01 am

Every time I think I'm doing a horrible job at mothering, my sweet 9 year old will say to me out of the blue, I want to be a mom like you when I grow up. You're the best mom ever.
That makes me resolve to keep trying, keep working on improving myself as a mom. Thanks for this post.

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Evolving Mommy Catherine October 22, 2009 at 10:09 am

I have been thinking a lot lately about what I am trying to teach my daughter through my words and what is probably being taught to her through my actions. Sometimes that is a good thing and sometimes not so much.

I guess sometime I feel like I am the butterfly and sometimes I feel like I am the caterpillar

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Steph @ Diapers and Divinity October 22, 2009 at 10:12 am

From one sighing grumpy mother caterpillar to another: I think we've got it right simply because we understand the butterfly part, so we strive. It's all about perspective and seeing tomorrow's value in what we do in the moment.

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Keyona October 22, 2009 at 10:14 am

Everyday I feel like I don't know what I'm doing. But guess what? I'm doing it. I have a WONDERFUL child so I must be doing something right. So are you.

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Lara October 22, 2009 at 10:15 am

I love the idea of seeing ourselves the way our children do. And they always choose to tell me I'm the best mommy in the Universe when I'm having a particularly bad mothering day. Love it.

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Melanie October 22, 2009 at 10:23 am

Love the butterfly analogy. :) Gives hope to this sighing grumpy mother caterpillar!

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Becca October 22, 2009 at 10:31 am

even after all these years, we're still falling into motherhood, like we're falling in love, over and over. and don't we want them to love the job? don't we want for our sweet ones to grow up to want it all, but especially a family of their own?

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Growin' with it! October 22, 2009 at 10:36 am

i love what you wrote about motherhood changing us. so true. and i struggle so with that desperate feeling of getting it right, saying what needs to be said and teach what needs to be taught before time runs out!

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Emmy October 22, 2009 at 10:50 am

Yes, I often find my self yelling at my kids to say "stop shouting at each other"… so easy to not do what we preach. But I try, we try.. and yes hopefully we can grow and change fast enough.

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Becky October 22, 2009 at 10:55 am

Do any of us ever really know what we are doing when it comes to motherhood? (This isn't completely rhetorical – if you know someone with all the answers, I'm gonna need her phone number, okay?)

One step at a time. One day at a time. One learning moment at a time. And then come those gone-too-fast moments where you realize, "Hey, I am doing a good job. This mom thing suits me. Everything's gonna be okay."

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5thsister October 22, 2009 at 11:05 am

We all do the very best that we can with what we know. I've had to apologize to my children because, unfortunately, Mommy doesn't always have the answer. It is through God's grace that we get through each and every day.

Another beautiful post!

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Heather of the EO October 22, 2009 at 11:08 am

I guess it's when I'm struggling, under stress, losing my cool constantly that I write these posts. Because I care so much about my emotional instability and what that teaches my small people.

BUT, I do know that I'm a good mom, really, overall. I do know. I am doing the best I can with the tools I currently have, and I'm so thankful they think I rock. It blows my mind, really.

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togetherforgood October 22, 2009 at 11:22 am

I'm glad you let this one out of its cocoon. :) This is the same struggle I find myself facing. I'm glad it's not just me. :)

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Jen October 22, 2009 at 12:06 pm

Thanks for this post. I am there too.

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Wendi @ Every Day Miracles October 22, 2009 at 12:17 pm

Gosh Heather – am I glad that this came out of draft mode. :)

This is right up there with my favorite posts ever. :)

SO much truth and so much reassurance – we all feel this way some times.

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Kelly Langner Sauer October 22, 2009 at 12:43 pm

I am glad you posted this draft. The timing… He knows what He is doing, doesn't He?

Thank you for being here too.

