Monday, October 03, 2011

I Love My Daughters

It might seem obvious that I love my daughters. That's what moms are supposed to do. But it doesn't mean that I've always "loved" them.


There was a time, about a year ago, where I was really just phoning in my mothering duties. I did what I needed to do to make each day work. We had good times and did fun things, but my heart just wasn't into it. It's kind of difficult to explain.

The honeymoon period of being a mother was over. Mary was 1 and Charlotte was 3. The daily tasks of raising them exhausted me. I don't think this was post-partum depression but I'm sure it was related to my general depression over the years.


Maybe it was their daily behavior and the natural stretching of mental muscle as they explored the boundaries in our house. Or possibly the weariness that comes from spending the previous 12 months in speech and physical therapy with Mary.

There was absolutely nothing unlikable about my girls at all. They were, and still are, delightful creatures giving us many opportunities to laugh and enjoy their discovery of new things.

Then, one day, at the beginning of this year, I realized that things had changed for me. And I felt madly in love with my children. It made me want to smell them all the time. And snuggle with them every chance I could get. I felt as if I would do anything to make them happy. I remember mentioning this to a friend and knowing that I wanted to blog that feeling. Because I knew it would be fleeting.


And I was right. I've only been a mom for 4 years now, but I've figured out that the moments of "being in love" with my kids are fleeting. Just like it is with our husbands. Or best friends. That level of "love" isn't sustainable over the course of any relationship. It isn't that I am manic in my emotions towards my daughters. That's not the impression I want to leave with you. It's just that I've realized that loving my girls isn't about choosing between phoning it in or being thrilled to see them everyday.

There's a balance to it all. After a while, I settled into a more balanced view of what my days should look like.


Ultimately though, what I need to do, because I have been so loved by my heavenly Father, even through my disobedience and indecision, is love my kids the way that I've been loved. I choose to cherish the moments that are great and I pray through the moments that aren't so great. And hope that in the end, all they remember are the good times. 

And someone please tell me that I'm not the only mom who sometimes, maybe, even for just a moment, doesn't really like her kids!

Photo Credit: Bruce Sabin

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for your honesty. Today, I do not love my kids. They are driving me up the wall with their disobedience, whining and meanness towards one another. You aren't the only one!

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  2. @Karissa - I've experienced a lot of days like that. Days where I lock myself in the bathroom just to secure 5 minutes of peace & quiet, several times a day. Aside from prayer, I've found that early bedtimes and long baths for them help me cope a little bit better. Oh, and knowing that Daddy will be home soon too!

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  3. Jennifer, you are not alone. There are days when I wonder why the Lord gave me these kids. Days when I internally can't find one thing that I can stand about my son from his constant "boy noises" to the fact that if I hear the name of one more Star Wars character it makes sense why some mothers actually eat their young. Then, at other times, I just sit and look at them and I feel so proud of them and their accomplishments that I could burst with love. Thank you for being transparent!

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