So I wrote this post. And twelve hours later, I was in an ambulance with our son Sam en route to the Pediatric ICU. I shared a little on my Facebook page about our visit, but the basic gist is that it was caused by an accidental ingestion of one of his allergens.
After watching Sam get three epi-pens and two steroid shots that were NOT working, I left the ER room and called my mom. I honestly thought that Sam might not make it.
So many things go through your mind. Random, morbid, awful thoughts that no mommy should ever have to think. But interestingly, the predominating thought was this one.
That I had written the night before. Because the truth is, I have many fears as a mother. Strong, terrifying fears. But my greatest fear? The one that keeps me up at night, that tugged at my heart while Sam was in his little bed, with tubes in his nose and hives on his chest…
What if my little ones are gone, and one day I blink, and it’s over, and I have wasted it?
Wasted this time.
Wasted their little years.
Wasted this chance at being a mom.
I knelt by the bed and made all these promises, to myself and to God. That if he could be okay, I’d see it differently from now on.
Well, I have this chance today. Gratefully. Thank the Lord. And so do you.
It might sound odd or funny, but what helps me somehow prevent this horrible nightmare from becoming reality is to flip the scales. What would it look like to Waste My Motherhood? to squander these years? this Gift of being called “Mom”?
I think I know. Here’s what I wrote yesterday, that I know with my bones and breath today.
Here’s how to waste your motherhood.
- Always have a mental countdown going to “till something.” Till bedtime. Till school starts. Till I’m not nursing. Till I’m not pregnant. Till our getaway.
Keep reminding yourself the good life is just around the corner.
- Stay inside as much as you can. You’re tired. Avoid those spur-of-the-moment outings and family excursions. Inside is safe, and way less work.
- When you’re with your kids, always be mentally preoccupied with your work or projects. Be there, but not really there. Whatever you do, don’t actually listen to their little stories, questions, and ideas.
- Don’t apologize to your kids. Instead, stew over your failures for a good long time, until you’re convinced what a bad, bad mom you are.
- Feel really annoyed every time someone gets sick. Make sure the TV is on a lot. Avoid snuggles, avoid back-scratches, avoid stories or prayers. Whine a lot, publicly. Never mind the ripe opportunities for loving, for serving, for snagging their little hearts while they’re quiet and still.
- Get really fixated on one of your kids’ issues. Remind yourself you HAVE to fix it, or else. Let it consume everything – your free time, your marriage, your friendships. Consult your friend Google frequently.
- Do it alone. Make sure your husband knows how overworked, stressed out, and discontent you are. Make sure he understands you are The Only One who can do things right anyhow.
- Remember that breakdowns, and chronic health issues, and debilitating depression are totally normal. Just ignore it, and press on through. At all costs avoid counseling and medication, because Good Moms don’t need them.
- Don’t take time to relax, to heal, to be healthy. Be a martyr, and make sure everyone can see how tired and frazzled you are.
- Get real annoyed anytime something isn’t perfect. Especially birthday parties and vacations. Spend large amounts of time and energy keeping these things JUST the way you envision.
- Always stay on The Schedule. Plan lots of things, and get real stressed out when no one is ready on time. Always be doing something, going somewhere.
- Strive to maintain an impeccable home, at all costs, especially avoiding: indoor forts, Play-Doh, kids helping you bake, and any kind of science experiment.
- Whatever you do, don’t get sucked into those awful time-wasters: board games, bedtime talks, and pointless nature walks. Make sure that email account stays good and checked.
- And above all, keep your iPhone very close. This little device is your Life Line. Bring it everywhere, and be sure to pick it up the very moment you become bored. Set up notifications, loud ones, so you don’t miss anything. Feel stressed when a child “distracts you” with a question.
Now you’ve read this list, and of course, you get it – all my years of motherhood haven’t been one dismal failure, and neither have yours. Like you, I’ve done some of it wrong, and some of it right.
But I can tell you this, too – today, in a doggy-wallpaper hospital room, I was given a tremendous gift. Yes, the gift of Life. I watched my brave little boy fight and recover, and for that we are inexpressibly grateful.
But also? Another gift.
The gift of Sight.
“Teach us, oh Lord, to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
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