Moms, the ones to kiss the cuts and scrapes, the ones to wrap their little ones in a hug, the people who exude grace, and kindness. At least, that's how I see a mom. I rarely associate my idea of a mom with the way I see myself - authoritative, loud, brash.
We're told that bodies come in all shapes and sizes, and yet most people don't want to look the way they do. We're fed the message that the way we look and act must fit a certain mold, yet we are not clones.
Talk to any mom honestly. She'll likely tell you she feels like she's doing it all wrong. She feels like there is something about her that makes her less than the other mothers around her.
Embracing ourselves the way we come is a struggle. Embracing those characteristics that we feel are unattractive or unpleasant is sometimes easier said than done. Instead of accepting our imperfections and redirecting them to our advantage we try to shove our so-called undesirable qualities away from us as if they are poison and can only serve to destroy.
I confided to a friend that I saw my children as a garden. "I see other moms with their quiet sensitivity and I want to be like them. I want to tend my garden gently. I desire to see my garden flourish. Instead I feel like I'm swooping down on my plants pruning the crap out of them and then compensating by over-watering and drenching them."
"When I see people like you I see bravery, strength, and courage." she said. It made me want to cry. This kind, loving, gentle woman in front of me saw my qualities as brave and courageous? She saw me as strong? Here I was feeling like Godzilla knocking my kids over with a glance and she saw a family whom she loves with a loving strong mom. "Your kids are wonderful. They behave so well. You can tell you do a good job." she said as she smiled at me.
Words of comfort and healing to someone who is perhaps a lot harder on themselves than on their kids. And this is true. More often than not you beat yourself up more than anyone else.
A garden cannot be left to grow wild. It needs to be tended. It needs to be cut back sometimes. It needs to be redirected and reigned in. Let it grow, yes. Let it grow with unharnessed freedom? It isn't always the best idea. With the right amount of water, weeding, pruning, and redirection a garden can and will flourish. The key for some may be to know when to stop watering i.e. put boundaries in place, the key for others may be to know when to stop pruning - allow more freedom. Maybe being tough sometimes isn't entirely bad. It's all in finding a balance.
I will likely never be that mom on tv. I'm not sure she really exists in the real world. Sure, there are plenty of moms who are soft spoken and sweet tempered. Those moms are absolutely lovely. I will always admire them. Regardless, maybe they struggle too. Possibly with different feelings of inadequacy - perhaps wishing they were more outspoken and tenacious.
Being gentle doesn't always come naturally to me. It's something that I have to work on... a lot. Accepting the fact that I'm firm doesn't mean that I have to abandon the idea of being tender. I just need to find that balance through prayer and practice.
The fact is, we're all different and those qualities of ours that we keep wishing away are generally the traits that others admire. As it is with anything, if you use your qualities wisely they can become your greatest strengths.
"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."
Feel free to also read The Bad Day Mom.