This week’s guest post is from Emily Wierenga. Emily is a wife, mother, artist and the author of Chasing Silhouettes: How to help a Loved One Battling an Eating Disorder and Mom in the Mirror: Body Image, Beauty and Life After Pregnancy (Mother’s Day 2013). For more info, please visit emilywierenga.com.
Maybe it was because, at the time, I had four boys ages four and under (two of them being foster sons). Maybe it was because I’d just taken them swimming, and then doled them out dinosaur snacks and sippy cups and turned on their favorite CD and no one needed naptime more than Mama.
With me in the driver’s seat, I turned towards home, and five minutes down the road, pulled out my bag of carrot sticks. “I want carrot sticks!” the eldest called from the backseat, and I snapped.
“No!” I cried, boring holes through the rearview mirror as though he’d asked for my kidney.
And then I realized what I’d said and broke out into a desperate kind of laugh, the exhausted kind that scares your kids more than any amount of yelling and you know this because they’re sitting perfectly still. “Okay, Mama,” they whisper. “We’re sorry. We’ll eat our candy.”
It was right up there with the night I denied them more broccoli because I wanted them to eat their rice and chicken—but really? Denying kids broccoli, because you want them to finish their plate? And I thought about buying myself a cape for getting my kids so hooked on vegetables but decided that was a little pretentious, so settled for a plaque instead.
Sigh. No. I actually curled into a little ball on the couch like I do every night and prayed to God to guide me in mothering these impressionable little people because I have no idea what the heck I’m doing. The moment I think I’m getting it right, they go and pee on the neighbor’s lawn and there’s not enough coffee in the world. No, there’s only prayer.
I’m a praying woman. But I’m also, deep down, a pretty humble woman because I know I’m a mess. I know the only redeeming quality about me is that I have a calling to be a mom and that God will gift me with the wisdom and insight necessary to know how to feed, clothe, inspire, and discipline these little ones 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
I’ve written a book about the lessons I’ve learned as a mom, mostly, that we need to get right with ourselves and love the heck out of ourselves before we can begin to love our children. We need to laugh insanely at our mistakes and forgive ourselves seventy times seven and exemplify self-grace so our children can rise up courageous, not crippled. And once we do this we’ll realize:
Giving birth produces life in more than one sense. It’s the baby powder, milky-breathed spirit found in the softest limbs you’ve ever felt, and it’s the respect a man feels for his wife as he watches her give up her body for another.
And it’s the deep-rooted soul satisfying feeling of knowing you were born for more than the mirror. That you were born to see the face of God in your child, and to know, you yourself are a miracle. (excerpt from Mom in the Mirror)
Do you kids eat lots of candy?
Did your own parents have rules for the consumption of sweets?