Sunday, November 7, 2010

Mommy Regrets

Dear Lane,

Sometimes I feel like a horrible mother.

You have slept in a pack 'n play for all except the first 3 1/2 weeks of your life. You don't have a nursery with pretty paint and decorations, and you might never get one. The counted cross-stitch that I made for you in still in a box. You've never seen it. Your current bedroom often smells of cigarette smoke because the neighbors smoke and it filters into your room...but we can't move you because there's not room for your pack 'n play in the other bedrooms. So your little lungs breathe that junk every single night.

By the time you were five months old you'd slept in 12 different places. You don't have very many toys yet and are bored with the ones you do have, so you often end up playing with things like paper towel rolls and magazines and chewing on your shoes and socks. People say you'd do that anyways, but I'm not sure, since you're my first baby. You're getting a new tooth, and I lost your favorite teether, so now you gnaw on the end tables and the chair legs instead of on a teething ring, since we only have one now and it's not your favorite.

Lane, you had a diaper rash for almost two months. We put every cream we could find on it and it only went away after I finally figured out maybe you were allergic to cinnamon, even cinnamon that you would get through my milk. Just the other day you got another horrible rash, and I think it's because of another spice I ate, although I'm not sure which one. Your little body has some dry patches on it and I can't tell if it's just dry skin or if it's an allergic reaction to something. You're getting that new tooth and I had some teething tablets to help with the pain, but they got recalled so I had to throw them away, and I don't speak enough of the local language to go and buy you something else to help ease the pain.

Baby, sometimes you really, really drive me crazy. I can tell that you're in pain or frustrated, or just exhausted, but all I can think of is how annoyed with you I am and how I just want you to stop whining. I could care less about what's really bothering you: I just want you to stop crying! I'm so, so selfish.

When we have our language lessons and your babysitter comes, I sit in the kitchen with our teacher and listen to you cry after I've left you. You usually have fun after a little while, but sometimes you don't...and I just have to leave you. And sometimes you want to do things that I just can't let you do, like eat dirt and rocks or pet a kitty that's hissing at you, and you get so mad at me when I make you stop.

Lane, you will probably never have roots like your daddy and I have, because we're raising you far, far away from all of your family. You might not get to see your grandparents more than once every couple of years, if that often. It breaks my heart that you already recognize the sounds of skype and know that you'll get to see your grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins through it. You probably won't even get to meet your cousin Maddox until you're both talking.

I'm so sorry that I'm so far from perfect for you. I'm sorry when I make mistakes and when I just don't care what you want or need because I'm too focused on myself. I'm sorry that you're going to be so far from all of your extended family and will know them better through a computer screen than you will in real life. I'm sorry for the times I'll disappoint you and the times I'll be too harsh on you, expecting you to be more grown up than you are. And I'm sorry that you won't have a better role model than me as to what a mother and a woman is supposed to be. Please, look to Jesus to fulfill you and teach you and help you, because he'll do a perfect job when I only let you down.

I love you,



  1. As I type this I am listening to my daughter fill her diaper...Michelle, thank you so much for sharing this. How encouraging to read that other moms have the same thoughts and concerns that I have! I love that you posted this and that you ask her to look to Jesus to fulfill all her needs. It comforts me so to know that as much as I love my daughter and want to care for her needs, that Jesus will always love her more than I do and be much better at caring for her. I know I don't comment much (ever) but I do enjoy reading about your experiences. Love, Julie A.

  2. Your post made me cry! How true all of it is and I can so relate. I think things bother me way more than they will ever bother Cruz.

    I just love reading your blog. I always look forward to what you are going to write. Thanks for sharing!

  3. You may not be perfect but you are the mom that God wanted Lane to have. She may grow up far away from extended family but she'll have substitutes that will enrich her life. The fact that you are attentive enough to figure out it was cinnamon she was allergic to shows what a great mom you are. And think back to generations past.....our grandparents didn't have toys like we think our kids need to play with. They played with sticks and bugs and chewed on chair legs.

    Lane won't remember where she slept. Do you remember when you slept as a baby? Or what was on the wall? I don't. But Lane will know that she was loved.

  4. You sound like a mother. And a good one, at that.
    Rebecca slept in her car seat for 3 months, then in a crib until she was a year and a half, then on an inflatable Dora matress/sleeping bag thing for a year. Now she and Mikayla are crowded into a room with bunk beds that is almost impossible to keep picked up...and my guilt is because they have too MANY toys!
    Sometimes we just have to trust that God loves our children more than we do, and chose us to give them to, knowing that we were what they needed. How amazing is that?!

  5. That is sweet, thanks for doing that. I might write some letters myself.

  6. Dear Mom,
    Thanks for raising me outside a world where English is the only language that is spoken around me. (research has proven that i can hear more sounds now than later in life! So really- you're already helping me be multi-lingual!) Thanks for making my early years adventure packed so that I'm not afraid of change or what new thing might be coming around the corner of life. Thank you for showing me that my life doesn't have to be about the next best thing or the bigger toy that I saw on tv yesterday. Thank you for showing me a world outside the back-yard... And for giving me experiences other kids will have to read books about to experience!
    Most of all Mom, thank you for showing me what it is to truly follow the Sovereign One... Because you Live out your trust in Him one difficult day at a time.... And these actions say more than anything you could verbally tell me now or in the future.
    Love you,
    Your daughter Lane
    Your Lane

  7. oh I love you. and wish to encourage you in some meager way.

    stand strong. know that just as there may be things you feel lack in what you may provide little Lane while you live such a unique lifestyle, there are just as many good things for Lane. things other children, including yourself, never had growing up. I challenge you to make a list of those things and reflect on those when doubt and negativity set in.

    as far as the selfishness bit... we all get tired of our children's cries. trust me. i bought an iPod for a reason before the Bud came into this world. :[

  8. Hugs Michelle!! You are a normal mom and the one that God has chosen for Lane!! And you are doing a great job!!

  9. I love this blog post. I have felt this same way times 4! Raising kids is never easy and we may not always know what we are doing, but lucky for us God knew what He was doing when he gave us kids! I have to remind myself of that all the time!

  10. Everyone here has said all the things I was thinking. The fact that you are concerned about what she might be missing proves you are a good mom. I have SO been there, feeling the same inadequate feelings many times. It goes with the territory, you love your kids so much and it's easy to be aware that as a human being, we are flawed. But you love her, you love God and you are in His will which is the best place to be. This weekend a seasoned, much travelled (including when her children were small) woman of faith said "Home is being in the will of God", I thought it was a pretty neat & very true statement. Rest in that knowledge, you are where He wants you (& Lane) to be. You are giving her so much more than you realize lady.

  11. I keep saying that parenthood is one of the forms of sanctification. I am much more acutely aware of my sin as I parent. I totally relate to the paragraph about being annoyed and frustrated with whining, etc. That is my chief regret because I eventually will snap at Ava and I hate that. You're a good mom. God's grace is more than sufficient...

  12. I love this post. Thank you for your honesty.



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