I saw a commercial the other day for an episode of the Dr. Phil show featuring a mother who was apparently a little out of control in the disciplining her children department. I couldn't watch the whole commercial because honestly it appeared borderline abusive to me. But the thing that struck me was the look on the mother's face when they showed her watching herself interact with her kids. She looked taken aback.
As I changed the channel, the thought occurred to me that though I hope I never slip into the same pattern of behavior as that mother, I don't often step away from myself to look at how others see me. Especially my girls. I have a picture of the mother I want to be, and man, she looks good! Always composed, patient, kind, never raises her voice, unflappable. She wouldn't serve cereal for dinner and has the laundry and ironing done the night before at the very latest. She doesn't lose her cool with her children on the way to church. When I'm "on" I can be some of those things, but most of the time I fall woefully short. And that bothers me.
But I've noticed lately that God is nudging me to be look at why that might bother me so much. And every once in a while, a lesson that I need to learn become clear when I hear the same words from many different places. It's kind of hard to ignore a truth God is trying to impart when he keeps putting it your path, right?
In past few days, there have been a combination of things revealing this to me: perhaps I need to be less concerned with the image I'd like to see in the proverbial mirror and more concerned with the kind of mother I'm being moment to moment with my kids. In addition to the thoughts in my own head spurned by the Dr. Phil show, a sentence out of an article I read online (while looking for something completely different, I might add) rose up off of the page:
"Becoming someone's mother meant that my role in the world had changed -- I wasn't just the same old me trying to be a new, improved version. I was a mother, really and truly and forever, and the question was, what kind of person, what kind of mother, would be reflected in my child's eyes?" from this article
And then on Friday, the always serenely insightful Ann Voskamp shared this message. The part that hit this already reverberating chord in me was a quotation from Anna Quindlen: