This last year, parenting has been hard. Mainly because my kids have challenged my ideals...or should I say, reality has.
But my list for me went something like...
I would never hit [aka spank] my kids...
I would never yell like that...
I will always put my kids developmental stages in perspective...
I will never just hand out a punishment with out getting the big picture...
oh yeah, I will never punish...natural and logical consequences only!
I will always be respectful of my children, they are people and deserve my respect.
In my deeply set and untried convictions, I stood (self) righteous.
And then reality slapped me in the face
The grueling work the under 5 crew. The constant needs, demands, tantrums...The feelings of failure, frustration, shock, anger. The roller coaster that is one hour in the day. The constant-ness that is being a Mom of toddlers. Especially if youronly vocation IS caring for your kids. Add some pregnancy hormones and eventually a baby wedged in and pressing down there...And ultimately learning to balance life with a newborn: yikes. Reality bites.
Humility steps in, and you are covered with the realization that reality and convictions aren't black and white. You'll make mistakes in moments you never could have fathomed. You'll wonder if you and your children will come out on the other side of this infuriating and exhausting stage with your relationship intact. If they will remember the hours you spent on walks enjoying their company and funny amazing thoughts. The hours of playdoh, the books read together, the trips to the playground. Will they remember, you wonder, if the hours of your voice singing to them in the dark of their room? You sang and sang, while they tossed and turned, and your voice went hoarse.
Or will they remember when you lost it and yelled for the 5th time that morning...When you screamed at them, when you totally knew better, and wanted to do better.
In the very bad weeks, you wonder why the heck you signed up for this. And start to question if there is a better way...You run through all the scenarios, all the things you could change.. Go back to work, keep them home, have Daddy become the stay at home parent. And its always good to reevaluate regularly, to get perspective.
But maybe, you need to swallow the humble pie and the lessons learned. The biggest lesson being, you need some grace too.
I think I've failed all my "I would nevers". I see, looking back, my pride I am not one to judge in a black and white sense. But in my mushy grey way, I would make judgements. I would feel sad for the poor unenlightened parent. And then reality wore me down, dealing with the same mind numbing and frustrating scenarios day after day...Night after molar-teething-sleep-deprivation-torture after molar-teething-sleep-deprivation-torture night.
The reality? We can't judge anyone... I know we want something concrete. We, or I should be using *I* for all of my yous (but I wanna hide and hope I'm not alone, okay?)..I want to know This is how it IS. You do X...You get Y. But children aren't math equations, and some days just suck.
Some times you just snap. Damn the tool box!!! BAH! to respect! This kid is driving me CRAZY!!! And you fail, big time.
My point... you can focus on your failures, or you can celebrate your triumphs.
Celebrate the times where you handled the squabble with your preschoolers in a hands off respectful way. The time you all walked away with new knowledge and prepared for the next time.
Celebrate the fact that your 4 year old trusts you enough to tell you to "take a breath" when she can see you're frustrated. And you do, and you strengthen relationship instead of demean.
Celebrate when you remember to breath and slow down and embrace the chaos.
When you listen first and speak softly.
Celebrate getting through a bad day, even if the only thing you have is that tomorrow is a, "fresh day with no mistakes in it". Don't worry about the "yet"!
Hold your ideals. But in the end, LOVE. Celebrate love. And love other parents you see struggling. Love them and keep your judgmental thoughts in check. Love them, because that's where they are at in that moment.
It is because of love that our kiddos are so forgiving. Their forgiveness blows me away. Your fumbling and bumbling wont break it...If you're doing your best to love.
It's kind of like a good diet. They say if you eat 80% really great stuff, you will still thrive when 20% not so great is present.
I'm applying that to parenting. 80% love and 20% grace. You're doing a great job.
Keep loving...yourself too!
Take time for yourself.
When all else fails, use TV.
|Who couldn't lovethis?|