Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Mother (as in maternal parent) (04/24/08)
TITLE: Mom to Mom
By Kristen Hester
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Don’t be disappointed in me when you arrive at my house unannounced and witness a chaotic mess. Did you know we built a tepee in the living room today and painted pictures for sick children? There may still be dirty dishes on the table and toilets that need scrubbing...and flushing, but we had fun today. At least until you arrived and shook your head at my mess. So please don’t be disappointed, but instead offer an understanding nod.
Please don’t condemn me when you see me lose my temper and yell just a little too loud at my children. You didn’t see the hundreds of times today that I responded calmly and correctly. You don’t know how very tired I am because during the night I comforted someone after a nightmare, nursed a baby and tended to a sick child. You saw me at a weak moment, but you did not see the hours and hours that led to this moment. So please offer an encouraging word rather than a clicking tongue.
Don’t fault me when I get my son a new plate of food because his mashed potatoes touched his green beans. I know you think this is the wrong thing to do, but we have battled his compulsive behavior for years. You weren’t there when we bravely stood our ground against what we considered indulgent whims until dinner was a dreaded event. For the peace of the family, we finally obliged his odd requests. He smiled and said “thank you” and we enjoyed a pleasant meal. It is true, for this one child, I have chosen not to fight this battle any longer. But don’t fault me for this decision, because you didn’t sit at my table for seven years before making it.
Don’t shake your head at our schooling decision. I know you have chosen a different method, and you feel confident that yours is superior to our method. But I assure you that I love my children also. We have prayed about our choice and feel this is best for our family. So, just because we have made a decision that is different from yours, don’t assume I am wrong and you are right. I’ll extend you the same courtesy.
Don’t criticize me because my child’s grocery sack puppet looks like a Picasso with it’s tangled mass of red yarn hair, crooked eyes, and purple, misplaced nose. She did it all by herself. After all, it was her assignment. She was so proud of her imperfect project until she arrived at school and observed the others, which looked professional. It is not my goal for her to be the 2nd grade valedictorian, but rather to grow into an independent, creative and spiritually mature adult. So, when my child’s work isn’t as impressive as your child’s, remember we have different goals.
Don’t tease me when my children arrive at church in mismatched clothes. You don’t know how vain I can be regarding appearances and impressing others. Yet, the Lord is dealing with me on this. My daughter dressed herself and chose those clothes. Though I am cringing on the inside, it is a step in spiritual maturity that I allowed her to wear that. So please, if you think about it, pray for me rather than tease me.
Don’t judge me because I give my child a pill every morning so he can attend school. I know you think that if I would just discipline my child or change his diet he wouldn’t need medicine. You weren’t there when specialists, doctors and teachers worked hard to convince me the medicine was necessary after I tried everything else. I finally see my son smile, complete his homework and have pride in his achievements. Then you suggest that perhaps I could try this or that, not knowing I’ve already tried “this” and “that,” with no results. So please don’t pretend that your one-minute diagnosis will solve something we’ve battled for many years.
I have a confession. I already doubt and second guess many of my parenting decisions. Daily, I am disappointed that I don’t meet my own expectations. Mom to mom, what I really need from you, my Christian sister and comrade, is support, encouragement and prayer. I’ll return the favor.
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