small victories

I focus on my failures about 80-90% of the day.
I nitpick all the things I've done wrong that day and contemplate how many ways I'm ruining my kids.
I'm a bad mother I tell myself.
Not well-suited for this role.

Elijah has been my greatest challenge.
From the time he was an infant I have struggled with how best to rear up this precious child.
I judge my worth on how well he behaves and listens.
If he gets in trouble, it's my own fault.
My greatest challenge. And my greatest mercy.

There's a million things I don't understand about why I was chosen to be his mother.
A million things ways I know I'm screwing this up.
A millions ways I feel like I'm failing him.

There are also a million reasons why I know we were meant to be together.

At the General Women's Meeting I was contemplating my own role as mother and nurturer.
My first reaction was to feel guilty at how much I fall short.
But then almost as quickly as that thought came it was replaced even more swiftly with all the things I know I'm doing right.

Elijah knows what Family Home Evening is.
Even though he almost never sits and listens to my simple lessons, he knows that we gather together to sing songs and learn about Jesus.
He reminds us about our lesson each week, even offering to do it himself once.

Elijah looks forward to our family dinners each night.
He loves "helping" me cook and loves to ask what I'm going to make.
He knows and expects his mom to cook something {hopefully} delicious from scratch.
Though he loves "Ronald McDonald's" (as he calls it), most of the time when given the option he will choose mom's home cooking over a cheeseburger.
[Except when he remembers they give out toys. He will always pick the toy.]
If we eat leftovers or sandwiches for dinner (on the weekends) instead of making a big meal, Elijah knows immediately it's out of place and will ask when I'm going to make dinner instead.
Though tiring at times, it makes me proud that my son knows about different healthy meals and loves eating with his family at home.

Usually it's a tactic to delay bedtime, but Elijah reminds us to have family prayer if we forget.
We have also started the routine of reading his edition of the Book of Mormon before bed, one that he seems to look forward to each night.
I'm pretty sure the stories don't make a lot of sense to him, but I can see that habit and understanding forming already and it makes me happy to see him eager to hear scripture stories.

The other day Elijah hurt another baby I watch during the week.
He knows that's not something we do and he knows I get really mad about it.
After weeks of telling him to be gentle to {both!} babies, and him usually ignoring me, I could see that he actually finally showed some remorse for his actions.
Before I could even question what happened he regretfully told me what he did and how terrible he felt about it.

He apologized to me and told me he knew it was bad.
It took every ounce of me to not smile and laugh at this amazing progress he's made; to show sorrow for his bad choices and to say sorry before I even asked is a humungous step we've been working on for ages.
Something is finally sticking and I feel some weight slowly lifting after five years of feeling like I'm drowning.

I know I am still not the best mom.
I know I still have a lot of things to work on,
both in my parenting and in my self-confidence.

But I like to think that I'm pretty okay.
That I'm surviving.
We're surviving.
We're healthy and happy.
We're learning and progressing.
We have small victories amidst the greater struggles.
And in the end that's what's really going to matter

1 comment:

Unknown said...

You're doing a great job, mama!