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What Sort of Mother AM I?

My daughter said five words to me.  They hurt.  They hurt, not because they were intended to injure me.  The words hurt because it said something about me as a mother — that was true.

I get busy.  I know — all mothers get busy; however sometimes I get so busy that I forget to look around me. I look at my children but I don’t REALLY look at them.  Does that make sense? I see so far down the future that I sometimes forget to love the moment. My husband calls me a whirlwind. And it’s true: I get places fast but boy, can I leave a wake of destruction behind me.

This particular day I was whirlwinding (I don’t care if that isn’t a real word). My husband was working late and I was hanging out for the moment the children were asleep.  I rushed through dinner, bath, story-time and finally got the children into bed.  I was tired.  I was cranky. (A state I’m quite familiar with).  If I was to be truly honest, I would say I had been whirlwinding for at least a week prior to this night.

I’d finally put each child in bed and flopped on my own, face down, when my girl, with big brown eyes and soft pink lips came to my bedroom.

“Why aren’t you in bed!” I was cross.

She started to cry. And then she said five words.  Just five words.

“I just want some comfort.”

There was something in the way she said it.  There was no intent of manipulation or coy; rather it was a simple request from a child to a mother.

What sort of mother am I that my child has to come and beg me for comfort?

I was hurt. I was hurt because in that moment, I had failed and I knew it. Yes, I’m sure I had held each of my children that day but had I actually offered comfort?  Comfort requires something given of ourselves doesn’t it? Any one can hug but to actually give comfort requires an invisible transfer of strength; one body to another.

“Comfort requires an invisible transfer of strength; one body to another.”

So I stopped. I grabbed her in my arms.  I said sorry. I prayed.  I looked into her big brown eyes and kissed her soft pink lips.  I gave her comfort.  I held her and then we fell asleep until later, Daddy came home and carried the sleeping child to bed. In that moment of failure and in the realisation of redemption, I gave comfort and strength.  And as I was giving it I was getting it right back.  I needed comfort too. 

I’d love to tell you that my constant whirlwinding hasn’t happened again but that would be a lie.  I often fall into the trap of busyness.  I’m so grateful to God for giving me a daughter who is in tune with what she needs.  Because often what my children need is exactly what I need too. I just don’t know it.

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41 Comments

  • Reply
    Rebekah
    September 25, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    Thanks for that message. I tend to whirlwind a bit too – too task oriented – so a good reminder!

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      September 27, 2010 at 7:32 am

      Yes, I’m with you here… I need a constant reminder on this one.

  • Reply
    BookChook
    September 26, 2010 at 6:07 am

    Parenting is such a delicate balancing act, isn’t it? We don’t want to hover too much, but at the same time, we want to always be there for our kids when they need us. I think you nailed it in “love the moment” – if we can learn to focus on the “right now”, we will have fewer regrets.

    How wonderful that your daughter is growing up resilient and strong, and communicating her needs!

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      September 27, 2010 at 7:33 am

      Beautifully put (as usual) BC. You have a way with words. xx

  • Reply
    Wendy Webber
    September 26, 2010 at 6:46 am

    WOW, its so true. We can get so busy in our lives that we fail to see the small things that make others happy. I too have been guilty of this. Thanks for the reminder 🙂

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      September 27, 2010 at 7:34 am

      I’m such a “big picture” person and so it’s been a hard, slow lesson for me to learn: seeing the small things in life.

  • Reply
    Kristy McGrath
    September 26, 2010 at 7:01 am

    aaaawwww! This made me a little teary because as a I read it I realised that I do the same. Thankyou so much for your honesty and willingness to share, I can say you have made a huge difference in at least 1 mummas life today. I will put a note of this in my “little book” that I read when I get a quiet moment and remind myself of what I am striving for……….to be a fun mum! Thanks again..

  • Reply
    Trish
    September 26, 2010 at 8:05 am

    HI Kelly!
    This is a beautiful post it brought a tear to my eye…as we all have busy days and I only have one child and still understand where u r coming from.Your daughter is soooooooo beautiful …I just luv her sensitive heart and as God gave me a heart like that too so I so get her.

    You should never doubt yourself Kelly or feel u r not doing a fantastic job as we can all see and read/hear how fabulous u r as a mum and a wife and we are all loving your blogs…

    You r really blessed with your 4 gorgeous children they r all so beautiful !!!!
    Thanks for sharing this post….Hugs Trish

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      September 27, 2010 at 7:37 am

      Dear Trish

      I love your heart Trish. It’s so obvious you care deeply for people. It’s a gift.

  • Reply
    Busy Brissy Mum
    September 26, 2010 at 9:32 am

    I see a little (well actually a lot) of myself in this post. Thanks for sharing it Kelly.

  • Reply
    Natalie
    September 26, 2010 at 10:24 am

    Hi Kelly,

    What a lovely post!
    As I was reading it, my eldest, Judah, came up to me, and lay his head on my lap – and I realised how often he does that, especially when I’m ‘whirlwinding’ through most of the day, and am too busy/preoccupied to stop.
    Thanks for the reminder – and well done to your beautiful daughter who’s able to tell you exactly what she needs!
    x

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      September 27, 2010 at 7:40 am

      Awww, I can just “see” him do it. Yes, my daughter is to be congratulated — thank Nat. It’s something I’m learning from her.

