Who I’m Not

A little over two weeks ago, I became a mother of three.

I feel like hyperventilating just by reading that sentence I just typed.

Not only did I become a mother of three, but because our third came by way of adoption, I’m all of a sudden a mother of 5-, 3-, and 2-year-olds. Instead of having two kids and a baby, I definitely have three kids. Three little kids.

Since my teenage years, I’ve wanted to have a big family. It was one of my sandcastles – to have a big family of my own. My husband and I don’t know yet how “big” our family will end up being. Currently though, this feels pretty big.

Here’s the kicker though – I’m not a kid person. I mean, not at all. I don’t have that natural gift of relating to and having fun with kids.

I didn’t spend a lot of time with kids growing up. I spent time with my grandparents, my parents and their friends, and my cousins who were three and six years older. I never liked being around little kids. I never babysat.

This week, I found myself having a lot of doubts. What was I thinking? Maria, you KNOW you’re not good at this. You’re an introvert, and you’re not FUN with kids like your husband or CREATIVE with kids like your other mommy/teacher friends. How did you think you were going to enjoy this?

I know that some of these doubts are coming from lack of sleep (jetlag) and difficulties of adjusting to my new life. Change has never been easy for me. I’m your typical “I want things to stay the same and comfortable” kind of gal. I found out this week that you get the “baby blues” even when a new child comes through adoption.

I also know, that part of the problem is (once again) my perfectionist tendencies. I want to be that mom who loves being around children and who loves to play with them. I also want to be that mom who keeps her house in order and has well-behaved children.

I know what you all want to say: “Good luck!” “Don’t we all.” “Stop trying to be perfect.” Before you send me all those messages on how high my expectations are and how I shouldn’t feel this way, let me remind you that this is just my natural tendency. It doesn’t mean this is how I want to feel or that I’m striving to be perfect. Remember, my blog is all about “how a perfectionist like me navigates through her imperfect life; how she learns to let go of her ideals and embrace the God-given purpose instead.”

So I’m currently in the process of smashing another sandcastle.

This intro post of a popular blogger really helped me to find more freedom from my perfectionism.

“I am really disorganized, I don’t make my bed, and I yell at my kids too much. I don’t garden, sew, craft, or read – so you’ll rarely find anything about those topics here. I don’t do so many things, so when you read my stories, look at my photos, and bookmark my recipes, I hope you see a girl who shares what she does well, but is hopelessly flawed in many other ways.”

It was a good reminder to me that it’s OK to admit the things I’m not. I’m not a kid person. Meaning…rarely you will find me rolling around on the floor or getting dirty with my kids. It doesn’t mean I won’t ever do it. It just means that’s really not a natural part of who I am. But I do like to read to them. I like to take pictures of them. I like to journal and keep up with their physical, emotional, cognitive, and spiritual developments. I like to write down the prayers I pray for them. I like to capture sweet memories and preserve them in creative forms.

I don’t like to do children’s crafts (I only like to do my own crafty projects). But I praise their work like crazy whenever they make something on their own or with someone else. I love to give them encouragement and affirmation. I also give a lot of instruction and correction. I’m not good at joining in on their pretend plays, but I constantly have my eyes and ears open so that I can steer them to speak to one another with kind words, always. I’m not good at making up songs for them, but I love listening to and singing worship songs with them in the car, no matter how tone-deaf we are. They also love it when I sing “You are My Sunshine” to them.

Even if I’m not always the “fun” parent, I’m confident that my girls know how much I love and adore them.

I also know…that I may not be “in my zone” during this season, but a time is coming. I’m very much relationship-oriented, and as the girls get older I know I will enjoy talking for hours on end with them about the things that matter…you know, like boys and such πŸ™‚ As a matter of fact, it was when I spent time with another family during their children’s teenage years that first gave me the desire to have a big family of my own.

I know that it’s not about perfection. I know that it’s about balance and growth. Most importantly, it’s about relying on my God who knows the end from the beginning. He has chosen ME, out of all the women He could have chosen, to be the mother to my three girls. He loves my girls more than I ever could, and He believed I was the best choice for them. So I must be enough. With His help and guidance, I’m more than enough.

I don’t know if I will ever be the “fun” parent, but I’m learning to “have fun” with my girls more. I’m learning to take it one day at a time. I’m well aware of things I need to improve on. I’m learning to be more aware of things I excel in. I’m learning to invest in things I’m naturally good at and enjoy.

I’m learning to admit who I’m not – and appreciate who God made me and who He’s helping me to become.

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3 Responses to Who I’m Not

  1. Maria, I know how you feel. I feel like I yell to much and don’t play enough like other mothers do. But I know God will help no matter what to raise them the way he wants them to be.

  2. When I read your posts I usually smile and am filled with a strong sense of love and awe. Of course, sometimes I laugh out loud.
    I think you are doing very well finding your way through this life that is very different then you imagined. And you don’t lose yourself in doing it. T

  3. I can totally relate! This describes my mothering style too! I do feel guilty sometimes, but we need to rely on our strengths as God works on our weaknesses. I have found since adding the 3rd child-i have had to relax on a lot of things. i still struggle with perfectionism-I’m guessing I always will, but I certainly am more laid back than I used to be! I do find though that when I am particularly stressed out-the perfectionistic tendancies rear their ugly little heads the most! Daddy is certainly the “fun” one at our house but i think we balance each other out. i’m the planner and I plan all the fun stuff and then Daddy brings the party πŸ™‚ i figure as long as i keep loving the kids with all ive got-they will be just fine πŸ™‚

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