Parenting is awesome. And the hardest thing ever.

3:30 PM

Pssst hey kids…...
   All the while you've been thinking about how much fun playdates are?  Turns out that moms have even more fun at them.  So the joke's on you.


   A small group of us has been meeting for regular play dates for over a year now, and yesterday it was my turn to host.  The group has been growing as we have been adding children to our families and inviting new people, and I always wish I could invite a whole lot more, but my poor little home can only hold so many.  When the weather gets nicer hopefully we can meet at the park a few times and then it will be easier to invite more people.  I always leave feeling so encouraged and refreshed and recharged.  I feel so blessed and privileged to be traveling this journey of motherhood with my friends and peers.  We're not meant to do it all alone!

  This last time I got my camera out, and not sure what is going on but almost every one seemed a little fuzzy to me??!  Arrrrrgh so annoying.  I'll work on that.



  This thing called motherhood is such a beautiful, albeit difficult, privilege.  It came to me, (a few nights ago) as I lay in bed beside my blissfully snoring husband that there are some things I am good at, maybe even almost great…..and there are things that I am bad at as well. Maybe even almost awful. Patience, is one that falls, unfortunately, into the "awful" category.

   I am not a patient person, although I dearly wish I was. My husband is much more patient than I and to his credit, he won't admit that this is true, (and he never accuses me of impatience) but I doubt he could fully deny it. Things make me irate so quickly...a stuck drawer, a lost item, a stubbed toe, an unexpected change in schedule, and of course at times, my children. I can be the most flexible of people when it comes to certain things…cooking, for example, is really just a succession of guesses and using ones imagination. Art, decor, fashion….in all of these areas I can just go with the flow, making it up as I go along.

   And so it's strange that in other instances I can be extremely inflexible and unyielding.  Stubborn.  Impatient.  This is one of the things I very much dislike about myself.  And coincidentally, one of those things I am terrified my children will emulate.



   I have had a rough couple of days lately with parenting, and it all started on Sunday.  Is it just me or can Sundays be The Worst?!  There's all that dressing up nice and getting out the door on time, sitting still and minding your manners…..it can just feel like you are a pretty awesome parent for about 6 days out of the week and flunking Parenting 101 on the 7th day.  Not to mention having a child who isn't altogether social to begin with, and then decides she abhors Sunday school class.  Which wouldn't be that much of a problem if your husband didn't teach Sunday school (mine does) and it wouldn't mean  taking 2 toddlers to an adult Sunday school class by yourself.  Sigh.
 
    And then there's the delightful stage where they begin to stop napping.  Is there a way to circumnavigate this??!  My dearest oldest was always such a dream napper.  2-3 hours and out like a light.  Lately she has been forgoing nap time and mama is panicking a little bit.

   On one such skipped nap time, she came dashing into the office to see what I was up to and stepped right into the center of the ant trap I had carefully laid out onto the floor.  It was the sticky gluey bait-kind, and there were ants, probably hundreds, swarming it.  And she stepped RIGHT on it.  I made a rather loud, strangled sort of screeching sound which frightened her, of course.  She cried for her daddy.  I felt bad.  It was just an accident! But I made, as I often do, the grave error of treating an honest mistake as a far worse offense than a direct disobedience. Why do we do that?  I so wish I could be more consistent in my discipline and training.


   And then there are the clothing battles we are facing lately.  She has DEFINITE opinions about what she wants to wear, and where and when she wants to wear it.  Certain items never make the cut at all and it would be ludicrous to even ask.  And she is only 3.  On one hand, I feel like it is just clothing, and it doesn't/shouldn't matter, and she should at least have this one, small freedom in which she can express her opinion.  But then I feel like this too is an obedience issue, and if I let her walk all over me at 3 years old, then where will it end?

   Recently I have come to realize that whether it is honest mistakes, or direct disobedience, it is clear as day to me that when it comes to being a "good mama" I DO NOT HAVE WHAT IT TAKES.

I don't have enough patience.
I don't have enough grace.
I don't have enough love.
I don't have enough compassion.
I don't have enough tenderness.



