Guest Mom Monday: Destiny Molatore
I have always been a by-the-book kind of person. Give me some ducks, and I’ll put them in a row. Give me a test, and I’ll do my best to ace it. But if there is one thing I’ve learned about parenting, it is that it doesn’t go by the book and my ducks will probably never be in a row.
They may be well fed, laughing, and literally catching flies, but they will never be in a row. So without a standardized system of measurement, how do I judge my parenting skills? What is my job description, and how will I be evaluated?
Some days my job description sounds like this: Get up; Try to get a shower before the kids wake up; Change diapers; Make breakfast; Feed the baby; Keep the toddler from dropping or smothering the baby; Change diapers; Vacuum; Do dishes and laundry; Try to hold both screaming kids at once and convince at least one of them to stop crying; Change diapers; Go see why my son is being so quiet; Clean up the gallon of milk that he just dumped in the refrigerator; Change diapers.
You get the idea. Every mother knows this routine. There are days I wish for a progress report, an evaluation, a pat on the back, and maybe a raise! Is this really my job description? Is it really a good use of my college degree? More disturbingly, why isn’t my education making this any easier?
When I think of successful parents, I often think of my grandmother. She was not successful because her children never made mistakes. They made plenty. She was not successful because her house was clean or because she was the best cook. She was successful because of how she lived. Her tiny little home was filled with love and generosity for her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and a number of people whom she opened her home to when they experienced hard times.
She is my role model. On days that I feel like I’m falling really, really short, I remind myself that she was once a young mom to. She had to learn the lessons that I’m learning now to eventually become the person that I knew as a grandmother.
So how will I be evaluated? At the end of the day, the question is, did I model the behavior and love that I want to see in my children? Did I share my faith with them? Did they see me live it? Yes, my job description really is changing diapers, bathing, feeding, cleaning, and teaching. But my work is evaluated by how I did it. Did I do it with patience, love, kindness, and self-control? Or did I do it with frustration, irritation, and impatience? When I make mistakes, do I admit it, apologize, and learn from them?
Thankfully, like our children, our success is measured in baby steps. I don’t notice changes day-to-day, but I do know that the person I was two years ago would not have had the patience, or the fortitude, to withstand my daily life today. Thank goodness we have thirteen years of on the job training before our children become teens!
While the challenges of today stretch us to the limit, they strengthen us for the challenges of tomorrow. We may never “arrive” as a parent, but like our children, we are always growing. Maybe that was the secret to my grandmother’s success. She spent 74 years learning and growing. Or maybe it was that she had four children. . .