Friday, June 24, 2016

The Second Phase of Mama Guilt

The fast pace of life steals my attention. Sometimes, I sit and look at my growing son and try to remember him as a young toddler. Believe me, often, it's easy to at least recall his toddler behaviors. I wonder if teenage years are just a second round of the "terrible twos"--but on a grander scale, a more critical scale, a more delicate one?

Like, I remember holding his pudgy two year old hand and walking to a parade and feeling the excitement and joy in the first of it, and patting myself on the back knowing I was carving out this rich childhood memory bank from the very beginning.

And then, I sit here, in a deep pit of defeat, the arguments echoing off the walls and in my heart and my growing man-boy icing himself in, in his own frustration, and that long ago childhood seems so futile, and distant, nothing that will do anything but bring me remorse.

I remember the first time I spoke harshly to my firstborn. It was probably not long after that parade memory. I can't even recall what had happened but I snapped at him and said "no" loudly. His chocolate eyes grew wide, he paused, and he frantically ran to my arms and hugged me. The fear, the surprise, the worry of losing my love?

Back then, there was mommy guilt, for sure. Guilt during the sleep training, diaper rash mania, accidental sunburns, and lack of consistency with timeouts. But, now, we've entered this whole new phase of mama guilt. And it's swelling and suffocating my heart. The snapping moments are mounting and his desperate reaction for my acceptance diminished somewhere down the path behind us.

Mothering now, brings a deep agony. One that twists with a gruesome grip. Perhaps, I am a better mother to four years old and under? Because this mothering a teen is nothing more than a trudge through a swamp of hypocrisy. Everything I said I wouldn't be as a mother seems to escape me like a monster turning me inside out.

Everything I said I wouldn't be as a mother, somehow, has become me.

I opened the flood gates to my impatience and short temper, and he's become callous to it--he's found
his defenses and I am left with the aftermath no mother wants.

Wounds and scars of ugly words and wild emotions sour all the sweet memories.

Life is messy. It's not what I thought it would be. It's not what I prayed it would be.

The moment I held my son-who-made-me-a-mother-for-the-very-first time without another soul in the room, I looked at his precious face and praised God, and promised I would guide him wisely in this world.

That is still my heart. But I am not achieving it well. There is some broken line, some miscommunication between my head, my heart, and my mouth. And we're just going down the dark and windy path, instead of the sunlit mountain top trail I envisioned.

One day, I hope that he'll reach for my hand and call a truce on all this garbage we sling at each other... I know I've tried to make that first move plenty of times...but I am a hypocrite. And I bypass the high road.

If only's and should'ves just bog me down and I can hardly imagine a time when we were at peace and I was his world and he was mine. What's on the other side of this second phase I wonder...and often dread. Because, I am not sure we are going to walk on that mountain top any time soon, and I am afraid I might lose him along the way.

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