Thoughts such as, What exact life choices have I made that have led me to manically reheat my morning coffee eighteen times before I finish a full mug? Or, When is the last time I have peed at my own pace without being disturbed or answering someone's question by yelling through the door? Or, a favorite of mine, How exactly did I end up eating leftovers huddled over the kitchen sink so that I didn't have to wash an extra plate?
Real classy stuff.
If any of these precious notions have entered your own brain, rest assured - you're in good company.
Too many times, multiple times throughout my day in fact, I find myself questioning how in the world I ended up in the life I'm living. It's not a regrettable thought process. I'm not droning on and on with complaints or groaning and grumbling (well, I have my moments). But, I'm just amazed at how vastly different my day-to-day life looks compared to what I may have thought 5 or 10 years ago.
Parenthood is different for everyone, but if I've learned one thing in the last several years, it's this: all parenting is HARD. It's a ridiculous amount of work that is exhausting and rewarding and we are pressured into thinking that it is always, always, always worthwhile. I mean, it is (right?) but knowing that we're raising the world's next difference-makers doesn't make the fact that they just hit their sister or are screaming Disney song tunes at the top of their lungs any easier to bear.
PARENTING IS HARD. It require unreasonable patience, insurmountable compassion, and unattainable energy that no one can dare prepare you for. The other day I was thinking how no one in the universe would become a parent if they truly knew what they were getting into. And, then I realized what a perfect
So many times (as I nibble my pizza leftovers into the sink) I feel like God is shoving opportunity in my face that I am frustratingly choosing to either take part in or step back from. Matilda bursts into tears over Daphne taking her toy and I can a) Scream at Daphne and give Matilda her toy back b) Yell at them both to be quiet c) Put someone in time-out d) Throw the toy away e) take a deep breath, look my children in their eyes and explain the concept of sharing AGAIN and talk them through the reconciliation in a calm and civil manner.
Clearly E is the best choice. If only life were a multiple choice test that I could willingly step back from and fill in the answer to in a quiet setting (never before did I long for such tranquility as sitting and taking an exam) then my children would have the mother I hoped to give them. You with me???
But, life is not to simple. Life is disastrous and loud and obnoxious and I fill it with more mistakes than I'd like to admit. Sometimes I just want to eat my cold lunch in peace and AWAY from the critters that hang on me. That's okay. We all need a moment (lots of moments).
There's several habits I'd love to break in the new year (less TV, more dinners at the table, less frustration, more gratitude) but, most of all I just want to expose the fact that HEY - WE ARE TRYING and most of us are raising normal, wonderful children who are acting like blithering monsters half the time. These are the difference-makers of tomorrow, and it's okay that their mom reheats her coffee yet again because she was busy cleaning cat vomit off the Christmas tree skirt.
As you ponder your resolutions for the new year, won't you join me in extending a little extra grace to yourself? Part of being a parent is not being perfect. Part of being a human is needing Jesus. I have to remind myself of this constantly, and it helps me make it moment by moment. These times are going to slip away quickly, I don't want to waste any time faking it as a mom. Keeping it real is keeping it classy when it comes to parenthood.