I’m so excited! Excited and surprised! This is my first writing challenge entry on the Faith Writers website in 2.5 years. I had hoped to amass enough samples that I could use them as part of a writing resume. Earning a ribbon wasn’t my goal. . . . .
But it sure feels good! I had hoped to place, as that would look even better on a resume, but 1st Place? Wow!
In case anyone would like to read the actual article, I’ve posted it below:
MOTHER OF THE YEAR
I will never be awarded Mother of the Year. In fact, I’m positive I wouldn’t even get Mother of the Hour. Most days, the best I could hope for is Mother who Made It Through the Day Without Losing Her Mind.
When I envisioned becoming a mother, I never anticipated how hard, dirty, and heartbreaking it would be. My husband and I shared four years of marriage before we started talking about children. At the time all I could think about was how wonderful it would be to have this little blank slate that I could introduce to the world, molding and shaping and nurturing it, allowing it to grow into the person God created it to be.
Then I had kids.
The reality of raising children is the antonym of my visions. Kids are not born blank slates. God fills them up with their own personalities. They’ve got their quirks, their own likes and dislikes, and their own style of communicating.
Forget the flowery images of introducing the world to an eager, attentive little creature who hangs on my every word. Instead, I feel as though I’ve been given barbarians that I have to tame before it’s time to release them into the world.
I love my kids. I’ve got two of the most intelligent, beautiful, creative, and humorous daughters God ever made. I’ve also got two of the most stubborn, illogical, and unreasonable humans on the planet. There are days I step back, attempting to check my anger or tears (or both), and wonder why I ever thought I could do this.
There are moments I look at my kids and feel utterly unqualified to be their mother. I don’t understand who they are or who God expects me to be for them. I feel as if I’ve been handed a project that I don’t possess the tools to complete.
There are many nights that I go to bed with one simple prayer: Please Lord, may they know how much I love them. Don’t let my inadequacies screw them up.
I’ve accepted that I am the disciplinarian. I’ve been reassured that to be a parent, I can’t always be a friend. I know that sometimes I will be disliked for making rules and decisions that they don’t understand. Those things I can handle. Those things I embrace.
What breaks my heart are the moments when I lose my temper or blow things out of proportion, hurting feelings and bruising souls, when patience or a kind word would have worked better. It’s the days that I’m stressed out by other things and I lash out at my kids that I know I’ve dropped the ball.
I can’t take those moments or those feelings or those words back. I can’t undo the damage to their little hearts or change a message I never meant to convey.
I’m okay with never being Mom of the Year. Some women are born with a gift for parenting and motherhood. I was not. It doesn’t come naturally to me. I’ve got to dig deep to find the woman willing to serve and sacrifice for the sake of her kids.
However, there are times when the only award I deserve is Worst Mom of a Lifetime. I will never be okay with that.
That’s why I’m grateful for each new day God gives me. Every morning is my chance for a fresh start. It’s my chance to kiss my daughters’ faces, hug them so tight it hurts, and try again. Even better, and more gratifying, is their willingness to give me a fresh start. They don’t hold grudges. They eagerly accept those kisses and hugs, ready to try again just as much as me.
That’s all the reward I need.