“You are good at this,” said a customer to me as I finished up his wine tasting at my part-time weekend job at the local winery. I felt like I could burst with joy. I love telling people about, “hints of this and notes of that!” The generous tip that he left me was just a bonus.
I didn’t have time to gloat as I was on to the next customers. I am thrilled that I perform well at this job. I truly enjoy it and the balance that it provides me as a stay-at-home mother of six young children, as well as the money which contributes to my family.
After my shift, I was welcomed home by my children. They are my greatest treasures, but also the cause of my greatest failures. I was truly happy to see them at the end of a 6-hour shift, but they swarmed me. And, they all had needs…urgent needs. The little ones just wanted a hug and a snack, while the older ones needed to share their frustrations about all the wrongs that had occurred when I was gone. I made my way to the kitchen carrying a few little ones, and assuring the older ones that I would listen to them as soon as I got settled.
I quickly looked for an escape. Depending on the time, this could be a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. I took care of the immediate needs while asking where Daddy was (cleaning up the backyard after an afternoon of kiddie pools). I tried to be kind and patient, but my natural temperament quickly came out as I expressed some of my overwhelmed feelings in a negative and sarcastic way. As usual, some of children were not thrilled with Mommy. Mommy wasn’t thrilled with herself either.
I’m glad that I’m a good bartender (even under pressure), but what I really want to be good at is THIS. Namely, mothering in the intense moments which immediately leave me feeling utterly drained. Ironically, I often hear that I am a good mother, too. It’s rare a day goes by when I don’t hear compliments like, “I don’t know how you do it!” Truth be told, I don’t either. I am left feeling like my smile has deceived everyone around me.
My husband often reminds me that we don’t get graces until we need them. Well, despite my daily Rosary, Novenas, and near constant shoutouts to the Holy Spirit, I don’t often feel the graces in the heat of the moment. My faith is strong enough to recognize that the graces must be there because I’ve asked for them…even if I don’t feel them. I reason that the graces are going to my children by teaching them that they cannot always be the center of attention, or to be emphatic and compassionate as they help each other because mommy only has two hands. I don’t know how or why, but I know that God can use even the most exasperating moments in family life for His glory…despite my shortcomings.
I had a cup of coffee (too early for wine), and I started to clean the kitchen. One-by-one, my children found their immediate needs met and went off. I felt tired, but I had peace…for a moment…until it all started again. Especially in the summer months, I find that it is a near-constant succession of sibling quarrels, cries of boredom, and requests for food. And more often than not, they occur simultaneously!
The adults who come to my winery are generally happy and enjoying a relaxing day out. It is very easy to be nice to them. And, it would be even if they weren’t going to tip me for my service! It is much harder to be nice to little ones who do not seem to appreciate my very best efforts.
BUT at the end of the day, only one of these jobs is going to get me to heaven. And, my children bring me to my knees daily. No deception in these prayers.
Since this is where God wants me, perhaps I am good at it after all?
Copyright 2016 Trish Bolster