Thursday, June 13, 2013

I'm Letting Go

This morning I forgot to set my alarm and I overslept. I found myself dragging my feet while getting everyone ready trying to spend more time with the kids, but alas McLaine can't miss too much summer school and Beckett has to be dropped off by 9. I'm enjoying my new schedule working days, having a weekend, and being the one to tuck my kids in every night. However, I find myself missing them throughout the day. By the time I go to get them in the evening I'm craving them! So mommy guilt was creeping in this morning telling me that someone else is getting all my children's time and I'm getting the leftovers. Worst of all, vice versa: Something else is getting all of my time and my children are getting the leftovers...

I think it's inherent mom nature that we question ourselves when it comes to the care of our kids. Have I made the right choice moving to this schedule? Am I there for my kids enough? Am I letting someone else raise my kids? Do I let them watch too much TV? Am I less of a mom because we don't do daily homemade arts and crafts like I see on Pinterest? Will my kids suffer because I'm not making a wholly organic, clean eating homemade meal for them every day? I could go on and on, but the biggest source of guilt for me revolves around being a single parent. Will my kids be ok even though they're being raised by me alone without a dad in the picture? I'm just one person, and I try really hard to be everything but that's impossible. Trying to do and be everything burns you out rather quickly.

On the way back from dropping McLaine at school, I was listening to The Joy FM. Susan Merrill (director of was on the program and they were speaking specifically about mommy guilt. (I love how God speaks to us with exactly what we need to hear in all kinds of different ways.) I was meant to hear this today and I wanted to share it.

Susan said that God places us in the lives we live. He plans this life for us because it's where we are meant to be and what we are meant to be doing. He also gives us each unique callings and talents that we are supposed to use to serve Him. Moms today are pressured by society to serve or cater to our children way more than moms in the past did (which is creating a very entitled generation of kids). Clearly as moms we must care for and nurture our children, but we must not ever forget that we serve God first and our families second. There is always a reason why we are in the place we are and if you are heeding God's call, you're in the right place doing the right thing and God will make up the difference. Let go of the guilt.

In this season of my life, I am a single mother to a child with special needs and a very active toddler doing the very best I can on my own. I was placed into this life for a reason. I don't know that reason, but I trust in God. Switching to a day schedule right now is a step in the direction of heeding a call to work with children, families and special needs. I pray that even though I'm not always there and my house is messy and sometimes dinner is what I threw into the microwave and we don't make homemade crafts much and maybe we watch a little too much TV, that my children feel how enormous my love for them is. When they question that, I pray that God "makes up the difference." I'm letting go of the guilt today.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

"...we just hope it's healthy!"

Last night I came across this show called "I'm Having Their Baby" about girls who are giving their babies up for adoption. It was basically a cryfest. I think because motherhood and caregiving is my true calling and a huge part of my identity in this life, it just tears my heart out imagining having to make the choice to give your child to someone else.

Anyways, as I'm watching, something one of the adoptive families said really struck me. One of the mothers had a history of addiction to painkillers, and the adoptive parents said they hadn't really wanted to commit until they followed her pregnancy, saw sonograms and were sure the baby was unaffected. I get it. I know many adoptive parents have already been through the heartbreak of infertility, miscarriage, infant loss, stillbirth, you name it. I really do get it, but it bothered me. So, if the baby wasn't "perfect" they didn't want it...

When parents are asked during pregnancy if they want a boy or girl, oftentimes the reply is "Oh it doesn't matter. We just want a healthy baby!" I know this is just something people say and that no one wishes for an "unhealthy" child, but what happens if the child is born less than perfectly healthy? You adapt. I didn't choose this life. Without having lived it and having the honor of being McLaine's mom, I can't say what I would or wouldn't have chosen. I'm no more special or strong than any other parent who loves their children fiercely. I think that's a common misconception-that all mothers of special needs children are somehow different or more than other mothers. While my everyday is a little different and, sure, maybe more difficult in a lot of ways, it doesn't make me more of a mom. Don't tell me you couldn't do this because if you love your child you totally could! If, God forbid, your child had an accident and ended up with special needs, you wouldn't just walk away saying "I can't do this!" Nope, you'd adapt because you love your child. My pastor has said before that "God doesn't call the qualified, he qualifies the called." By all accounts, I was not "qualified" to be a special needs parent. I was not in a really stable place in life, but I was given this child and I rose to the occasion. Another popular sentiment is "God gives special children to special mothers." This is not always true either. Some mothers to special children choose to terminate, some choose adoption and then there are the sad cases of special children growing up in homes where they are not well cared for.  I firmly believe that God has a plan for us all, but the special baby, unfortunately, doesn't always get the special mother, and the special mother isn't always the one who carried and birthed the child.

I suppose I just want to remove the stigma for people. I want people to know that while it's sometimes a hard life, more often it's a good and rewarding life! I want parents facing this life to know that you can do this and you will be happy. I want adoptive parents to not desire only the "perfect" child and maybe consider giving a home to a child with special needs (though I do not judge any who have prayed and know that is not the path for them in their adoption). Overall, I just want people to get how amazing these kids are and how they change your life for the better. I'm definitely one lucky, if not special, mom.