the motherhood: being here when its hard

Tonight I’m feeling a little weary in mothering. Jack has been difficult lately – whiny, clingy, unhappy with the things I want him to do, demanding his pacifier when we’re trying to wean him from it, finally picky in his food likes/dislikes (darn it!), and just a little sinner in general. There are definitely bright spots, and I know much of his inability to handle his emotions stems from feeling poorly (he’s had croup and then a cold) – but I would love to just rewind about 10 months to when he would eat ANYTHING and be perfectly happy to gum a toy and crawl across the floor and back for hours. 🙂 And crying was only a symptom of something being wrong, not a reaction to everything I suggest.

I knew these days would come. He’s only human and so am I. And I don’t want them or him to go away…I want to lean into this and learn what God wants to teach me about Himself and about Jack. I want to figure out the best way to instruct and correct Jack so he knows the world does not revolve around him, yet his mom and dad love him to the moon and back.

I’ve been totally blessed and challenged this year by a short, yet powerful book on mothering called “Loving the Little Years” by Rachel Jankovic.

In its 104 pages and short, easily digested and exceedingly practical chapters I found much wisdom and encouragement for this journey. If I could buy a copy for every single one of my friends that is a mom, especially in the throes of early parenthood with little people that need much shaping and love, I would.

Relating to my recent experience of Jack being restless and different, I found much comfort in her chapter called “Growth Spurts”.

Whenever this happens, this ambiguous restlessness in the house, I try to think of it as a growth spurt. It’s like they develop new needs. This is only a problem when Mom doesn’t have a growth spurt herself. If I pray for a growth spurt, for ideas on how to help them, how to make this a fun new phase, and how to appreciate their new needs, then the change on my part usually clears up a lot of things. I’m not saying it eliminates the need for discipline…but my attitude is no longer a player and it is no longer a big “situation”. It’s just normal life. Growing is, after all, what God wants them to do.

I also was really challenged by this one small phrase: “Who you are is where you are.” In this season of life, I am a mother. The Lord has led me here and while some days I do not love everything about being a mother, I am inseparable from it. This is me! And I want to be the best child of God, wife of Kyle, mother of Jack and Co., and whatever others need of me there is. I can only be that by God’s never-failing help.

Last night when Jack was up for the fifth time in the night and was inconsolable to the point I was almost in tears – hot, frustrated ones, not sympathetic, sweet ones…I wearily tried to recall the verse that talks about coming to the throne of grace where we can obtain help in time of need. Or as John Piper has literally translated it: “A well-timed help.” I had no burst of inspiration and Kyle didn’t come running through the door to save me from a horrible night’s sleep with a screaming 19 month old, but I did find comfort. And eventually the cries of a very upset child calmed and elusive sleep came back to both of us.

The morning began with more tears and frustration on both our parts, but I hold on to hope that this growth spurt or whatever it is will pass and I will be a better mom and Jack will be a sweeter kid on the other side. 🙂 I can pray, right?