Many moms confess to the feeling “I hate my kids.” It seems like something shameful to admit to this love/hate relationship we moms often have with our children. But, we’re breaking that today. It is so very normal and common, and not at all helpful to condemn and judge.
I don’t really know what I thought about when it came to being a mom. I just kind of assumed I would always be one. I was never that girl who had visions of some enormous wedding with lots of flowers and bridesmaids, or a catered service…I got married in white pants, without family, at a Memorial on Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on my three off days in between work.
The only reason we even have video and pictures is because some friends were better prepared than us and brought a camera. We were gifted a night at a local hotel in Waikiki for our honeymoon. We have yet to have another.
Why I Love and Hate My Kids, and Wouldn’t Change a Thing
I surely never had a number of children in my head. Not two. Not five. Not nine. Not any particular number, but simply the expectation that there would be some.
There are things that I do not have an attachment to. I don’t gush over birthdays, neither my own nor others (though I am working on that for my kiddos). I don’t expect presents on certain days of the year that have been proclaimed gift days. I’m weird this way.
But, then there are the ridiculous things that matter oh so much to me! Like having the things in my home put in their proper places and keeping things tidy (not clean…that’s a whole new level of neuroticism). Or, trying to keep expenses as low as humanly possible like a monthly challenge to beat a previous record.
See, this is where my kids come in.
This is where the Lord saw fit to awaken me to my foolishness and bring the imbalanced portions of myself into balance.
My kids…all 7 of them…test every single part of my limits, boundaries, expectations, beliefs, purposes, etc. every day, every year, more and more as they age. They draw on the walls (or have once or twice), they bring in mud (or dirt, or sand), they need all the time, and have endless questions and inquiries and requests and suggestions.
And, now that our oldest ones have entered into the ‘tweens (oh gracious me) there’s also hormones and boys and feelings and sensitivities, and every other possible human behavior known to man.
But, this is where God knows me so well.
He knew that I needed these little people to be my mirror. Yet, God’s mirrors aren’t quite what we expect. His mirrors do not simply reflect the external nature of the flesh, but the internal manifestations of the heart.
I am brought face-to-face with my lack of patience in the morning when I hear it spit out of my daughter’s mouth hours later. I see my fleshly, sharp, commanding tongue when I hear my son order his brother while playing.
My mirror has some rusty peeling behind the glass.
And, so, I hate my children in my flesh because they embody all I hate about myself. They catch onto my sinful nature like a spider’s web catches its prey, and I am brought to my knees not only for my own deliverance but also for theirs.
Father, forgive them…for they know not what they do.”
They make me see what God must see when I stubbornly choose to disobey His guidance.
They make me see what amazing grace looks like when they forgive one another as they watch me forgive them. They make this whole Gospel thing more than just a sunny concept and give it teeth and blood. They reveal the most intense parts of this most Grand Love Story we are all living out.
I hate my children because they have the ability to drive me to my knees in search of my Savior.
But, I love my children because they make me recognize my need to search for my Savior.
I love them. I love them so amazingly much. I love them so much that it hurts to breathe sometimes. I love them because of who they make me become.
I love them because they are the impetus to my change and the foundation of my motivation. They drive home the root of purpose and importance, and they steal my heart by loving even my broken flesh.
They need me, and so I am forever changed to become the mother they need and deserve. They love me so I want to become better for and with them. They are people who I can’t wait to know forever and meet year by year as they grow and mature.
They are unique and special, amazing, and creative, and loud, and noisy, and wonderful; day-by-day, year-by-year.
They are me, but I am changed by them.
They are tough, but I am made strong with them.
They are challenging, but I can rise to the challenge.
The Lord knows just how to remove my scales, soften my flesh, and bring me closer to Him… I need enough to realize how I can’t do any of this without His constant ever-presence but blessed so much that my cup overflows.
I cannot imagine ever growing as much as I have as a mom. There is nothing I can fathom that can replicate it. But, there is nothing that even shines a candle in comparison to the rewards and blessings that it brings along with its dark trials.
So, yes, in my flesh I can hate my children, for they reveal to me the worst parts of myself, but in my spirit, they bring me the greatest blessings I could ever imagine: the special identity of being a parent, which connects me to my Heavenly Abba like nothing else ever can.
He is my Abba and I am His. I am their mother, and they are mine.
There is no greater blessing in the world.