I'd love to say that I have this parenting thing down, but most days I don’t. I wouldn’t trade being a stay-at-home mom right now for anything, but there are days that I wish I could be somewhere else. It goes in waves, a couple weeks will go by, and life is manageable. But every so often I come to my breaking point. And when I hit that point, it always seems to happen out in front of people right? Like at Target or something, and I look like that parent who is the crazy one getting stared at by tons of people because of the scene my kids and I have created. Or at least it seems like that. :)
In the midst of the valley that I feel like I am at the bottom of, I find it is usually when I learn the most. When I am at the end of myself, I have to ask for help, strength, and wisdom. I learn quickly that I should be asking for those things on a regular basis in the first place. Like learning to hold my tongue before I say something nasty to one of my children, or to take a breath before I lose my temper.
And for some reason, I see things more clearly. With my eyes finally fixed on Jesus, He shows me things that I might not have seen before. Like an underlying reason my child is acting out, or not to push an issue anymore because of an insecurity they might be dealing with. Or there might be a better way I can learn to deal with each of my children, how I can respond better to each particular one. He has taught me how important it is to pray for my kids. I've learned that relying on Jesus to help me parent gives me what I need each day, and makes me more effective. I miss so many things when I am focused on myself.
A beautiful thing I have also learned at the end of myself, is that it is okay to be real. It is a total lie that I have myself together any day of the week. It is easy sometimes to pretend that I do though. I struggle to stay calm after the fifth time I have told them to do something, but they still aren't listening. I yell at them sometimes when I shouldn’t. I want to be a loving mom, but there are times when I don’t want them touching me because I feel like they have been crawling all over me ALL DAY! My sympathy isn’t always there, and some days I just want to tell them to suck it up. ;) None of this is easy to admit, but I am finding more and more that I am not the only one who feels this way. It takes a huge weight off of my shoulders when I stop pretending everything is alright, and admit to the Lord that I am not doing well. For some reason there is freedom to be real, despite everything that has gone wrong.
The final thing I feel I have learned is that rock bottom is not the end. Even when I fall, I can get back up again. Jesus helps me stand back up, and keep on going. And no matter how many times I feel I have failed, there is grace. It surprises me every time how receptive my kids are when I tell them I am sorry. And honestly, I think it sets a good example for them to follow.
Parenting is never easy, but the Lord has never failed me once when I needed Him.
Remember to let Jesus help you parent before you reach rock bottom.