Today one of my friends shared a devastating video on Facebook. One of those nanny-cam videos, where the parents think something isn’t quite right with the sitter, so they set up a hidden camera… And sure enough, there’s the baby sitter, smacking, throwing, and kicking a baby. We are appalled, sickened, and yet, morbidly obsessed with watching.. I didn’t make it more than twenty seconds into the two minute video. I would not have gone even that far, but (yay technology!) videos now start when you scroll past them. Later, four MORE friends shared this same video. The posts ranged from “I would kill this sitter…” to “I can believe how horrible people are…” and I got up slowly from my cubicle, went to the restroom, and promptly threw up. I know, classy, right? I threw up because I had no other way to express the emotion I felt. The hurt, the anger, the confusion…. and the guilt. That’s right, I said it. I feel guilty when I see videos of mistreaten children. Not because I have ever laid a hand on my boys (or anyone else’s kids for that matter) but because I have hurt them. When I yell at Cash for taking too long to put hit shoes on in the morning. The reason I think it takes too long is because I didn’t plan properly, and now we’re ten minutes behind. When I yell at Cruz, who won’t stop crying for no reason at the dinner table. To him, the reason is he’s 19 months old and has no idea how to express whatever he’s feeling. How frustrating to not have people understand you, and then yell at you for it. When Cash asks me to rub his hair “until your hand gets tired, Mommy” and I initially cringe and come up with an excuse for why I can’t, because I just want to sit and just not do anything!
I am not a “super mom”. I am a stereotypical, guilt-ridden, working mom. My guilt comes from the hours I work that my boys are in daycare, and after school care… It comes from feeding them microwaved meatballs and fruit snacks for dinner… It comes from my yelling so quickly when they are simply being “annoying” rather than misbehaving… It comes from being surrounded by so very many “crunchy”, stay at home mamas that obviously have it all together, because THEY never get on Facebook and beg someone to take their kids for the night. It comes from Pinterest, which shows me daily all the DIY crafts I’ll never have the time, energy, or ability to attempt. It comes from losing my high paying job, forcing my artist husband to hold back on his dreams in order to take on overtime and a second job so we can continue living in our dream house and having our dream life…
No, I don’t beat my children, but I beat myself mentally all day. Every day. And the pain I inflict upon myself comes out when I speak harshly to those little guys. My guilt is taking over.
So where does one turn when dealing with this? Venting on a blog is a start, I suppose. But I know there’s something else out there, and it’s more than a bunch of other mom’s saying “Been there. I understand. Me too.” Not that I don’t appreciate that ladies, trust me, I need to know I’m not alone in this! But I think the place to go is where all the answers seem to lie, in the Word. Romans 3:23 says “All have sinned and fall short of the grace of God.” That means “Nobody’s perfect.” Yet through Jesus Christ we are made new, we are redeemed. When I stop, take a breath, and think of God’s grace and God’s love, I react better towards my children. I stop thinking about these ridiculous expectations of myself that no one else has BUT ME! I remember that I am like a child to God, and though I am far from perfect, His love never fails, nor does His patience or His forgiveness. I will do things the wrong way, I will sin, I will deserve to be yelled at! And yet He does not punish. He does not yell. And so it goes with my children. Cash knows I’m the only person on the planet that can rub his hair the right way. Cruz knows his mama will give smiles and kisses when he’s scared and confused. And as God loves me, so I continue to love my children. It doesn’t mean I won’t feel guilty when I work late, or when I’m too tired to make a Pinterest perfect dinner. It means they don’t even notice, because all they see is ME. Their beautiful disaster of a mom. And their love never fails either.