A couple weeks ago the perfect storm hit our household. It is the hardest when your kids are sick. Sickness in our household means triple everything… the snot, the fevers, the tantrums. However, not only did this storm include our sick triplets, but my husband and I were also sick, along with my parents, with whom we live with. In the midst of all the snotty noses and fevers, I also somehow managed to dislocate a disk in my back. This made feeling sick look laughable. I have never had a back injury before and this was incredibly painful, especially while trying to provide the love and nurturing care my babies needed. It indeed was the perfect equation for the perfect storm.
The storm that I was in quickly brought me back to the heart wrenching and painful season where I faced and dealt with postpartum anxiety and depression after the birth of my babies. I could feel myself becoming incredibly overwhelmed by my kids so easily. I was short tempered, exhausted, and running thin on energy and physicality. I could not lift them or bend forward. Not to mention, the nasty cold that seemed to raid our entire household was lingering, if not getting worse, for everyone. I had to find friends and family to help me in my home because my inability to lift prevented me from being able to provide the care my babies needed and required. However, it wasn’t just me who was run down and running on empty fumes and snot, but the triplets were, as well. They were whiny, cranky, misbehaved, and just not having it either. We were all spent.
One morning I had just given my son, Sawyer, his nebulizer treatment. He fought his way through it and it was hard on my body trying to hold him still without putting too much pressure or movement on my back. It was frustrating for us both and only built more anxiety in me. We finally completed his treatment and I needed to change Jax’ diaper. He hates getting his diaper changed. He kicked like a strong karate kid several times and even got me in my stomach once. That was when I lost it. The weight of the week came out of me like a ticking time bomb.
“I am just trying to change your diaper!!!” I yelled. I screamed really.
At this point I was crying. Jax was too. Guilt succumbed me. I looked up and Sawyer was staring directly into my eyes. I was immediately ashamed of how I responded. How could I be so angry over this? How could I respond with my own frustrations by screaming at my child–over a diaper change nonetheless? What did Sawyer see when his deep blue eyes just stared into mine? Did he see what I saw? Did he see all my imperfections as a Mother? Did he love me any less? Did he see the failure that I am?
Within in seconds, I was crying… the ugly kind with snot all over my face and tears that uncontrollably rolled down my cheeks. It was in that moment where God revealed His grace to me as my son Sawyer leaned in to give me a hug me. Instantly I pulled all three of my kids as close to my body that I could. My tears were overflowing. I could not stop crying. “Please forgive Mama! I am so sorry for yelling. I love you so much. ” My heart was so ashamed and I was so disappointed in myself as a Mom.
I kept thinking about Sawyer and wondered if he saw me the way I saw myself in that moment. Did he see the anger and exhaustion? Could he tell that I was spent? run down? overwhelmed? Did he think I was failing him and his siblings as a Mom? Did he actually love me any less?
And the truth is, Yes. Sawyer saw me in my weakest most vulnerable moment. He saw something ugly in me, as his Mom. However, Sawyer responded to me in the same way Jesus responds to us. My also tired, whiny, energetic, and sick boy leaned in and hugged me. He extended grace and love towards me in one of my lowest mom moments. Through this beautiful act of love my son showed me, God gave me a glimpse of his sufficient and unmerited grace. Grace is what we desire the most when our guilt and wrong-doings are exposed. This was truly a remarkable moment to have my son showcase to me such a beautiful picture of Jesus. We always think it will be the other way around, but God uses our kids to teach us about His grace, His greatness, and His glory.
I am not proud of this moment and I know there were many other ways I could have handled the situation, but this experience caused me to really think about how I feel about myself as a Mom and how my kids really see me as their Mom. At one point I even said to my husband, “The last week has taken a tole on my heart. I feel like anything good about me as a Mom has been sucked dry.” Even though my son responded to my actions with such love and grace, I still struggled to see the beauty he saw in me. The same beauty Jesus sees in me.
However, the truth is it is always easier to find the negative and point out everything I am doing wrong and not accomplishing as a Mother. I am not patient. I don’t have confidence. I am short tempered. I am mean. I don’t use kind words all the time. I am constantly behind on laundry and cleaning. I give my kids candy with breakfast sometimes. I don’t know what I am doing. I am not worthy. I am always failing.
The beauty in our children is they don’t see us like this. We will never be perfect. and our kids may see our short-comings, but they are quick to love us when we fail them. Even in our short-tempered, ugly parenting moments our kids see us as loving, nurturing, caring, fun, strong, and playful. They see us as their heroes. If only we could have eyes like our children, especially in the moments we are not proud of, I believe it would really help us parent better and learn to walk through parenthood with grace, forgiveness, love, and imperfections. And ultimately, they see us the same way Jesus sees us. They see our flaws, but love us through them.
Sawyer didn’t see me the way I saw me. I mean, he probably was like “Woah, Mom!” But he followed my anger with a hug. That is love. That is forgiveness. I was still his hero. Within minutes the triplets were laughing and dancing and the moment was forgotten. It was a moment, though, that I will never forget. It was a moment that taught me a valuable lesson in Grace. It taught me how to be a better Mother for my children. It was a moment where God used my son to show me Jesus. It was a reminder that Jesus is the answer to my brokenness. I know I will continue to fall short as a Mother and will have more moments that I wish I could erase or handle differently. However, this powerful moment showed me how much I am loved even when I fail.