Back In The Day

fathers-day-dinner-lgBeing a mom is, I believe, one of the most important jobs I will ever have. It is a gift I have been given, and I take it very seriously. This week in particular, I felt very conflicted with balancing work and home. Maybe it was because it was the first week back to work after the holiday. It was a bit of a letdown, simply knowing that the fun and games were over  and I had to put on my nursing hat so to speak.  I felt a longing to simply be a mom, and would have been satisfied to put that nursing cap on the shelf to collect dust.

These feelings got me thinking about this role of being a mom. I began comparing my own parenting to that of MY mother, and how it differs.  I consider myself very fortunate to have grown up in the family I did, and to have the parents I do. Consistency, calm, Christian influence. My dad walked in the door at 5:10 or so every night. Home made meals on the table at 5:30 every night. A home made sweet treat after dinner every night. The house was always picked up, laundry always done. Life was predictable. I had 2 sisters, both older than I, and we all respected my parents. I know I am the youngest, so my memory may be a little different than that of my sisters, but I don’t remember my parents ever having to yell to get our attention. For me, it was more of a fear of disappointing them that made me want to do good. (Not sayin’ that I didn’t do my fair share of stupid things growing up!)  I don’t ever remember sensing anger or impatience between my parents. Life was simple. Or at least that is how I remember it.

Fast forward several decades (gulp)and here I am, blessed to be raising my own children. Boy, I am afraid to say the the environment in which I remember growing up is very different than the environment my children are being raised. To start, I work. I have the privilege of working part time and feel very blessed for that opportunity, but…. I work. I feel like if I’m not on call, I’m going into the clinic, or thinking about an outstanding subpoena, or a child that touched my heart in a profound way. It is always there. How much does that take away from my ability to be a good mom? Are there ways that makes me a better mom?

I think another big difference is our children’s schedules. I grew up on a farm in a rural town in MN. I have to say there weren’t too many opportunities for extracurricular events until the junior high years. It wasn’t until then, that we would begin or choose a sport- and there were only a few to choose from. Practices were predictable, after school, and we would always be home by dinner-time.

My son Owen decided to play hockey this year.  I’ve been told that 6 years old is a year or two late to begin skating. Really? Along with this commitment are 1 to 2 practices a week, and 1 game per week. Not really all that bad. Then you factor in our 4 year old daughter Gracie and her 1 practice a week for gymnastics. Add the weekly church, school, typical play dates, and preschool car pools… it all adds up. And with that, takes away time from home where I could be cooking, cleaning or creating consistency and calm. On the other hand, it provides exposure to a team sport, helps build confidence and cooperation among team members and provides excellent physical activity.

So what gives? I know that schedules will only get busier. I mentioned I have 2 older siblings with older children, so know what is ahead for us. I just struggle at the difference in how I was raised. I can’t expect life to be the same for my children as it was for me 38 years ago. It is a different time, and we live in a different demographic.  I may not have the opportunity to have dinner on the table every night at 5:30. BUT there are things I can and DO do.

Creating memories with our children. Having popcorn parties on our family room floor. Watching movies. Playing board games. Creating family traditions. Being silly.

I can still provide consistency, but in a different way. Consistency in parenting, in providing a safe haven,  in creating predictability.

Calm, yet different than what I knew. Calm in my responses to various situations. Calm created by preparing for the day, for the unexpected. Calm in my marriage. These things are all a work in progress.

Christian influence- I pray I provide this by being an example in my daily walk.  By being in the Word. By making church a priority. By praying as a family. By reading devotions with our children. By living our lives as an example. I think THAT is the biggest challenge of all. Thank you to my husband who continues to hold me accountable in these areas as they too, are a work in progress. I love you!

So, for me, being a mom is a title I’m honored to have been given. My job is to help mold 2 tiny persons into a godly man and woman with the help of a lot of other wonderful people, most importantly their father. I just pray each and every day that I am equipped with the skills needed to do my very best at this incredibly important job. I can’t expect things to be the same as when I grew up. In fact, there are many positive things my children have been afforded that back in the day, were not available. I need to stop comparing, and appreciate each day for what it is. Finally, I pray for peace and balance in my heart when juggling my various roles becomes a struggle.

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  1. Chris says:

    So beautifully written, Leah.

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