Wednesday, February 23, 2011

There is a dark side.

I initially started this blog because I don't scrapbook and yet I wanted to keep the memories we are creating as a family. My posts are usually positive & light-hearted. But there's an entirely different side of memories that I don't blog about. Frankly, I'm ashamed because they are dark and who wants to relive the darkness.

I am a mother. More specifically, Monday through Friday I spend 11 nonstop waking hours parenting two toddlers all on my own. And during the course of that 11-hour day, I screw up royally and often.

And though the screw-ups sometimes outweigh the parenting successes, I don't blog about them.

I didn't blog about the times I screamed so loudly at my kids that I'm certain my neighbors heard me.

Or the time I chucked the kids' beloved truck out the back door because I could no longer tolerate the fighting.

Or the time I cupped my son's face so tightly that I couldn't stop staring at his cheeks for fear I had left a mark.

Or the time I let my daughter throw her body on the floor, wailing because I wouldn't pick her up, because I was too flustered in my attempt to make dinner.

Or the times I pushed my kids away as they crawled into my lap to read a book because I was too engrossed in an email or worse yet, facebook.

Or the times I have physically walked out the front door because I was certain that if I heard one more child cry, I would surely lose it.

If it sucks for you to read my failures, trust me, it really sucks for me to type them. Sucks. Sucks. Sucks.

Just yesterday I pulled my kids into my lap and apologized profusely for losing my temper. Sweet Henry looked at me and said, "Temper? It's lost? Is it on your back? Where did it go, mommy?" I nearly cried at his innocence and yet I wanted so badly for him to understand that I was sorry.

He'll get it eventually. It certainly won't be the last apology he hears from me.

And fortunately for me, I have Jesus.

Seriously, truly, I don't know how to do this job without Jesus. Every minute of everyday I get to start fresh. Last night, after a rough day, I went for a jog (Thank you, Matt, for allowing me that time. You are such a gift to me.) As the sun went down, in 20 degrees along ice-covered sidewalks, I was overwhelmed with emotions knowing that my God will restore all the crap that I create as a mother. He adores my kids even more than I do (how is that even possible?) and when I screw up and act like a lunatic, the Lord fills my home with grace and mercy, blessing each of us amidst the mess of our lives.

I am so far from a perfect mother. And yet God knows that I am the best mother for Henry and Harper. And so when I fail and fail and fail, God forgives me and renews my soul so that I can turn around and show my children love even when I would rather crawl into a hole covered in shame.

Henry & Harper, there are not enough words to tell you how much you two mean to me, and there will never be enough I'm sorry's to make up for all the mistakes I made, am making, and will make.

And thank you Jesus. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Thank you.

30 comments:

  1. Hello sweet friend! I personally LOVED this post! No one is a perfect parent, and without Jesus...well let's just say I don't want to even think about what kind of parent I would be without Him. Throughout my parenting journey one big lesson I have learned is the importance of apologizing to my kids. I screw up a lot as a mom, and there is nothing sweeter than your child hugging you and extending forgiveness. I think it is important for our kiddos to know that we are not perfect. What a unique opportunity we have as moms to show them grace and mercy in action. I love you friend, and you are the PERFECT mom for Henry and Harper! HUGS!!

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  2. I love this. And you KNOW I could've written ALL of it. Praise Jesus for his grace and mercy. And I'm soooo thankful that our kiddos are so resilient and forgiving. So glad we're in this together. I love you.

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  3. This was a great post Ali! I feel much better, lol! People always tell me how soft spoken I am and they can't ever imagine me mad or yelling. The sad thing is the only people who see me yell are the 2 little people that I love the most and well Clark gets to witness it as well. I always back it up with telling them I'm sorry and that mommy shouldn't have yelled. After a quick hug they usually move right on to something else. Another thing I am trying to work on is when I tell them to stop fighting, pushing, swinging/throwing things because someone is going to get hurt and one of them does end up getting hurt I have a hard time showing sympathy toward them. I feel like the worst mom ever because they come to me for comfort and I just want to say "see I told you". Instead I give a quick hug until I'm not so angry and when the tears stop I try to comfort them and check out the damage. Thanks for sharing and I'm sure I would stuggle even more if I spent 11 hrs a day with mine! ~Lucy LeVan~

