I have not been behaving very well lately. I’ve been irritable and quick to anger. And I’m feeling like I want to hang up the towel on being a mom. I feel like I’m pretty lousy at it at times. If there is anything in my life where I feel utterly inept, it is as a mother.
I knew that having teenagers would be tough. In fact, honestly, when I found out more than 17 years ago that I was pregnant with my first child, my thoughts zoomed past all their cute years and straight to their years as a teenager, and I thought, “Uggh! How am I going to do this?”
This is not to say I don’t take mothering seriously. I know how important it is, and how God regards it, and that children are a gift, and that my influence in their lives is critical. But sometimes, particularly now that I’m a single mom, I just want to raise the white flag, because every conversation with my girls is either a negotiation or an irritable rant. And I confess, I digress into irritability in .07 seconds, too.
What’s more, teenagers are remarkably short-sighted and self-centered. My one daughter comes home, day after day, makes herself an elaborate snack, and then leaves everything on the counter…the tortillas, cheese, grater, salsa, and of course, her dishes. I have told her 1,000,000 times to clean up after herself. But to her, it’s easier to say, “I’m sorry” than to actually clean up. Talk is cheap, so she’d rather say “I’m sorry” 1,000,000 times, than clean up.
This same daughter has an annoying habit of talking over me. I will begin a sentence, and because she’s quite sure she knows what I’m going to say, she cuts me off midstream and answers me with, “I know, Mom! You don’t have to tell me this!” The other morning, I was taking her to school, and waiting in the car. She’d left her soccer bag in the front seat on the floor, and as she was running out to get in the car, I put the window down to tell her to take her bag out, and before I could get a word out, she said, “I know!…” She got in the car and put her feet on top of the bag, and closed the door, ready to go. I looked at her and said, “So what was I going to say?” She said, “You wanted me to get a coat.” “Nope,” I said, and then, after making her get back out and put away her soccer bag, proceeded to go into a diatribe about how I’m tired of her talking over me, and being such a know-it-all.
The other daughter speaks with irritability much of the time. She’s got reason–her schedule is insane. So, when I asked her where a certain softball field was, she answered with disgust, “Mom! It’s the field we always practice on when we’re not practicing in the gym!!!” Wow, that really answered my question… So yesterday, she happened to be playing a game on that field. It’s in the town right down the hill from us, and my GPS wasn’t quite sure where the field was either. So, I ended up going in the wrong way at a Catholic School where cars were lined up for their kids, and asking someone where the field was. Some kind lady told me that I had to turn around because I couldn’t go that way, and then told me the field was basically behind it. By the time I arrived at the field, I was beyond annoyed. If my daughter had just told me it was behind the Catholic elementary school, I would have been rosy.
So yesterday, I did what I’ve done all my life at such times. I drove out to a quiet place, near a slow-moving river, and sat down and talked with Jesus. I cried and told Him that I’m weary and that I’m not doing such a great job as a mom, and honestly, I need something more than mothering in my life. It’s so incredibly thankless. I mean, yes, my kids are pretty good about thanking me most of the time. But they take an enormous amount for granted. And they strongly resist my attempts at molding them.
And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time, we shall reap if we do not grow weary. (Galatians 6:9)
For the record, I’m weary. Bone weary. But thankfully, I can go to the One who is the source of my refreshing.
“Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” (Acts 3:19)
There is only one refreshing source of living water…Jesus. As I sat next to the river yesterday, I realized that I wanted to talk to no one else. Not my best friend, or any other friend. I just wanted to be with Him. And often, when I go to that quiet place, I don’t come away with wisdom or any clear communication from Him. Just the knowledge that He was there and He hears. And there is no judgment. Just cool refreshing.
And that’s enough.