No How-To Manual for Motherhood

Don’t you wish there was a manual, even a series of them, for raising kids.  I sure do.  I remember having this very same thought at some point during each and every stage of their lives.  I remember when they wouldn’t sleep through the night, or fell and split a lip open, had a concussion or surgery, learned to overcome a speech impediment, had difficulties in school, didn’t get picked for a sports team, went away to summer camp or to a distant land for mission work, learned to drive, & started dating; wishing there was guide – some instruction manual I could follow.  Each of these milestones was an episode of push and pull; a struggle between Mom & kiddos hanging on and letting go, an opportunity to teach and an opportunity to learn for both of us.  I think I’ve done an alright job so far.  I’m perpetually exhausted, short on nerves, and now coloring my hair about once every three weeks.  So there’s something to be said for that, right?

My two kids are some of the greatest people I know.  Even if I wasn’t their Mom I’d want to be around them.  They have been blessed by God with extraordinary talents.  They are both:  funny, kind, generous, thoughtful, athletic (I am SO not), musical, wicked smart, and beautiful.

Do you ever have one of those days where you think to yourself…I am just worn slap out, can I be done?  Well, Moms don’t get to be done, ever.  Once a Mom always a Mom.  When they were in different developmental stages along the way I kept thinking “Oh, it will get easier when they can….feed themselves, walk, dress themselves, make their own beds, memorize their multiplication tables, help take care of the pets, drive themselves to practice, … (insert your own thought here)”.  I never wished it would go by faster, but guiltily I was looking ahead for the ‘next’ thing.  I may not have savored each moment as much as I should have.  Looking back now I know that it all goes by WAY TOO FAST.  With hindsight comes the knowledge that no the next stage is never easier, just different.  If there was a Mom manual they should put that in there.

Two years ago when we were getting the boy child into the whole college thing I remember feeling overwhelmed by it all.  So many decisions: where to go look, what major are you interested in, application processes, deadlines, & interviews, what will I do without you when you’re gone.  I know I should let them keep track of things themselves…dates, deadlines, to do’s, and where to be when, etc.  But alas, I cannot.  I am a micro manager (visualize me holding my hands to the heavens here).  In the process of being into everybody’s business I tend to get wrapped up in the details.  My sweetie kindly refers to it as “getting wrapped around the axel” or “all spun up”.  He knows me so well.  The other day I blinked and here we are, in the thick of the college quest, again – this time with baby girl.  She and I had a ‘moment’ this week, where I was (according to her) “all up in her business”.  She was right.  She had a meltdown.  I had a meltdown.  Love and hugs were exchanged.  I had one of those light-bulb moments where I had to step back, take a look at the BIG picture for a change, and see my kiddos for what they are – pretty darn awesome.  I confess I don’t do that nearly often enough.  Do you ever have one of those moments, either intentional or (as in my case) not, where you step back and see the big picture?  Don’t you wish there was a Mom manual at times like those.

I guess the point of this post is to assuage my guilty feelings for being the pusher Mom.  Yes, I have been their number one cheerleader and advocate along the way, dispenser of hugs, praise, and warm chocolate chip cookies; but I have also had the terrible habit of being “all up in their business” too.  Sometimes I forget to look at things from their side, and especially the big picture.  Here’s to my two wonderful ‘babies’ for being so successful, in spite of your dear old meddling Mom.  I love you!

Do you have Mom guilt?  I think if you don’t you may not be doing it right.   I hope for your sanity, and for the sake of your L’Oreal Preference budget, you can strike a happy medium between appreciating the big picture and “being all up in your kid’s business”.