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Charisse and Holly October 22, 2009 at 1:13 pm

Write a book…I'm putting my money down now. Really beautiful, and so true. Thanks for sharing your thoughtful insights. Makes me want to weep. Have a great day. Come on over to our place for a latte:) Holly at lifelaughlatte.blogspot.com

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Holly October 22, 2009 at 1:48 pm

That is a beautiful and just what I needed today…it has been a rough couple of weeks and just being reminded of the ups and downs of motherhood, and that you are not alone in those feelings.
Holly @ 504 Main

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Haley October 22, 2009 at 2:08 pm

This is a great post…and it gave me lost of perspective. You're writing is beautiful as always. :-)

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D. October 22, 2009 at 2:10 pm

Again – just beautiful.
You inspire me with your writing, and mostly with you heart. nice work. And just because of the butterfly talk I have to say my favorite saying (proverb):
Just when the caterpillar thougth the world was over, it became a butterfly

:)

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Susan Berlien (warmchocmilk) October 22, 2009 at 2:38 pm

I hope what you're saying is true. That our example is what really matters. 'Cause I feel like that's the one part I get right. I'm a "good" person. I'm ethical and loyal. I love and I don't hold back. I appreciate family. That's what I want for them in life..what I struggle with is the daily aspects of motherhood..the sleeping in the carseat..the TV watching…the junk food. But all that added up makes a difference too. That's what scares me.

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L.T. Elliot October 22, 2009 at 2:39 pm

I love that you said they see you as the butterfly even when you're on a slow belly crawl through time.
This is how I feel. I'm so far from finished, how can I help them find their own transformations? One day at a time and with that infinite grace, I suppose.

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blueviolet October 22, 2009 at 3:00 pm

If your kids are seeing you as the butterfly (that we all know you are), then flutter and fly free. God gave you some of the most beautiful wings I've ever seen.

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Kimberly October 22, 2009 at 3:11 pm

I'm so glad you let this out. This is far more beautiful than a mere butterfly, as are you. I love how you illustrate the importance of who we are as parents and how we live our lives. How that matters more than simple decisions like when to potty train, etc…

It's about who we are. And what's amazing is how becoming parents shapes our personal potential and perspective.

Beautiful post, Heather.

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Mama Kat October 22, 2009 at 3:15 pm

Will you be my best friend? I love this. Speaks to ALL moms. Beautiful.

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--It's Your Movie-- October 22, 2009 at 3:50 pm

We are all human people and we all have our own issues that need to be worked on. This is the way we were designed and God knows this and forgives us so I really think that our kids will, eventually, know our faults but that they will forgive us too. It's okay to not be perfect because hey, we're human, it's impossible! As long as we try like crazy and do our best and love them as hard as we can, they will know our hearts and they will hopefully learn to be people who try like crazy and do their best and love hard too.
That's what I tell myself, at least. You're awesome Heather. Your blog makes me feel a little lighter.

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Carrie October 22, 2009 at 4:47 pm

I totally get you on this post – so well-written – love it! My two biggest goals that I want to see in my children's lives as they grow & when they are grown are: 1) a deep passion and love for God, and 2) a willing, selfless servant's heart always looking for a way to serve someone else. And then I look at myself and think, "just WHO is supposed to teach them about this?" Thank you for this post!

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Jamie @ Six Bricks High October 22, 2009 at 4:53 pm

Motherhood is a tall order for sure. I'm so thankful for a God that takes my failures and redeems them.

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Heather Sunseri October 22, 2009 at 5:33 pm

Very nice, Heather. Parenting is such a journey for me.

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CC October 22, 2009 at 6:01 pm

So beautiful. I know my kids are going to see all my faults and issues. I pray that they will learn from them and not repeat them. :(

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casual friday every day October 22, 2009 at 6:12 pm

Your words, they resonate.

Nell

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Life Is Beautiful October 22, 2009 at 6:16 pm

Beautiful, Heather!

The following passage from your text speaks volumes to my heart:

"I make it no secret that I believe in a graceful God, one that takes our slow process and the ways we fail and redeems it, making butterflies out of sighing grumpy mother caterpillars,up in the air."

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Corinne October 22, 2009 at 6:30 pm

I'm so glad you pulled this out of your drafts.
(all I can picture with your "up in the air" line is my daughter putting her arms up, which is what she does when she sees a butterfly. Gave me chills!)

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Blessed October 22, 2009 at 10:18 pm

I told my Aunt the other day that I had to get better about something because I want my children to learn to do it and I can't expect them to if I don't… yep, this motherhood thing it's changing me – for the better, but sometimes it's so tough and I'm so much a grumpy caterpillar that it's scary. Then Hubby asks our 2 year old "who loves you" and she says "Mommy does!" and when she's hurt or upset she wants Mommy, and she always wants to be with Mommy and I know I must be doing something right – I must be letting my love for her shine through loud and clear. So thankful for Grace, God's grace.

