the unexpected battle
When I became a mother, I thought the hard-fought stuff would be with her. You know, emotional care and physical wellness and speaking truth and life over her little soul that I was guiding. These things are hard to cultivate, hard to fight for, hard to mold for an individual person who is vastly different than you. But that’s not the only fight.
When she grew older, I saw that some days were harder than others. The battles weren’t only about her but also about it - the elusive sick days that are just threatening to strike, the miserable hours she’ll spend awake at the drop of a hat, the fear storing in my soul - the hard-fought stuff happens outside of our heart, too.
And now, only now, do I see another war looming, another force to reckon with. This one is more familiar, this one is difficult to call out, this one is dangerous yet easy to brush aside. The hard-fought battles of motherhood have less to do with her, less to do with our external circumstances and more to do with me. With me. That’s a hard place to be, discovering my own faults and failures that I cast onto her. Finding out that my daily battles aren’t always something else’s fault, that the issues of my heart are more of a consideration than I’ll believe them to be.
The battles of motherhood might look different than you expect.
Coming to terms to my own humanity inside of my every day parenting hurts. It’s painful because of course I want the very best for my girl and of course daily I try my best to love on her wholly. But how can I wholly love if I am fragmented, broken? How can I become whole unless I see that I am in fact defective in the first place? I’m not above admitting it - I, her mother, can be selfish and mean and hurtful. Entirely unintentionally, yet entirely crushing.
I’m not saying I can will myself to perfection, I don’t think that’s possible. I’m not saying you can, either. How can a broken person fix themselves? But what I’m doing is acknowledging the broken pieces, naming the battles that are entirely my fault, and saying this has no place here.
Listening and engaging with her babygirl dreams and hopes. That’s a victory.
Slowing down to play hide and go seek or a ‘boring’ doll house game. That’s a victory.
Allowing her to disagree with me. That’s a victory.
Giving her grace when her mistakes were truly just that - mistakes. That’s a victory.
Choosing patience for the thousandth time over inevitable frustration. That’s a victory.
Asking her for forgiveness when I am selfish, and mean, and hurtful. That’s a victory.
The battles of motherhood have more to do with me than I ever thought. My presence, my listening, my response - these are the things that will shape her soul. These are the things that show my love. These are the things that create a mother.