Friday, August 3, 2012

A park date

A moment of hilarity with Mimi
Admittedly this week has been a drudgery of sorts. In every quintessential moment I have felt that “you are the worst mom” lie that seeps into the crevices of every mother’s brain – whether it be for a fleeting moment or a terrifying eternity.

Encouragement has been pounding through my screen, my phone, and my ears in the latter half of this week, but nothing so loudly as this morning spent at the park with my children.

Scout has been on a great napping schedule, but it means we are homebound for a large portion of the day. To counter that, we run our errands from 8-9 am – dangerous living, I tell you. I hope the sarcasm reads through the screen.  
I decided we would head to the park before the heat and humidity became too unbearable and had planned to let Cutter run around and play at the playground.

I plan things.

I like when things go according to plan.

I like when the outcome is what I envisioned it to be.

I thrive on successes, and plan for the next one – from infant milestones to personal finance.

This morning I planned to go to the playground and let Cutter run around. When we arrived, the grounds crew was mowing the grass. Cutter was upset by the noise and was bothered that the tractors might come near us. I reassured him and so we started to walk towards the playground. He visibly and verbally was shaken by their presence, so instead we went to the pavilion adjacent to the playground. I had snacks with me so we sat down at a picnic table and snacked together. He faced the trail around the park and watched the dog walkers and joggers pass by. He started saying, “Good Morning,” to everyone and was agreeable and enjoyable – two things that have been absent from his persona this week. I instantly began to relax and recognized the simple gift in front of me. A diversion from my plan led to a morning of renewal and intimate bonding with my son. Had I been steadfast in my purpose – I would have missed it entirely.

It is a reminder that I am continually growing, that I am continually stretching my own personality and my own heart to be a better mother to my children. Instead of trying to conform to what I felt we should be doing at the park – i.e. playing on the playground like other kids, I let go and let the needs of my son lead the way. In a shameful way, it was hard.

It sounds silly, and it sounds easy – but I needed that gentle reminder today. It was so simple, but the impact was deep. I’ve been so caught up in the trap of thinking that everyone else is better than I am, doing better things with their kids, teaching their kids things that I’m not, feeding them gourmet meals, being the perfect mom.

I’m writing this and revealing a very vulnerable aspect to my personality. I have always struggled with wanting to fit in and be like everyone else. It is the crux of my sin nature and I fall prey to it more often than I care to admit. My husband has been my strongest support in leading me to realize that it is not what everyone else thinks that matters in this life – but it is that of serving the Lord and my husband, my children, and myself.

This morning was so refreshing and was exactly what this “lost” mama needed. A reminder of priorities and a re-evaluation of my heart, all discovered over cranberries at the park.


Meridith said...

Lauren, I love the honesty of this post!!!! Perfect timing too as many times this week I have thought how one of the most difficult parts of being a parent is when you *plan* a wonderful outing or activity for your child, and their mood or behavior threatens to (or successfully) ruins that vision. Each time it has resulted in a positive moment or new opportunity but still frustrating nonetheless. I struggle with that devilish inner dialogue telling me what a bad mother I am but deep down I know that Braiden is content & life is good--as I'm positive it is for you & your kids! Hope to see you soon :)

Anonymous said...

You are a WONDERFUL Mom! We all have our doubtful moments, but your children are thriving, smart as whips and above all, healthy!
They wouldn't call motherhood to be the hardest job if it was the easiest. It may also be the hardest, but it is the most rewarding and wonderful thing that we will ever do.