The birth of each child loosens one of the wing nuts that holds a mom’s brain in place. I’m serious. I’m astounded by the things I am willing to do, all in the name of helping my children grow and develop. Things which, under any other circumstances, would cause Facebook to add a Village Idiot button.
For me it started almost immediately. When my kids were infants, I would look them squarely in the face, raise my eyebrows high, and then with a dive, plant my lips squarely on aforementioned child’s belly and make sounds which I had spent my whole life up to that point attempting never to make in public. Propriety be dashed! Those baby squeals of delight were the only payment I sought.
Mom Run Amok
When the Christmas pageant rolled around on our church calendar, I would sit in the audience animatedly mouthing the words of the performance, again eyebrows still high (what is that about?) lest my child forget his lines and was in desperate need of the apparently deaf/mute woman sitting two rows back, choir side, prompting him from the sidelines.
And for the purpose of sheer annoyance, I developed a little tradition in the grocery store. Should my children be so reckless as to say I’m doing something that is an embarrassment to their more civilized nature (which emerges so rarely as to be almost unrecognizable), I made sure they fully grasped exactly what constitutes an embarrassing action by performing my unmistakably horrifying swagger-kick-dance where I push the cart forward, leaping and clicking my heels to the side like a little drunken leprechaun run amok in the organic foods aisle. Just the knowledge of my children wilting behind me and attempting to hide among the canned goods blesses me to my bones.
When Mom Loses it
But then there was the day when I lost it, truly lost it, and began to throw my body into such a state of contortions that my actions placed me somewhere between court jester and certifiable. My son and I had gone through a long period of head-butting. We were both two strong-willed individuals whom God was attempting to harness through the process and power of learning to work with each other while never once committing homicide. (Note that I did not say never contemplating.)
I had asked him to repeat a simple poem. He was, in much the same way as Captain Barbossa from Pirates of the Caribbean,“disinclined to acquiesce to my request.” And frenzy did ensue.
“Just say it!” I commanded.
Big stern stare.
“Just SAY it!” came the rising shriek.
Bigger sterner stare.
“Juuuuuuuuuuuust. . . sssssssssaaaaaaay. . . iiiiiiiiiiiiiit!” complete with low guttural sounds reminiscent of someone whose head can spin completely around. And the addition of wild waving of papers in hands now flailing through the air as though swinging at invisible locust plagues.
Oh. My. Gosh. What weirdness was this? No one ever told me that such things could emerge from my being while mothering. When I was contemplating becoming a mom, I would look upon my delightfully swelling belly and think thoughts more in line with Norman Rockwell paintings, or lovely quiet moments from a Monet impressionist piece. Instead I got Lucy Ricardo. . . in the chocolate factory. . . on meth.
Grace for Moms
That was many years ago, <insert massive sigh> and thankfully my children and I are now able to look back on that incident and smile at the hard won journey for two rather pig-headed people to find a more godly method of interacting. I love my son. And astonishingly, he still loves me, even now as an adult. But there was a day. . .
There will be days when you may also lose it, when that sweet-voiced, kind-hearted mom you want to be takes a hike and there is a frothing badger standing there in her place. It’s a mistake. There’s no doubt about it. She’s not supposed to be here. But all at once, there she is.
Thankfully, like with all mistakes, the process to recovery is the same:
request of forgiveness
seeking God’s preferred method
Amazingly, love still grows and thrives. God still teaches us through all of our messes about who he is, about what he offers. And what is that? My favorite of things—grace.
Note: If your situation is more than just the occasional moment of yelling, I don’t want to be guilty of dismissing its seriousness, nor do I want you to feel judgment from me. Any one of us could be three steps away from doing something truly damaging. But please reach out to someone. Share your burden. Find a resource like Focus on the Family (focusonthefamily.com) that has counselors on call and offers resources free.