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Angie October 23, 2009 at 8:40 am

You brought this out of the cocoon, and it is a breathtaking butterfly! :) I don't think I can even tell you how much I LOVE this post. You speak truth, my friend, beautiful truth.

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deb October 23, 2009 at 8:41 am

Well timed words for me , Heather. Thank you.
I so often wish I could go back and do some of it over , especially with my first borns, when I was so messed up, holding it on like I couldn't wait to get so much of it over and move on to the good stuff. Trying to fix myself .
And here I am still, with amazing children. Teens who hug me just because. I don't deserve it.
Or maybe I do. I'm trying to figure it out still. But I am not rushing through it anymore. This is as good as it is suppose to be. Ever. And I want the hugs more than they'll ever know.

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Dedee October 23, 2009 at 11:25 am

Two very spectacular posts in a row. I love the sentiments in this one and the universality of the pictures in the last one.

Being changed by motherhood is something I struggle with.

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Kori October 23, 2009 at 4:30 pm

The idea of changing due to motherhood rather than losing yourself because of it is a powerful one; I struggle with that one as well. And I love being a mother, but I want to be so much more than that-because I have a daughter, and because I have sons.

I don't think any of us who are honest with ourselves really know how to mother; we just keep trying to do the best we can, and sometimes it truly is enough.

Beautiful words from a beautiful person.

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Lolli October 24, 2009 at 12:19 am

Beautiful. I have been struggling lately with not being the mom I want to be–even the mom I used to be (so I've taken a step or two backwards)–because of the stress and anxiety in my life. But I have found that my kids, above all other people in my life, take me for who I am right now and love me for it. It's amazing how forgiving and adaptable kids are. And patient. I don't know if I can be patient enough for my own growth and improvement that inevitably come with motherhood.

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mama-face October 24, 2009 at 8:01 pm

You and your children grow together. I do know from looking back now that I wish I had not spent so much time fretting about the little stuff. It's tough to know what the little stuff is in the midst of it all.

I love when you talk of a God full of grace. Thank you.

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MidnightCafe October 25, 2009 at 10:35 am

Thank you. Just thank you. I'm struggling a lot lately with trying to model what a want my little person to learn, rather than just telling her what to do all the time. This was timely.

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Dave October 27, 2009 at 8:48 am

i think every woman has an god given ability to know how to be a mother.

the difference between the good ones and the bad ones is having the courage and humility to act on that knowledge.

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Tracy P. October 31, 2009 at 1:12 am

You won! And you should. This is beautiful. I feel exactly the same way, that I cannot grow fast enough to be the example I would want them to follow in time. However, I have been surprised, now that my preschoolers have become preadolescents overnight, by the ways I was growing under that pile of laundry and dirty diapers the whole time. Turns out poopy diapers are fertilizer after all! Yes, amazing grace.

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Lee of MWOB November 2, 2009 at 6:26 pm

So beautiful. My favorite kind of your writing my friend…I think it's another one I must print out and read again and again….

I love this.

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suzannah November 3, 2009 at 9:39 am

this is so beautifully transparent. thank you.

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Anti-Supermom November 4, 2009 at 12:14 am

So happy that you linked this post… this is absolutely beautiful and obviously speaks to many, many mothers out there, including myself.

Thank you.

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Sarah@EmergingMummy November 10, 2009 at 1:21 pm

This really ministered to me (to use an old Pentecostal expression!) this morning. Thank you.

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Aging Mommy May 9, 2010 at 4:42 pm

Stopping by from Ann's Rants Motherhood link-up and I am so very glad I did. I actually wrote a post earlier this past week about how lost I got in trying to be a perfect Mom and so much of what you write here, in this beautifully written post, resonates with me.

I hope that today of all days you have had a wonderful Mothers Day

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Liz @ Peace, Love and Guacamole May 9, 2010 at 9:29 pm

Beautiful post.
This part really resonated with me:
"I'm talking about allowing myself to be changed by it in the ways that I am meant to be changed so they will see it and want to live it too."

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Ann's Rants May 10, 2010 at 4:18 pm

Thanks for linking this one up. Instead of crawling on my belly, I feel like I've been leap frogging over my chidldren for some time.

It's really hard to get back on the floor sometimes.

xo

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Ashley September 30, 2013 at 9:36 pm

Love this, Heather! So happy for my school assignment that I have been able to come read more of your blog posts and be inspired!!!! You do great things by sharing your life!

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