Parenting Is Hard
These are the days of difficult parenting. This has been a difficult parenting week. Bad attitudes, tired bodies, and short tempers have taken up a lot of space in our home. Small issues have grown increasingly larger and often I’ve felt the pang of failure as a mom.
I used to view parenting through the lens of my children’s behaviors. Perhaps I never verbalized my attachment to this particular parenting model, but I certainly believed it. My kids’ positive behaviors and choices were proof I was doing my job as a mom with success. Their negative behaviors and choices, however, would send me reeling with emotional fear and distress, certain I was failing.
My son throws a massive temper tantrum, my daughter has 5 cavities, my son speaks disrespectfully towards another adult—all scenarios that have left me feeling helpless and frustrated. I think all parents have felt this way—plagued with worry, disappointment, and shall I admit, embarrassment, amidst our children’s struggles and behavioral issues.
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Changing My Parenting Perspective
One thing I’m learning that has changed my parenting perspective and shifted the dynamic of our home is the truth that my kids’ negative behaviors are actually a gift and not a curse.
I know it doesn’t often feel that way. Hang with me for a moment.
People are imperfect.
After 39 years of life I’m a little wiser, a little more compassionate and hopefully much more mature, but still imperfect and still learning what it means to be a better human each day. Even as an adult, it’s hard to make good choices—It takes time, energy and effort. Learning from my own mistakes oftentimes takes an incredible amount of discipline and grace from myself and others.
But as I look back on my life, I realize it is through the process of making a lot of mistakes that I’ve had the opportunity to grow and mature.
I too have struggled with feeling prideful and superior.
I too have used hurtful words and imposed my will over others.
I too have made poor choices and disrespected those around me.
And if I’m being honest, I still do sometimes. I shudder when I remember things I’ve said and done to hurt others. But by divine grace I also remember how those moments of ugliness revealed areas in my life that needed to change for my sake and for the sake of those around me. My failures and mistakes were actually an opportunity, a choice – A choice to apologize and admit I was wrong. A choice to learn and do better next time. A choice to say yes to what is good, right, and kind. A choice to think of others instead of only myself.
This week has been tough. And next week might be too. My kids will still struggle. They will still have bad attitudes, temper tantrums, and discipline issues. And I will still fight feelings of disappointment, frustration and embarrassment in my parenting journey. And while I can’t say I’m usually happy to be having a hard parenting week, I am thankful. I’m thankful their struggles and negative behaviors are revealing areas in their lives that need help, correction, and compassion. I’m so thankful to be on their team, rooting and guiding them towards growth and maturity.
RELATED TOPIC: Set the WIN and Never WONDER
Encouragement For Hard Parenting Days
Following in the footsteps of Emily P Freeman: for the mamas out there who are also having a tough parenting week…
These are the days.
These are the days of dirty dishes and messy updos.
These are the days of coughs and colds and snuggling on the couch while watching too much TV.
These are the days of raging teen hormones and family movie nights.
These are the days of setting firm boundaries and giving big hugs.
These are the days of hard weeks and new morning mercies.
These are the days of extra ice coffee and extra long bedtime conversations.
These are the days of searching for goodness when it feels like there’s none.
These are the days we grieve our expectations of perfection and embrace the beautiful mess of being a mother.