I am about to confess something that mothers are never supposed to admit: I don’t always like my kids. To be even more blunt, I am tired of women guilt-tripping each other into plastering on a fake smile and lying about how perfect their relationship is with Junior. It is simply untrue. There is no perfect relationship whether it be with your spouse, your children, your neighbors or your hairdresser.
I find it tremendously frustrating that we offer up disapproving sideways glances toward the women who are honest enough to say that they have days, sometimes weeks, occasionally months, where they do not adore their offspring. Let’s face it: kids are not always a bundle of joy. They argue, rebel, interrupt, make huge messes, are unreasonably demanding, and frequently epitomize ingratitude.
Worse yet are those who are constantly telling me to “embrace” this season. Yes, I understand that potty training doesn’t last forever, but I am not wrong for wishing it wasn’t so labored nor that I happily anticipate the day when I’m not needed in that capacity. I know that puberty passes and they will be grown and gone before long, but that doesn’t change the fact that eyes being rolled at me makes my blood boil. I recognize that older generations can become a little nostalgic and chastise me for being annoyed with the constant stream of dishes, cooking, laundry, repeat. But telling me that I am going to miss this someday does not help me deal with it today.
I suppose I don’t understand the value in telling a mother acquiescence is key as if these times should never, ever ruffle her feathers. It is seriously damaging to refuse to acknowledge negative emotions. Whether it is intended or not, the message that is being sent in telling a mom to “embrace” whatever challenging time she is going through is that she should just suck it up with a smile because that is what a good mother does.
No! A good mother can assess her own emotions and recognize that suffering in silence is the worst thing she can do for herself and her family. Allowing the trite rhetoric to bully us into silence only perpetuates the problem. Now I not only feel guilt for those times when I don’t like my kids, but I am also shamed for admitting it.
Enough. Don’t be afraid to say that you are struggling. Don’t be afraid to ask for a break. And definitely don’t be afraid to be honest with yourself. It is only then that you can begin facing these feelings, seeking out their root, and start repairing areas where dislike seeps in. Embrace that. Because, while unconditional love should be ever-present, you don’t always have to like your kids.
On a final note, there are many passages in Scripture that discuss controlling one’s emotions. Please don’t confuse those verses with denying the existence of those emotions. Denial does not equal control.
Abide in His Grace,