It’s summer vacation. Which means bike rides and beaches, popsicles and picnics, library trips and lounging in PJs. And kids in your space all the time.
As a mom your patience has to grow quicker than you can pack on the pounds at an all-you-can-eat buffet.
Either that, or you turn into the summer version of the Grinch.
Seems to me, I’ve chosen option two. In just two weeks of summer vacation, I’ve been that mom. You know, the kind of mom I knew for a fact I would never be.
I’ve been the mom who opened the fridge door at 6 p.m. and realized she had no clue what was for dinner.
I’ve been the mom who forgot the laundry and told her little person that it’s an undie-free day.
I’ve been the mom who promised to bake brownies with the kids “tomorrow,” which eventually turned into “later” (which we all know is mom-speak for “in the next two years.”).
I’ve been the mom who tore down the bedsheet fort because she was tired of the mess.
I’ve been the mom who clamped down on the sleepover because she couldn’t hear herself think.
I’ve been the mom who meant to sit her child down and discipline him in a quiet yet firm manner. But, instead, lost the plot and said things that spilt out of a tired and angry heart. I’ve been that mom who saw her 8-year-old’s eyes well up with tears because her words stung his little heart.
But, I also know I’m not always that mom. My mistakes don’t define my parenthood.
It’s what I do with those mistakes that matter.
Yes, I will get things wrong.
I will yell when I mean to reason.
I will forget when I mean to keep my word.
I will ignore when I mean to invest.
But, like Ann Voskamp quotes her mother saying, “It’s not like you aren’t going to get things wrong – it’s what you do with the afterward.”
Afterward, I hope to get on my knees and pray for wisdom. Afterward, I’ll tell my littles that mama is sorry for what she said.
Afterward, I’ll read to them and listen to their imaginations fired up with stories of fire-breathing dragons and robots who destroy cities.
After disciplining them at bedtime, I’ll wake up at 2 a.m. to check who was coughing and whether they’re too cold or too sweaty under their Star Wars comforter.
Afterward, I will bake brownies and build forts and paint Irises inspired by Van Gogh, no less. Afterward, our little band Impressionist artists will eat waffles and I’ll wipe down the table, sticky with syrup.
Afterward, I’ll comb her hair free of tangles and tell her she’s brave and smart. I will brush his little mohawk and embarrass him with a, “Such a handsome young man!”
Afterward, I show them that mama is not always brave or invincible – or even right. She makes mistakes too. And when she does, she takes them to God, who knows and sees and forgives and gives her grace for tomorrow.
Afterward, I will pour into their lives. Not because I have to. But because this is my calling, and they are my heart.
No, I will probably never stop being that mom. But there is an afterward.