Some days I know I'm a bad mom. Others, the jury is out. Unless the jury is made up of my younger children. They're the ones in the midst of being sent to their rooms for misbehaving, or being grounded for being at a house that is not 'approved', oh, and for being on the roof of said house. (This was the 5 year-old. We won't go into the panic I experienced when I drove up and found him on the roof. I'm sure you can imagine it for yourself.) The older kids have come to a place where they tend to appreciate me. That's because the big-bad-world is staring them in the face.
Which brings me to why I'm feeling like one bad mamma. I've been hearing/reading about moms who 'just love their kids so much they never want them to move away from home'. They say things like, "Please don't ever leave me, stay in my house forever and ever." I look at them and think, 'What, are you crazy?'
Perhaps it's because their kids are young. They haven't reached that crucial I'm-a-teenager-and-I-know-more-than-you-ever-did-and-let-me-tell-you-all-I-know phase. Or, maybe it's just that they are better moms. It isn't that I don't love my kids or want them around. I do. I love each of them. But, see, there comes a time when little birds need to fly.
I've taught them, nurtured them, molded them. But, like clay, at some point it's no longer pliable. I've done all I can and it's time for them to go out and find out who they are. They need to make choices and decisions. They need to try and fail and try again. They need to know that mom and dad won't always be there to rescue them when things don't work out. They really need to know how expensive food and gas are.
I want them to stretch and grow. There are certain lessons that can't be learned from behind my apron strings. It's crucial for them to find out how good they are. That hard things won't kill them, but will make them stronger. I so want them to understand the incredible potential I see every time I look at them. Because, as much as I may tell them, they need to discover it for themselves.
So, if that makes me a bad mother, then I gladly accept the title. I'll polish that trophy and put it on my mantle. I will shoo them out the door with a loving nudge. I'll fill out college applications and financial aid forms, and, just today, missionary paperwork. And, in the next few months I'll watch as three of my little birds leave the nest. I'll cry. I'll hug them and make them promise to call and text and write. And, then I'll stand back and watch them as they spread their beautiful wings and fly off to find their future.