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  4. I love you for your honesty. I can remember one day I lost is with P and literally pushed him to the floor...the amount of guilt I felt...the crying that ensued (not from him - but from me). The constant apology to him (which he just smiled at - he didn't get it.) I am thankful that I have Jesus and I am so thankful that - he does give us new beginnings, multiple times a day. I may not be perfect, but one thing I have FINALLY gotten is God made me Parker's mom for a reason - even in all my lousy, imperfect, crazy parenting! Love you friend

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  5. Thank you for this post. I'm a first time reader, and it is so refreshing to know that other mom's do not love every minute of motherhood. My daughter is only 1, but I recall being in the midst of late night feedings and the killer lack of sleep and people saying "Don't you just love being a mom?" In short, the answer a lot of the time was "NO!!!" I try to remember that I am blessed to be able to stay home with my daughter full time as there are so many mom's who would give anything for that luxury, but I take it for granted so often.

    I think it's great that you take the time to apologize to your kids, even though they don't really get the concept yet. I think it's so important to let them know that we make mistakes too and that the right thing to do is to apologize for them.

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  6. Love your honesty! You are not the only one who yells at their kids. I love to see how you apalogize to your kids even though they are so young and don't understand completely. I was reading a book and was struck by the importance of apologizing to your kids when you mess up. When we apologize we are modeling to them that where sin abounds grace abounds more. If we don't apalogize we are teaching our kids that sin doesn't matter or that you can hide it or explain it away or blame others. Ouch! That one cut deep for me! Keep up the good work, you are a great mom for Henry and Harper :)

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  7. I am sure my friends remember the time I confessed through tears that I had hit my 2 yr. old son on the head with a Cheerio Box out of frustration while trying to get to Bible Study! It sounds funny now but at the time (16 yrs. ago) I was feeling just like you. The good news is he doesn't remember!

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  8. Dear Ali, You really are incredible! You can love sweetly because you are so vulnerable; you understand the grace and mercy of the Lord and extend that model to you children. Never fear, they will "Rise up and call you Blessed" for you are a Proverbs 31 woman.
    Love you,
    AK
    You also give hope to many moms.....what a gift!

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  9. Ali, this post describes us all. None of us are perfect, and I find myself constantly feeling like I need to apologize to my little men. Kudos for being honest, and for being willing to try harder and do better. We could all learn from you!

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  10. Um, wow. I'm truly overwhelmed. You each made me feel safe. And that's huge because when I'm in one of those rough patches with my kids, I feel like a crazy person. And I don't want anyone to know because I think, "I'm crazy and no one will understand." But not only do you all understand, you've been there. And I am so thankful for each of you. Gosh, I wish this wasn't a virtual platform. I could hug and kiss each one of you right now!

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  11. Ali, it takes a strong person to admit imperfection...even though we all are! I admire you and can sympathize :) Keep on keepin' on!!! No matter what, know that you are a GREAT mom, and that your kids love you :)

    Meg

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  12. Ali, what you just described happens to every mother I know. We all pray and wish to be the best parents we can be to our children, but its just not realistic. We will all lose our tempers and ignore our children at some point. It's realizing what you are doing and try to do better the next day. I can relate to you in every possible way. If you only knew how many times I thought to myself did my neighbors just here me scream at my kids or feeling like I just want to throw every single toy away so there would be no more fighting over them. I had to walk out side last week just to get minute of peace, I have even locked myself in the bathroom before just to get away from chaos. I truely believe you are a fantasic mom and you love your kids more than anything. We all understand and I think it's so great how open you are. Oh and don't worry we can't hear anything, its way to loud in here and if I did I would never judge.

    If you ever need quick breather please don't hesitate to bring them over. My kids love Henry and Harper.

    Lauren

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  13. wow. How do you do this? How do you know exactly what I need to read? gee thanks. You are amazing to have typed that! I am chicken. Too chicken to post a picture and story of the "mi happy book" Emma made me when I lost it/broke down just this past Saturday. She made it to make me feel better and be happy again. it is full of precious drawn pictures of a silly hampster! Our kids are truely the perfect gift from God. How does He do that?! wow.

