Home Parenting Motherhood: When the Dream Doesn’t Match the Reality
Motherhood: When the Dream Doesn’t Match the Reality

Motherhood: When the Dream Doesn’t Match the Reality


By: Barbara Gleeson

I raised three daughters and during the last pregnancy my husband, Bill, was diagnosed with serious health conditions which led to chronic fatigue and a limitation of what he could do and contribute to the family.

Bill’s health changed the way we did life and the way I mothered. Bill worked the night shift and crashed when he came home. My life focus was keeping as much pressure off of him as possible, keeping the children quiet when he was sleeping, and doing what a wife and mother does, school drop offs with lunch made, smaller children dropped off at a nursery while I worked. It was a normal way of life but the pressure was intense to get everyone home and dinner made as this was real time we had together as a family.

Bill’s strength needed to be reserved for work, and I never expected more from him than what he could give. It was emotionally hard for him to be exhausted daily, and I respected his bodily limitations as I loved him for who he was and not what he could do. I wanted our daughters to respect and honour him in that way too. Due to Bill’s inability to be an active part of their life, the girls sometimes felt disappointed but his love for each of them was so great it overcame what was missing providing stability that only love brings.

As Mothers, We Do Our Best

While they were growing up, I did my best as a mother. I was spread thin and doing the basics. We attended a stable, balanced, loving, church every week. Their friends were the children of my friends. We socialised through the church activities full of good people and a wonderful loving shepherd. The influences I wanted around them I found in church, supporting what I hoped I was teaching by example at home according to Ephesians 6:4, “bringing them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

The mothering years go by so quickly. One day we are putting 18 candles on a cake for our last child living at home, at least for the moment perhaps! As mothers, we do what we can as much as we know how to. I had dreams of being the mother who read to the children at night safely snuggled in their bed with a sweet goodnight prayer. I had visions of teaching them to cook and how to clean. But to be honest, that’s all that was, dreams and visions.

The reality was I was too exhausted after collecting everyone after work from multiple locations. Returning home wasn’t always straight forward. If anything was needed for school the next day, or an errand that just couldn’t wait, impacted the home life I envisioned. The pressure of the rush against the clock to get home, check on Bill, cook dinner, sort out homework with tired children, make strategic time for them with their father, dinner, children’s baths and bedtime, trying to spend quality time with Bill before he left for work, then finishing the night off cleaning the kitchen and preparing for the next day. It was usually after midnight before I could rest. I frequently quoted to myself Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” to keep me going.

It was hard.

When We Can’t do ‘Perfect’

I wasn’t the mother who had the luxury for bedtime stories with those I loved the most. I wanted to. They had all the books. But they did not have the mother to read them. I honestly couldn’t manage more than what I had on my plate. My Mother Resume did not list that for me.

But, now, I am a grandmother. I am retired. I am with time to love my grandchildren the way I desired to love my own children. I read to my grandchildren. We play games together and I teach them things. I have time to hear their stories. I pray for them. My heart comes to life when they enter the room. They are an extension of my children and my heart is full and overflowing when I am with them. Grandchildren are the strength of my aging years putting a spring to my step. Proverbs 17:6 says it best, “Grandchildren are the crown of the aged.”

One day, one of my adult daughters said in my presence to her son, my grandson, “You are so lucky little one. You are having the childhood I always wanted.”

There was no malice in the truth of those words, but the words struck me; her memories of her childhood were very different than my memories. Of course, they were. She was the child receiving from a mother protecting her from the harsh realities we were living in. She could not know much less understand the pressures of day-to-day needs which came at the price of foregoing night time book readings. I’d been a reader all my life and books were as important to me as breathing. I think I believed my children would do as I did when I was a child, read on their own. They had the age-appropriate books. The love for reading was encouraged, but I had to leave it with them to motivate themselves. I was busy being a mother.

The ’Mother Resume’

So what is a ‘aMother Resume’? It is loving your children with all that you have and giving them the best of you however you can give it. It is knowing that your adult child’s perspective will be different than yours. It is knowing that your adult children will one day hear their own adult children tell their childhood stories and they too will be surprised when their child has a different perspective. Let me assure you, this will happen.

My daughters are ages from 37 to 45 now. They are close sisters. Their precious father passed away, and they have a wonderful stepfather, Pop, whom they deeply love and respect.

These daughters I mothered walk with great love and understanding of others, and are independent, strong, wise, women. When I consider the Mother Resume of my dreams and visions as it materialised into nothing near to the Mother Resume of reality, I can only appreciate the end result that surrounds me now.

My adult children love me telling me often “We love spending time with our mother.” Although I did not read bedtime stories cuddled up together at night, all three of them are readers and love books.

Wherever you are as a mother in your life, be it mother or grandmother, trust that as long as you are loving your children, your love is the greatest thing that matters and the most important thing they need.

Your mother resume should read: Love my family with all that I have in me, everything else is secondary.

Article supplied with thanks to Rhema 99.7.

Feature image: Canva Pro


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