Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Love 'em right.

This can be so hard!

Don't misunderstand: I knew what we were getting into.  When our big one was an angelic one year old and people would comment on her, I knew it wasn't forever; there were tougher times to come.  I was right.  (It must have been a Tuesday; I have often claimed to be pseudo-psychic on Tuesdays.  Jk.)

All of us deal with it at some point.  Some children act like lunatics who have no parents out in public.  We've all seen the children throwing things in the grocery store, or trying to climb into the elephant exhibit at the zoo.  These are (usually) not my children.  They may be your children; no judgement from me.  I am out in public to escape my house.  My children choose to act out at home.  Whining, crying, crawling, negotiating, whining, sneaking, slamming, whining, running.  Did I mention negotiations?  And whining?  Oh!  It is just blah!  We are choosing to fight the battles - a lot of battles - now when they are little, in hopes that when they're big they know how to act.  (Pipe dream, I know.)  So we ignore the whining and the big one gets nothing "until you can use your big girl words."  This is a sentence I say about 138 times each day.  Last week we were home sick most of the time, so probably more often then.  Perhaps that is why I am feeling all of the annoyances today; all of it built up last week and now I need a long run or a long nap or a good shopping trip to get rid of my parenting self-pity.  

All of us deal with it.  We will deal with children who don't know how to act now, or later, or much later, or (more likely) during several stages of childhood.  (I pray that's when we deal with it, and not when they are grown.  But that's neither here nor there.)

It is so tempting to go it alone.  To not share with your spouse that you totally lost your temper.  To not share that your kids kick and scream at times.  To pretend that your 3 year old did not do time out 4 times before lunch.  To keep it to yourself that you are petrified of losing your kids.  To not tell any other people that your child prefers to be naked in public.  (Ahem.  I may be the mother of the only naked ballerina.)  No one wants to be the mother who fails to do ______.

Parenting is too hard to do alone.  To not share it with others.  To not realize and remember that others' kids try to negotiate their way through bedtime like a seasoned politician through peace talks, just like yours.  Y'all.  We are not alone.  You are not alone.

My friend Denise is the best.  She thinks she is silly and flippant, but she is so wise.  She says we need to quit worrying about when the days are nightmare days and we are so worried about "raising them right."  Sometimes we just need to love our kids right.  To parent with grace and love, and make sure our discipline, when needed, comes out of that.  

In this era of such crazy nonsense as Pinterest Envy, Mommy Wars and Parenting Righteousness, let's come alongside one another and lose the judgement.  Not just of one another, but of ourselves.  And our kids.  Who cares what your kid is wearing, or mine?  I don't care if your table cloth matches the plates and balloons at little Sally's birthday party.  Did you make a cake that can barely stand up?  Serve it proudly! Who cares if my little has a third bruise on her forehead and she dislocated her elbow yesterday?  (True story, by the way.)  Give yourself and your neighbor a little slack.  Did your little decide to wear rain boots to church and you showed up 30 minutes late with peanut butter on your shirt?  Good job; you got into the car in one piece and with everyone fed.  Sometimes that just deserves a medal.  At the end of the day, this is my dream job that I never even dreamed of having.  In the hardest of moments, I am still living out the biggest of blessings.  When all the battles are over (or at least on hiatus until tomorrow), we are building / rearing / raising a person.  It's okay that this is hard.  I think it's supposed to be.  I am fighting for my children's hearts.

We are not just fighting for our family.  We are fighting for our group's, for our people.  So let's fight.  Let me fight for you, and you for me when I need it.  When I am tempted to stand in the middle of my mess of laundry and cry hot tears of frustration because I just screwed up the parenting job again, I will remind myself of who's I am.  Let us remind ourselves and each other that Jesus already won the good fight - the one that matters.  That because of His great goodness and mercy and grace, we can be called God's precious children.  On the days that we are awesome at what we do, and on the days when we are not so awesome.  He is faithful when we are failing and not so faithful.  When I gave my heart to Him, He made it new, and that's what He sees.

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