  • Reply
    PlanningQueen
    September 26, 2010 at 11:22 am

    Honest and beautiful Kelly! I was so glad for school holidays so I could stop whirlwinding. I have been doing some much needed comforting this week too.

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      September 27, 2010 at 7:41 am

      I know what you mean. I’ve enjoyed school holidays so much too for the same reason.

  • Reply
    Lara from Silk Playground
    September 26, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    What a beautiful post, Kelly. It’s such a good reminder for me to just focus on the present. I get a lot less whirlwindy when I do that!

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      September 27, 2010 at 7:44 am

      Me too. It’s great to plan ahead but we live in a world that can’t see the little things that make life so beautiful! I often remind myself to stop and focus on the present. We can’t change the past or see the future but we can live in the now.

  • Reply
    Renee
    September 26, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    Hi Kelly,
    Yet another beautiful insightful post, and a parallel life to mine…just last night Sophia (now 3) was playing “mummy” to her dolls as she insists on doing every day, and even tells me to call her “mummy” if I use her own name. After she went to bed (and had put her dollies to bed too), she reappeard in the doorway. “I’m not a very good mummy”, she said. I was stunned, where did that come from? Those doubts sometimes cross my own mind but I know that I have never said the words aloud. “Yes you are darling, but what makes you say that?” I told her. “I just get tired sometimes” she said. She went and lay down in her bed and put her arms out for a cuddle. “I just want to be a little girl for now”. Which is just how I feel sometimes myself but had never really acknowledged it. Aren’t children just increadible, bringing messages and new perspectives to us every day?! Thanks for taking the time to always capture and share these special moments, and inspiring me to do the same Kelly!

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      September 27, 2010 at 7:45 am

      Awww, sweet girl! That is so beautiful Renee!!!! Thank you for sharing this story. Gorgeous, gorgeous! I can’t wait to hopefully catch up next year.

  • Reply
    Renee
    September 26, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    Oh, and completely identify with your last line, “Love, Laugh, Learn, Live” has been my own personal motto for years now (and is even the way I use to organise my email folders to remind me to try and organise my life around these important things and focus my time and energy on these!).

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      September 27, 2010 at 7:46 am

      Renee, what a special thing to do! WOW, what a great way to make sure your priorities are right!

  • Reply
    SquiggleMum
    September 26, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    Honest, real and beautiful. I too can be a bit of a whirlwinder and leave a mess in my wake. You are not alone. xx

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      September 27, 2010 at 7:47 am

      It’s nice to know I’m not the only very flawed mother around. lol

  • Reply
    Amanda
    September 26, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    Yes, I too saw myself in this story. But I think we need to stop carrying so much guilt. Your daugher does not sound emotionally impaired by having a busy Mum, on the contrary she was empowered enough and able to come and ask you for the comfort she needed and even better she received it!

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      September 27, 2010 at 7:48 am

      Yes, I’m ever so grateful for her and her ability to know what she needs. I see it as a real gift. While I felt guilty at the time, I don’t carry guilt around. I just learn and grow from my mistakes.

  • Reply
    Julie
    September 26, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    You know what this post shows me? That the sort of mother you are is humble, loving, ready to admit your mistakes and ready to change to accommodate your children’s needs at any given time.

    I’m glad you had this reminder to stop “whirlwinding” for a while. All busy mothers need to remember that from time to time!

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      September 27, 2010 at 7:50 am

      Julie, you are special. Thank you for this beautiful encouragement. God is amazing.

  • Reply
    Sandra
    September 27, 2010 at 4:59 am

    What a beautiful post Kelly and it’s funny. Sometimes I mark my email updates of your posts as unread as I don’t always have time to read them there and then (my self made whirl wind also) but today, for some reason, I stopped and had a moment. And I’m so glad I did. Thank you for sharing xx

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      September 27, 2010 at 7:51 am

      Thank you for your lovely comment Sandra. I know exactly what you mean. I don’t read a lot of my emails due to time constraints but sometimes, for some reason, I click and the message seems just for me. Thanks for leaving this comment for me.

  • Reply
    Matthew Burstow
    September 27, 2010 at 11:17 am

    Loved your post Hon, feel blessed by reading it. Blu

  • Reply
    Ash
    September 28, 2010 at 11:06 am

    That is such a beautiful story. I’m so glad to see that I’m not the only whirlwinder, but its a perfect reminder to slow down and ‘live, learn and love.’ Will sometimes says, “I just need a cuddle mum” and it has the same effect. Thank-you for sharing Kelly, x

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      September 30, 2010 at 8:36 am

      It’s nice for me too — to know that I’m not the only crazy woman. lol. I appreciate you Ash.

  • Reply
    Meegan
    September 28, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    *sigh*
    You sound like me, on a typical day. Which isn’t a good thing. I need to slow down and just enjoy my children. Everyday, even if it’s only for a short time each day…
    Thanks for the post Kelly!
    xxx

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      September 30, 2010 at 8:38 am

      I really like how you’ve said “…even if it’s only for a short time each day.”

      YES! Thank you! That’s right… it doesn’t take much does it? Just a little moment here and there. Wonderful advice Meegan.

  • Reply
    isabeau
    October 6, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    Wow that brought tears to my eyes. I can totally relate. I feel like a bad mum sometimes 🙁

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      October 8, 2010 at 11:56 am

      We all feel that sometimes hun. It’s hard but then I think about all the wonderful things and everything doesn’t seems quite so bad.

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