The following is another post from a series on stories from people in all walks of life and their observations of children and what they make us. Click here for more on the series and a list of the contributors. This post was written by a wonderful blogger and writer, incredibly talented singer and courageous pastor, Melissa Greene.
Am I a good mom?
I can feel those words roll over my tongue and I quickly swallow the idea back down with a little taste of shame and fear in the answer. It’s a thought that swirls around in my mind over and over on some days and then hides away for a while. What is a good mom? has become an even more appropriate question for me to dwell on. Or even better yet what is a good parent? A good parent loves well but is that the only answer? If so what does that look like and does it have exact parameters in which one has to fit in to? Because I often feel that I am spilling over and out of that box. Oh. Sometimes it just feels good to sigh and to watch, to pay attention to what is right in front of me.
Today what is right in front of me is my girl. My 5 – very soon to be 6 – year old. I am helping her make invitations for the neighborhood kids to come to her birthday dinner. Because this is not the big birthday party for her long time friends at the skating rink later in the week and because these are fairly new friends (we are new to the neighborhood.) So I write an asterisk at the bottom of the invite that she quickly tries to read. “No pre… No pra… What does that say Mama?” “No presents needed” – she smiles because she gets it but she quickly adds “But cawds needed. They can still bring me cawds.” Yes baby they can still bring you cards. Oh. This girl is sometimes too much. This is the same girl that just finished arguing with me because she didn’t want to wear the outfit I picked out for her. “Why do I have to be so stylish mama? Why do you always want me to match?” – This is our consistent fight of the day, among many others, when I am home. Ben, her daddy, says I can easily solve that by letting her wear whatever she wants. Agreed, but I would like to teach her how to match and how to express herself with her clothes. It’s something I’ve always loved and I want to pass it on to her. Oh sigh. Yet this is a good day. But others are hard. I work full time at a church which has flexible but long and inconsistent hours. Mama is a pastor and also, on the side, travels to sing and speak in prisons as well. I love what I do. It is an honor and a privilege. But my crazy schedule urges me to ask myself that question, “Am I a good mom?” She, the girl, she reminds me that I am.
Then there is also my boy. He’s turning 9 this summer. He doesn’t like to give kisses. It’s an interesting thing. He hasn’t done so since he was 3. But he will let me kiss him on the cheek, or head, or neck… anywhere but his cute little lips. He still wants my affection although he remains a little guarded. He’s been very much a daddy’s boy as of late. I’ve wondered if it’s due to my extremely busy schedule this year. Is it because Daddy has been the one to take him to school and help with homework? I’ve asked that nagging question – “Am I a good mom?” Then I got his Mother’s day card, the one from school where it’s fill in the blank and they answer themselves. Yes, he joked that I don’t clean very well and wrote that I am a good cook *when* I cook. Ha. But then when it asked what does she do best? He wrote – comfort me. She’s the one who comforts me whenever I am hurt or sad. She is the one I want to be with. Oh sigh. And then I melted. When I put myself back together I answered my own question with yes, yes I am a good mom. My parenting may look different than yours. It may seem unique. But my kids are unique and their needs are unique.
And so are yours.
And so are you.
So when the questions come, laugh at the answers or cry but know at the end of the day you are probably doing the best you can and that, my friends, is more than enough for your kids. At least for now, for me. It doesn’t mean I don’t strive to be better but it does mean I let myself off that hook of shame. So now I’ll go back to comforting and teaching, to kissing necks and dressing kids and most of all to deeply loving them both.
Melissa Greene is a pastor at GracePointe Church (www.gracepointe.net) where she leads under the direction of the Senior Pastor Stan Mitchell. She has been on full time staff for the past 6 years where she weekly leads music, curates the services, and now preaches once a month. Melissa also serves as the Hope Curator for the prison outreach, Timothy’s Gift. www.timothysgift.com In her earlier life, for almost 7 years, she was a member of the Grammy nominated and American Music Award winning Christian group, Avalon. Melissa is Mama to two children, Hutch and Haven, and journeys in life along side one wonderful man, Ben.