Kimberly Peil

Mother of Mine

In Uncategorized on October 10, 2013 at 7:40 pm

I’ve done a pretty good job of mentally blocking out the existence of my mom over the past 22 years.  However, now I’m a mom with a 3 and ½ year-old girl who is full of curiosity, full of questions.  “Who is your mommy?  Where is she?  Why did she leave you?  She wasn’t a very good mommy, was she?”  Ugh. Emotions are a bitch– and so is my mom.

Perhaps it is like the death of a loved one. At first, it’s shock and disbelief. Are they really gone? Then you begin to accept the truth and mourn the loss. You ask God all kinds of crazy questions, expecting some answers that will numb the pain. But no answers come.

Months turn into years and pain turns into anger and resentment. Instead of a mom who is at home raising me, I get a freakin’ card from her once a year. This person who birthed me actually takes the time to write me.  She’s in drug rehab once again. Her boyfriend overdosed and died on the bathroom floor in front of her. The cops picked her up for the umpteenth time. I’m 10, and this is the kind of birthday card I get. She doesn’t even ask how I’m doing. I hate this selfish woman.

But in reality, the pain started long before my mom ever left. Sure, there were times when she was kind and fun and loving.  But unfortunately, the bad memories outnumber the good.

My mind is plagued with memories of my mom snorting cocaine on our living room coffee table and having sex with random men. Of being left home alone with my baby brother when I was only four years old. I remember being given mini bottles of Irish cream at the age of five. “Don’t tell your Dad. It’s our little secret.” And every five-year-old girl has talks with her mom about sex, right? You know, the one where your mom tells you all about it and then encourages you to have it with whomever you like, whenever you like. And so that was a mom to me.

I still remember the day she finally, truly left.  I can see her standing in the doorway of our house.  She had come to pick my brother and me up for visitation. She had her latest boyfriend sitting in the car. The alcohol on her breath stung my nostrils. My Dad told her that there was no way she was driving me and my brother to her house, 2 hours away, with some random man in her car and alcohol on her breath. I remember her crying, petting my hair as I clung to the stair railing. She turned and left in the dark. I didn’t know I wouldn’t see her again for 15 years.

And so these are the memories that get pushed back up to the surface as I tread cautiously through this journey of motherhood. I know I will never be the horrible mother that my mom was, and yet somehow I never feel good enough. I feel myself getting caught up in stupid battles within my own heart. 

Do my children have amazing manners? Can I make it through the grocery store without W biting E? What do I do when he does bite her and pulls her hair? What will people think of me when I let my toddler decide whether or not she wants to wear a coat when it’s 30 degrees outside? What will people think of me if I don’t send my child to preschool full-time? Really, none of this has to do with what kind of mother I am– only with what others’ perceptions are of me as a mother.

And I get caught up in this image of what society tells me I should be concerned about. I’ve tried my best to forget where I came from. I try to pretend like I’m someone else. I’ve got it together.

In reality, I’m human. I’m hurt. I’m broken. I may not have it all together, but I do love my children fiercely. And even that sometimes gets criticized too. “Why don’t you leave your children with somebody longer? Why do you have them with you ALL THE TIME? Why are you so attached to your children?” When you’ve been through what I’ve been through, the last thing you want to do is let go of your children.  You know how badly that hurts.

I’m not perfect. Nobody is. Thank God for his grace and understanding. Maybe being slapped in the face with questions about my mom is just what I need. I need that reminder of where I came from. I need that reminder of what a truly terrible, awful mother is. Because while it brought me a lot of hurt, it has also helped me to become the person I am today– a better mom.

I know I won’t get it right all the time. But I do know that this is what God has destined for my life. And so instead of beating myself up for not being able to afford preschool or only spending $30 on each kid at Christmas, maybe I should look at the bigger picture. I am here for my children 100%. I am present. I love them deeply. I am focused on them. I will NEVER leave them.

I am so thankful that God is constantly working on my heart and helping me to grow. I never knew how much this journey of motherhood would transform my life. And I will constantly be working out the kinks. But for today, I am going to work on being the best mother to my two children that I can be. 

That doesn’t mean giving in to society’s demands and standards. That means unashamedly being the crazy-in-love mom that I am. That means shrugging off other people’s comments who don’t understand, who don’t know where I came from. That means listening to God and not to what others might perceive is going on in my life.

And so to E and W:
 I will always try my best. I won’t be perfect, and I hope you can forgive me. And know that where I can’t fill those holes, God will. I will quit trying to conform to society’s standards of what a mom is. I will give myself grace so that you, in turn, can feel more peace. And I know that even though I can’t hold onto you forever, I will hold on to you for now. And I will slowly let go and trust God so that you can one day grow up and become strong, healthy adults.

 

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  1. Kim, you definitely inspire me as a mom, not just from reading this post, but from the ways I can tell you are so in love with your kids. You invest in them, and it shows. It is encouraging and it makes me want to be a better mom. You’re amazing!! xoxo -Andrea

  2. Kim, I love this. Everything about it. You made yourself so vulnerable by posting it, and it shows how strong you are at the same time. I may not see how you parent your kids, but I know you make so many sacrifices to be at home with them everyday because you believe they deserve that. You are a wonderful mommy, and I think you are the bee’s knees. Thank you for sharing!

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