The Would-have’s, Could-have’s, Should-have’s of Motherhood

By: Ms. O

bouquet of daisy flowers in a bucket in white background

If you have lived longer than say….ten years…there are times in your life that you have the dreaded…..would’ve….could’ve…should’ve’s. It is our nature. We look back and see the glaring mistakes…the missed opportunities…those times that we…well…would have…should have…or could have…done it better.

Personally…the situation that I use that trio the most…where life throws me a curve ball….is in my role as…mother. It is painful at times to look back…and see the trial and error that I used on a daily basis…with my kids taking the brunt of the “error” more times than I think they desired.

I was a young mom…totally unprepared for what was expected of me. I know no one is really ready for the role of mother…but when I think back at being 21 and 24 I wonder what in the world I was thinking…perhaps I was not thinking…at all….past that desire to be…a mom.

Linda's collage

I would have not been so impatient with the stages of baby to infant to toddler to child to teenage-dom….and beyond. It seems I was rushing to get to the next step…crawling…walking…out of diapers and before I knew it…out of my house. If only I would have seen that time is elusive enough on its own and impossible to hold on to. It is not a contest of who finishes first…it will happen all on its own…way….too…soon.

I wish I could have taken more time to LOOK at my kids while they were growing up. To take notice of what was happening right before my eyes. I am not saying I turned a blind eye…or ignored them…but I know I missed some passing times. I did not realize that there would be a last time that they would crawl into my bed looking for comfort. Looking back I can’t remember the last time they called out in the middle of the night for me. The last time they reached for my hand…asked me to read them a story…go to the park…push them on a swing…..tie their shoes…help with their homework…okay the last one was probably for the best…I was never that good at that. I know that one day I was their everything…and then I was part-time…. their “home life”…which was shortened compared to time spent at school…activities…friends.

I should have not expected so much of them. My own feelings of inadequacy caused me to push. I had such fear of them “not making it” that I probably put undo pressure on them. I wanted them to make good grades…get into college…go further than I did myself. I did not want them fearful of being bold…making new friends…trying new things. I did not want them to settle…for less…or worse than that…mediocrity. My genuine fear now is… did that make them feel that I was not satisfied with who they were. Truth be told, it is quite the opposite. I think that as my children grew up, I lived in a constant state of awe that I knew that there was nothing they could not pursue…and conquer.

As my daughter in law…a daughter who was grafted into this family and has blessed us so much…expects her first child…my first grandchild…I want to tell her all these things…..so she won’t make the same mistakes I did. Explain that lessons I learned…save her from the would’ve…could’ve…should’ve’s…but the truth remains. God makes good on every situation…and I am the biggest testimony to that spiritual truth. This is all part of the journey.

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”  Romans 8:28

Linda family

If I had to wait until I was perfect…..prepared….thoroughly ready to be a mom…before I became a mom…I may still be waiting…and I would be giving Sarah a run for her money. When I read that scripture, I come to understand that God does not expect me to have it all together…what He requires is my desire to love Him…FULLY…and He will work through my shortcomings.

Because I was less than stellar at times…more if you ask my children…my kids learned about God’s grace…how He takes our “less” and makes it His more. There were many times I felt the pull on my heart…when it wasn’t too late…I did not miss the moments…and I treasure them. I have never hidden from my children that I am flawed…by not fatally so…more like grace filled moments of growth.

So if I could pass along any advice to my kids…it would be this. Perfection for humans is an illusion…one you will never attain. There are perfect moments…but they pass by quickly. What is truly amazing is when God takes my imperfections…and shows me what He can do…that is when perfection…His…is made known. I have made plenty of mistakes…and have more than my fair share of would’ve, could’ve, should’ve’s…but because of that,  I am ever aware of my need for God. He has an uncanny way of revealing to me…through my kids…what He can do.  Life is a strange mix…not always easy…but I can honestly say…being a mom has truly taught me about my Father.

Amen.