He's still workin' on me to make me what I ought to be.
It took Him just a week to make the moon and stars,
The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars.
How loving and patient He must be, He's still workin' on me.

There really ought to be a sign upon my heart,
"Don't judge her yet, there's an unfinished part."
But I'll be perfect just according to His plan
Fashioned by the Master's loving hands.

He's still workin' on me to make me what I ought to be.
It took Him just a week to make the moon and stars,
The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars.
How loving and patient He must be, He's still workin' on me.

In the mirror of His Word reflections that I see
Make me wonder why He never gave up on me.
He loves me as I am and helps me when I pray
Remember He's the Potter, I'm the clay.

He's still workin'on me to make me what I ought to be.
It took Him just a week to make the moon and stars,
The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars.
How loving and patient He must be, He's still workin' on me.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Like Mother Like Daughter

I've never had a good relationship with my mother. There's just no other way to say it. We just never got along. We never saw eye to eye. There has been lots of issues. For the sake of respecting my mother regardless of my feelings towards her, I'm not going to get into specifics. Suffice it to say that we weren't the best of friends. I found out from my father when I was about 16 years old that my mother basically had the same kind of relationship with her mother. Except it was worse for her. Again, I'm not giving details. So, I guess you could say that my mom did the best that she knew how. And it wasn't until recently that I truly began to understand that.

For obvious reasons, I really never had the best self image growing up. And even as an adult, even though it often appears that I'm quite confident, there is from time to time this inner struggle within me where I still battle that. I guess I've never felt that I "measured up." To what, I'm not sure, but it's always there, lingering in the recesses of my mind. For the past week, there has been this turmoil inside of my mind. I'm not quite sure why, but I started thinking about all of the jobs that I've had over the years since I started my first job as a paper carrier at the age of 12. When I was 16, I was a waitress, then I worked in several hair salons as an assistant until I earned my Cosmetologist license and briefly did hair at one salon which I despised, worked at Citibank for 2 years until going on to further my education and become an Esthetician, where I worked on and off (more off than on because those were the years that I got married and was having children)at the same Spa for 11 years. Which brings me to the present where I'm a stay at home mom/part time child care provider to a friend's 2 little twin girls. I started thinking about the circumstances surrounding my departure from each job and I got to thinking about what my previous employers would say about what kind of employee I was. I'm embarrassed to say that some of them would probably not have good things to say about me with the exception of my last employer. Granted, I was very young at all of the others, and I'm sure I didn't have a good work ethic. Let's face it, I was just there to earn enough money to pay my bills and be able to have some fun. But I have to tell you that this realization was a real blow to my confidence level. Add that to the fact that most days now I feel that I have in some way or another let my husband or my children down, and I've got a real problem on my hands.

Back to my mother...I kind of snapped this morning. It was 3;00 a.m., I'm going on less than 4 hours of sleep for the past 3 nights, and I'm up yet again, this time with my 2 year old son. I was tired. Exhausted. Whipped. My husband had moved to the couch and left me in our bed with Hezekiah, with the best intentions I might add. He thought he was letting me be comfortable while he took the less than comfy couch. Sounds great, right? Wrong! Hezekiah just would not go back to sleep. He tossed, turned, flipped, flopped, kicked, elbowed, kneed, and just would not be still. After about an hour of putting up with his gymnastics, I yelled at him...3 times in about 15 minutes. Nothing bad. Just "STOP IT, ZEKE! GO TO SLEEP!.....GOOOOOO TOOOOOO SLEEEEEEEEEEEP!!!!!!!!! I didn't spank him out of anger. I didn't harm him physically. I just yelled at him. So my husband came upstairs and we exchanged a few words about how I was handling the situation. Neither of us were nice to the other. That did it for me. Sleep was not to be had for the rest of the night. I was mad. Real mad. So do you know what I did? I came downstairs, flipped all of the lights on and started cleaning...scrubbing, wiping, dusting, doing dishes, whatever I could find that needed cleaned.

Somewhere in the middle of my madness, I had a flashback of my mother. She was cleaning. She always cleaned. Really the only memories I have of her are when she was cleaning. Our house could never be clean enough for her. She was always cleaning. And I always said I would never be like that. We were afraid to make a mess growing up. I never wanted my children to feel that way. Guess what? I'm like her now. I clean all of the time. And it's never enough. I could clean for several hours, all day long really and my home would still not feel clean enough for me. Having 3 little boys could have something to do with that (wink) but it's just never clean enough for me.
Then I realized something. My mother's self image was never good as a result of how she grew up, and I am in some way the same way. I'm taking liberties assuming how my mother feels, but I'm pretty sure I'm accurate. I think that she probably never felt like she did anything good enough until she found that she was good at cleaning. I feel the same way. So when I feel like I've failed as a wife, I clean. When I feel that I'm doing a bad job as a mother, I clean. When I feel like I've let my relationship with Jesus slack, I clean. I just clean. It's what I know how to do. It's what I'm good at. It's comfort. It's solace. It's a stress reliever. It's the only thing I feel I'm good at sometimes.
It's taken me 32 years to finally understand a little bit about my mother and why she was the way she was and still is, but I get it now, at least this part of her. What do I do with that understanding? I'm not sure. How do I use it to help me be a better wife and mother? I don't know. Will my boys feel the same way towards me as I feel towards my mother? I sure hope not. All I know is I'm trying every day to be the best that I can be. Some days I fail miserably. Others I do alright. Occasionally I'm an exceptional, outstanding, and amazing wife and mother. The only thing I can do is to pray and ask God to help me have more of those "occasional" days.
Thanks for listening!


The Vintage Attic said...

I no some may disagree but on the most part moms that have 3 little one;s will understand, yelling the way you did after 3 nights of not much sleep, will all I have to say it's a good thing someone didn't get there butt smacked.
I remember when you called me to tell me you were pregnant with #3 just after giving birth to #2 about 4 months earlier. Oh my I tought, but you know what, God couldn't have blessed another child more that giving them you.
I have seen you with your children and I have to say you are a fabulous mom, I mean come on what mom puts shaveing cream on there dinning room table to let there kids play in it....the things you do with your kids amaze me. You have to remember that you are not perfect, you are human. Our mom tried to make it look like to otheres that she was perfect,(because of her lack of self-esteem)but she was not, when others was not around here anger came out on us and that poor house ( I think it's still standing today because it was so clean) LOL!

Not only are you an amazing mother you are a person with so much compasion for others that you didn't get from your mother.


Diane said...

oh Andrea....you are such a dear! Being so honest in your writings is too amazing~Yes, you are a wonderful mom...perfect? No, you do a crappy job at being perfect just like every other person that is alive! However, it is great that you are getting some understanding as to why you have certain patterns of behavior and reactions to life issues. BUT HIS GRACE is more that enough, girly~REST IN HIM today. Don't worry about tomorrow yet. It will come soon enough. I do love you.

Tamera @ the Stone Fence Cottage said...

girl--I am totally with you. Growing up I never felt I was "good enough" either...and let's just say i get the mother/daughter issues, too. I was always more of the "parent"--even as a small child.
The best thing is these years of little ones being so demanding will pass by quickly.
I used to be a clean freak--God deleivered me from that--had to use fibromyalgia but I no longer obssess if the mini-blinds are hanging exactly even or the speck of dirt on the wall.