If you ask a Mother, "What is the hardest part of parenting?" you will likely receive a handful of answers depending the age of her children.
Topping the list for many young mothers--potty training. Seriously--who really enjoys that task? Close seconds include pregnancy, birthing, breastfeeding, sleepless nights, and two year old temper tantrums (at present I have two of those--one screaming in her room and one throwing herself on the floor here next to me.)
In the early years, a mother is a caretaker. An exhausted overworked nurse, problem solver, teacher, human milking machine, sanitation worker, chef, etc. etc. So naturally, when we think of the burdens of motherhood, our mind shifts to this physical marathon that occurs during the early years of a child's life. And rightfully so. The extremely demanding nature of these years is not to be discounted.
However, as a mother matures, and the potty training days are behind her, I think the really painful work of motherhood begins.
Last night, Colonel Mustard and I sat in our first middle school parent teacher conference for Andrew. It was a bit daunting to sit at a table with his four core teachers around the table and the parents on one end. It was the first time Colonel Mustard had ever accompanied me to a parent teacher conference, and I found myself grateful not to be the only one sitting there. As our short conference unfolded, we discussed his progress in school and then the focus shifted to his situation in life and the challenges that has presented. I saw concern from his teachers as we discussed the immediate future challenges he would be facing at such a delicate and precarious point in his life. I left satisfied, that at the moment, he was as intact as we could hope for.
As we left the school and began the 20 minute drive home, I couldn't help but start to cry as I pondered the predicament our oldest son was in. I so desperately wanted to take away the challenges and struggles he was facing and would continue to face. However, I was deeply impressed with two facts.
1) I am completely unable to stop the events that are unfolding in his life.
2) Even if I could change his circumstances, I would be doing him a disservice by taking away the opportunity for him to grow and become who he is suppose to be.
And that's when it hit me. THIS is the hardest part of being a mother. It is not the endless marathon of early childhood that makes a mother who she is. That marathon works to break her down, to humble her, to prepare her to submit herself to a will that is not her own. To realize that moment when her job is to step back and allow Heavenly Father to take the child she has so lovingly cared for, and make them into something more--something far greater than she could have made by herself. It is not a physical marathon anymore. It is a spiritual marathon, and it is far longer--for it lasts the rest of your life.
It provides a glimpse of the divine as our Father in Heaven prepared his spirits, gave them their agency, sent them to earth and had to sit back and watch them suffer trails he couldn't take away, in order for them to grow and become worthy to return to his presence one day.
I am in a partnership with God. And last night, I realized I have taken the next step in becoming more like him. I too must suffer the burden of allowing my children to grow--and I am so grateful to know that I'm not in it alone--because This, is really hard work.
2 years ago