On my worst days I can hear my thoughts loud and clear... Why did I procreate? Why did I recreate myself? (You'll thank me that this is the edited version. Usually there is a string of 'other' words thrown in). But seriously, some days I am screaming on the inside from the pressure I feel to be a responsible grownup, with kids!
Having a daughter, just like me, is sobering and scary and exhausting. I see so much of me in Emi and it challenges me to accept myself and all my faults from moment to moment as I learn to have the grace to accept her. Sounds like I am a lousy mum, that it would even be a question... but with a history where accepting myself has been a huge struggle, it makes sense that I would struggle to face myself in my own daughter from day to day.
I have learnt that what you lack inwardly, is what you'll lack for others. So instead of passing on the baton of lack I experienced, I am forging a new baton. And it is bloody hard work.
I pray for grace every day so that I may be gracious. This is an area that I lacked as a child. I felt no grace or tolerance towards myself and therefore life in general. My faults were reasons to berate and belittle myself daily, and would often result in doing the same to those around me.
It is hard to reverse this cycle. And it comes down to one thing – shame! Shame is when you honestly feel like you are a disservice; the world would be better off without you because everything you have to offer is just not right, or doesn't fit. It is different to guilt. Guilt is where you feel you have done something wrong. Shame is where you feel like your very existence is wrong.
But after years of seeking truth and freedom, I am reversing the cycle. Some days I feel like I am back at square one. But then I stop and think about how far I have really come and how every small win should be celebrated and counted.
One of my most important phrases or mantras that I constantly repeat is, "my love is big enough". You know the truth is some days I am definitely not big enough to handle the responsibility of being a good mum, and divorcing my own struggles for the sake of my children. But love conquers all, and my love is made big enough thanks to God's love, which is big enough and more.
The reason I am able to move forward from that feeling of shame is because I believe I am loved, which then translates into believing I am not wrong, but I am 100% right, accepted, purposed and appointed. I have so much to offer. This is God's love at work in me and I can't attribute it to anything else.
Whether you know God or not, you need to believe you are loved, and that love conquers all. God is love so perhaps you know Him more than you think.
This belief has set me free countless times, not just as a mum but as a wife. I don't berate my husband any more for not cleaning the kitchen properly, or belittle him for forgetting to do something (*sigh* I am not proud of these moments). I still feel intolerant towards this stuff, but I am learning how to be gracious. And I am learning how to change my language and tone so that my voice is not tainted with anger, or judgement. Because when it is tainted, it is ineffective. So all the times I screamed out of anger at my husband or my daughter to do this or that, so that I could feel in control and safe, were so far from being effective, it was traumatic.
But slowly, I have released my voice from anger or judgement. And while it still sometimes gets entangled, I am aware and can move swiftly to keep it free. Now I seek wisdom, and sweetness so that my words bring health, life, laughs and truth to my family. When my daughter is being 'passionate' about not going to bed on time, I can figure out different angles to deal with the situation that keep us all feeling safe and loved. When in doubt, I try to just laugh and lighten the mood. My love is big enough to handle her tantrums, or anything she throws at me. She will not live a life of shame. She will not believe that her existence is intolerable. And God forbid my life is not perfect. I let go every day of the idea of an ideal life and remember that life is really beautiful and delicious in the mess. This helps me stay sweet...
Just recently I shared this on my Instagram account, and I hope it brings some cheeky laughs as well as sincere truth to your life:
An essay on parenting -slash- love -slash- life...
Having kids with the one you love will change you in ways words can't articulate. Your status with each other and the world shifts from the tender, passionate, naive, sometimes irrational, often pretentious, expectant and irresponsible platform on or 'bubble' within it so proudly exists... To what can only be described as a shady motorcycle ride through a web of unexpected back streets, wide open roads, twists and turns, with no preparation, barely a helmet and a whole lot of baggage. Often you feel out of control and like you can't go back to the way things were. While it can be exhilarating and euphoric at times, it's also the scariest thing you'll ever do.
But you hopefully realise, that while you cling for dear life, the crazy bumpy journey is about so much more than the idea of an ideal life. It's about the moments where you want to lock yourself in a room and scream till you pass out but choose not to, manage a smile and calmly respond while your kid asks a question for the 17th time about some mindless detail they observed just 2 minutes ago on their crappy plastic toy. Or the times you do loose it and say things you wish you hadn't but quickly follow up with "I'm so sorry". It's about finding the sweetness in amongst the chaos and learning to get over things quickly.
You know you've come a long way when you desire wisdom, opportunities to laugh (especially at yourself) and a sturdy grasp on who you are as apposed to your husband's tender and romantic gaze. I love my husband but he ain't going to look at me every day, the way I can only imagine every romance novel character locks eyes with their love. But my husband is real and he loves me, and I am real and this is real life and we choose to be the best versions of ourselves but sometimes we are really crappy versions of ourselves. And it's all ok.
The rich, messy, crunchy details of our life are too good to give up and we are too blessed to ever not be thankful. And the way we can laugh while we lovingly tease each other or make fun of a dire situation all while juggling kids is way better than exchanging romantic gazes from across an empty room.
Love Heids Xx