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  14. Ali, as I read your post and words of vulnerable honesty I am moved to tears. Motherhood is a total blessing and an unbelievably frustrating job. True, there's no better mother for your toddlers than you. God is good. He loves you and will never forsake you, as you know. Your authenticity is attractive and your faith is compelling. Keep on doin' what you do - love your kids, forgive yourself, and believe.

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  15. I love that Lauren said she can't hear you yelling because it's too loud in her condo. :)

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  17. I appreciate everything you wrote because I know I could have written it! Us moms are so hard on ourselves. We mess up, all of us, so often. Thank God for His grace and mercy each day. Without it I know my kids wouldn't be the awesome kids they are today. They've managed to succeed and thrive despite having an emotional, moody, impatient, frazzled, hurried, messed-up mommy. And Henry and Harper will too! It's those kids with moms who think they do it all right that I really worry about. Your humility reminds me that I need some more of that!

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  18. Love this! And, nope, you're not alone. This is me every. single. day.

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  19. It must be in the weather......or something.....because I read this and felt smacked in the face. A friend and I just had coffee last night and had this exact. same. conversation. Whew!

    Parenting is hard.....and there are SO many days when I go to bed questioning my attitude or actions from the day.

    So glad we have each other to lean on - and the Lord to love us and forgive us in the midst of our screw ups! :) Thanks for your boldness in writing. :)

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  20. oh my goodness can i relate!!! thank you for making me not feel alone and crazy, lol. while i was pregnant a coworker/friend told me there will be days that i may cry myself to sleep because i would feel like a terrible mommy from something i did that day...thank God she told me that...it made me feel "normal" when it actually did happen to me. moms don't talk about this stuff enough. thank you for being brave enough to do it, and for indirectly comforting us. now i can think of you and the other moms that commented and feel connected/comforted the next time i have another "mommy moment"...and then pray for all us after i have my own time-out. love your blog and love that God put you in my life.
    :) linda

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  21. I'm having one of those "I'm a crappy Mom" days myself! You are an amazing Mom. We will all continue to make mistakes and continue to learn tons from our little ones! I will say I have had some challenging, stressful jobs, but "Mom" takes the cake over any day I've spent at my job that pays the bills!

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  23. Thank you for the wonderful reminder of God's grace, and of our real need for it as imperfect mothers! (Of course, if we were perfect, we wouldn't need it so much, would we? :-))

    I had to smile (well, grimace) when I read your line about Facebook, as I wrote about the very same thing on my blog this morning.

    So glad I "discovered" your blog today!

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  24. Hi Ali, found you through Mom Bloggers Club. Love this post! Love that you are honest with your shortcomings while at the same time giving it all to God!

    I just wrote a post about this yesterday actually if you want to check it out!
    http://dancingintherain-sassy.blogspot.com/2011/02/how-our-honesty-not-our-righteousness.html

    Love your blog and will be following you!

    God bless!

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  25. Found you through Marla's blog...and oh my soul..hold the phone...I so am in your shoes most days:) Praising God for honesty...honesty from you to encourage me that I am not alone in this mothering journey...that even in our failures, Christ still adores us. I am glad I'm not alone...in that there are other moms who struggle like I do...and other moms who fully rely on Christ just to make it through the day:) God bless you for your sincerity...look forward to reading more!

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  26. Amen and Amen! Thank you for laying it out there and being real. I think the truth is that all moms can relate to this, especially those of us who stay home...OH MY! Love you so much for your authenticity! Praise God for a Saviour!

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  27. Hey, found you through Marla's blog.. I had to giggle at your most recent post about thinking child protective services may be knocking at your door after posting this post. I posted something very similar last year after a tough day...
    I'm adding the link b/c I think you will appreciate reading about my trails in motherhood.

    http://fireflyphotojewelry.blogspot.com/2010/03/grace.html

    Praise God for giving us these children that we do not deserve! Hope your day was better today!!!

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  28. Loved, Loved, Loved this post. Would have written sooner but I was too busy swearing under my breath cause the 3 little people wouldn't leave me alone long enough to comment! You are a fabulous mother and I love getting to know you through this blog. Keep on keeping it real.

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  29. i just stumbled on your blog, and just in time :) we are all in this together :) and thank goodness for the love of Jesus...

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