As parents, we have moments where we can’t help but pat ourselves on the back for a job well done (what’s that? you ate the dinner that I didn’t burn, without complaint or bribery??? Score). Aaaaaand there are those moments where parent-fail doesn’t even scratch the surface. I’m talking about more than burnt dinners (check), temper tantrums (us, not our kids) and the various other things in our daily struggles that you don’t see on Facebook or talk about in your circles because you feel like you’re the only one drowning in the parent pool and don’t understand why God gave the gift of parenting to you when you seem to fall flat on your face every waking moment of some of your days (check, check, check, check, double check). You know those days: kids are up way too early, you went to bed way too late; you have baby puke in your hair that you haven’t washed in a week, your clothes are more tattered than your nerves and coffee now has its own line in your budget (that you can’t for the life of you balance anyway).
Parenting is tough and it’s a lifelong commitment that we sign up for, sometimes 3 or 4 times over. I don’t know about you but parenting my kids, though rewarding, breaks me daily. It reminds me that I’m no where near perfect and cannot handle this responsibility in my own strength. I simply do not have it. The thing I struggle with most? Patience.
I am NOT a patient person. I’ve never been patient with myself and I certainly am not a pillar of patience for my kids. This was made ever so clear to me yesterday when I was getting my kids ready for preschool drop-off. I will freely admit that with the Little Lady not sleeping well at night (up 2-3 times for the past 2ish weeks after months of sleeping 10 solid hours. *tears*), my own bout of insomnia as of late and the fatigue that comes with both, I have been a touch testy. Throw in some good ol’ lady hormones and it’s a wonder I have any friends some days. I won’t go so far to say I’m a hot mess but the temperature has definitely been rising.
So throw in a grumpy mom who hasn’t had breakfast yet and whose coffee is already wearing off, a baby who doesn’t sleep and just smiles at you as if saying “I win” and a 3 and 5 year old who give new definition to the term “dawdle” and you have the makings of a mommy-meltdown. And sure enough…meltdown I did. Repeatedly. I lost track of the number of times I barked at the boys to hurry up, quit dawdling (“what’s dawdoo mean mama?” *pulls hair out*) and get moving. In short, my nerves were so frazzled I’m sure there was electricity sparking out of my head. When it came time to get my oldest at school, I was one “But Mama…” away from nuclear explosion. And there is was…boom. The result was a minimally restrained outburst on my unsuspecting 3 year old that, only by God’s grace, was I able to keep half of what was going through my brain from coming out of my mouth. It was not my finest moment. And sadly, it was not my worst moment either. And all because my 3 year old was, well, being a 3 year old.
Do you know what’s harder than realizing you’re acting every bit the child that you’re trying to parent? Knowing that you need to apologize to said child for being everything you’re telling them not to be.
Anyone else had those humbling moments? They royally suck. My word…my heart broke a million times over in that moment because I broke a little piece of his heart and I felt powerless to mend it.
Thankfully, kids are more resilient than we are. By lunchtime, you’d never know what had transpired earlier and even though I still had that horrible aftertaste, he didn’t. He was back to his usual bouncy, mischievous little self. Thank the good Lord for that.
Anyone else have some parent fails this week? Let’s offer ourselves a little grace in it because this is a tough job and we’re not designed to do it perfectly.