   And while I am tempted to just TRY harder and WORK harder and BE more of these things, I realize that I just cannot.  Not in this lifetime.  The power simply does not lie within me.  It lies within Christ.  And in Christ alone my hope is found.  He is my light, my strength, my song.  I mean we sing these words like, "This is the power of Christ in me--from life's first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny."  But then we proceed to live like the exact opposite.
Like it is all up to us or we're doomed.
From life's first cry (or our baby's first cry) we command that child's destiny.
We command our own destiny.

   LIES.  All of it, lies!  Yes, God has given us a huge opportunity and responsibility to raise our children to glorify Him.  YES a huge portion of that rests upon our shoulders.  But what then?  So what if we have a huge responsibility…..we are NOTHING without Christ.  Empty.  Powerless.  We could be the best parents in the known universe.  Receive awards and accolades and be featured on the cover of American Family and it would all be worth nothing.  Nothing without the power of Christ.




And let me just say one more thing…...I get so tired of hearing about how hard parenthood is.

  Of course this is after I've just complained about how hard it is.  Ha.  But I try to keep it within moderation.  It just seems inescapable today.  You hear it casual conversation, passing strangers at the store, on someone's blog, or scattered throughout your Facebook feed….the terrible twos.  Cleaning with kids is like shoveling in a snowstorm.  I don't know what a "good night's sleep" even IS.  And on and on it goes.  

   Don't get me wrong, I know that parenting is tough, for sure.  I will be the first to raise my hand and say "Hear, hear!  Kids are hard work, and it feels like that work/effort is under appreciated.  Oh and p.s.  I turn into a alternate not-entirely-human being when I'm low on sleep."  But so what?  WE AREN'T SUPPOSED TO DO IT IN OUR OWN POWER.  We aren't supposed to have what it takes.  And it is so frustrating to read comment after comment of how awful it is to be a stay-at-home-mom and how unfulfilling, joyless, thankless and hopeless it all is.  

   I guess that will be our result if we rely on our own strength.  Because I know exactly how that feels.  I try SO often to do it all on my own.  And I fall flat on my face every time and I have the goose eggs to prove it.  And so what good does it do to lament that?  To bemoan the "trials" of parenthood or the struggles of daily life with toddlers.  Why not just admit to ourselves and to the world that we can't do it on our own?  We need grace.  Heaps and barrels and bushels of it, each and every day, and so do our children.  I can't emphasize that enough.  Give grace to your children!  I am preaching to myself here.  Why?  Because we have been given much grace.  

   Anyways…..I went off on a tangent there that I wasn't planning to go on and I'm not sure how to get back on topic…..ah yes, the playdate.  Thankfully, I always leave those interactions feeling a little bit more empowered in my parenting.  There is a sense of camaraderie and encouragement hearing advice, tips, and wisdom from the other mothers present, but also joy in sensing their contentment in their calling.  After all…..we CHOSE this.  
We wanted this.
We were blessed with this.
We were gifted this.

   And why would we think we would ever have to do it alone?  We have friends, we have family, we have Jesus, and we have mercies new every morning.  Trust me, sometimes it doesn't FEEL that way.  But maybe, just maybe, by recording my thoughts in this moment, and in this frame of mind, I will be able to refer back to them on a darker day, and be lifted back up again.

Have a wonderful, wonderful Thursday.


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3 comments

  1. amen! plus it's discouraged when you hear all that when you are expecting the first one.....like, oopps... my life is going to end. :( I think it might be a newer thing though, because I NEVER heard my mom complain about raising us.

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  2. Can I just say again, (I think I've said it before), your girls are adorable! I read your blog and look at your pics and think "I wish my two little boys could meet up with your two little girls!" :) and there have been several Sundays recently where I have said under my breath (maybe?) "I hate Sundays!" Just being honest! :)

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  3. I really wish, when mine started to give up nap time, I had started a one hour (or however long!) quiet entertain yourself in your room time. I think it would have been so good for all of us! Teaches them to entertain themselves, or read books, or play quietly.....

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