I was driving somewhere last week with the kids in the car, answering the 1 zillionth question that Ethan had asked me in the last few minutes, when I had a realization.
My role as mom has shifted massively recently. I went from being the person whose job description was primarily "keep them alive" to a person whose job description is "teach them life skills and help shape their world view". I guess that whole life skills thing and world view has always been there, and I still have to keep them fed and clothed and housed, but I'm feeling it more strongly lately. Everyone is out of diapers and out of the stroller, and I have two kids who are capable of conversations and comprehending big ideas. Proverbs 22:6 runs through my brain constantly: "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."
It's kind of intimidating. I'm not sure I was entirely prepared for answering questions about things like death and whether Jesus lives in our car and why we don't joke about people going to jail.... They're busy trying to figure out their world and are already negotiating friendships and relationships with teachers and other adults.
I suddenly feel like I have to choose every word carefully. The other day I asked the kids to please "go away and play in their room for a minute so that I could vacuum the living room". And a couple of hours later, I heard Vivian saying to her stuffed animals "just go away for a minute!". Eek.
At the same time that I'm feeling all this pressure, I'm also dealing with the reality that soon they will be even more heavily influenced by other people. Vivian in particular. Right now she is away from me on some evenings, but she's with Daniel then. The only time all week that she's away from both parents is when she goes to her class at church. But in a few months she'll be going to preschool and making friends and life will change for both of us.
I knew they wouldn't be babies forever and I know my role as mother will continue to change. And I'm not unhappy about this stage, just feeling the weight of it a bit. I know that I'm going to make mistakes- lots of them of various sizes. I just need to have faith and remember that God is with me in this and that prayer and my Bible are the best companions in this journey. I want to be the kind of wife and mom that they talk about in Proverbs 31 (verse 28): Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. Kind of a bigger thing than I realized when I got into this whole motherhood thing :)