Real Life Mama: The highs and lows of being a mom

This whole motherhood thing is such a roller coaster. There is literally nothing else in my life that has ever brought me such high highs and such low lows. Seriously, it feels like every single time I think I may actually be crushing it as a Mama, something completely unexpected happens and brings me to my knees.

Thankfully, from my knees, it is the perfect posture to pray – another thing I have never done as much as I have as a mother. There are times when I cannot thank God enough for blessing me with all of these amazing babies – I am overjoyed and so proud to have a part in all of their lives. And there are other times when I question what God was thinking giving me all of these kids to help raise.

Seriously, in one day – heck sometimes in a matter of minutes – I can feel so many emotions and opinions about my own parenting. Like I can watch one child do something so kindhearted and sweet and just smile knowing I taught them that – and then the next second watch that same kid do something mind-blowingly dumb and question where they learned that because, certainly, it was NOT from me. Was it?

I am the worst at those moments where my child makes a bad decision – like I take that to heart completely. What am I doing wrong? Why am I not a better parent? What do I need to do differently? It’s like every single mistake my kids ever make I think are a direct reflection of my parenting.

Let me take a step back, like I know that I am one of their biggest influencers in life right now so it naturally makes sense that if they mess up, it is because I suck at being a Mom. I know – pretty extreme huh? But that is where my brain takes me sometimes!

Like, I want to fix everything for them – I am doing my all to create the best life possible for them and keep them on this track of straight and narrow pointed to Jesus. I don’t want them to make any of the mistakes that I made. I don’t want them to learn things the hard way like I did. I just want them to know all that I know so that they can be the amazing little beings that I know that they are.

Sometimes I get so pulled into trying to make them more like me in some respects and completely not like me in others, that I forget that they are THEM. And while I could have done without some of the lessons and growth of my mistakes, all of them made me who I am today – which is still a work in progress but definitely better than the person I was yesterday.

As a mom, I truly just want my babies to be better than me – and I know I learned that honestly from my mom. She would give the world for us girls to have more opportunities than she had. And I think I finally understand how the depths of my mistakes made her feel – questioning who she was as a parent. But, that’s the thing – I didn’t mess up because she was my mom, I messed up because I am me. And while that feels like an easy concept to grasp as a daughter, whew, it is so much harder to grasp as a mother.

That separation is hard to find – where I let go and let them learn from their mistakes without searching for the faults within myself that may have caused them to act one way or another. And it is funny how so many times I look past any amazing thing that they do that they may have learned from me, yet I am quick to blame every little mishap on myself – how I should have been able to parent better to prevent it.

I have to remind myself that my babies are impressionable – and they have learned so much from me – good and bad – but at the end of the day, they are them. I have to let go and let God continue to guide them. Every decision that they make is another step in THEIR journey of life – not what I want their life to be. Sometimes that is specific and small and sometimes that is bold and big.

While I cannot control every aspect of their life – and feel like I am losing more and more control as they grow older – I can support them in the lows and celebrate with them in the highs. And one day I hope they truly know – like can actually feel – that, even though I have certainly made mistakes as their mother, I have cheered for them, prayed for them and loved them more than anything throughout every single moment along the way.

Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her daughters and writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.