Category Archives: Parenting

I have a confession…

Parenting sucks. 
And not just in the trenches of gross and dirty (like my nephew spilling milk all over my sister’s car, including his current favorite stuffed animal) but also in the daily questioning of how the choices you’ve made in your parenting style is working as you try to raise a decent human being. I, like you, am right there. In the gross and mundane life of littles but breaking out into a new realm of a child that can understand more than basic boundaries and trying to figure out how the best way to parent this stage. 

But I’m getting ahead of myself a little. I need to be honest about me. I’m not perfect. (Shocking I know) But seriously, I’m not – and thankfully God has decided to show me how not perfect I am and meet me in this place of brokenness.  

I have a control problem. 

Recent studies in Judges and about Lent (and a class for our fostering license) have caused a microscope to be directed at me and I haven’t liked what I’ve seen. Specifically relating to some aspects of how I parent my kids.
See, when you want to be in control and that control is taken from you and or faced with 5 year old stubborn, for example, you yell. And it’s never the straight to the point logical yell. It’s the over the top, I’ve started and I’m going to finish this, I’m in charge and you’ll listen to me or else yell. The problem with this yell is it doesn’t do anything but relieve (for about 5 secs) the anger and frustration of not being in control.

Because after this yell you look at your child and you see their countenance fall and you feel the guilt of crushing their little heart a little and then…then you feel horrible. Then you feel guilty. But although you’ve reached guilty your still holding on to that control.

The scenario above has happened too many times in my house. And in those studies I’ve mentioned of Judges and Lent God showed me how wrong I was. And that although my flex is to respond that way I don’t have to anymore. And that control I long to squeeze tightly to my chest, doesn’t belong to me either. 

The day I realized I was a sinner and gave my life to Jesus was the day control was given to Him. Technically it was always His; But that was the moment the old ways of my life were no longer a part of me and I was a new creation in Him. 

It took until a few weeks ago for me to realize that new creation doesn’t have to yell. That yelling wasn’t just “who I was” and therefore my cross to bare. It was  another piece of my life I needed to release to Him. 

So recently – I’ve stopped yelling. I’m having to re-train my brain to stop and use the tools given before communicating with my kids. Tools like counting to 3 before responding, being sure to actually talk and listen to them, to get to their level by sitting next to them or kneeling down, and more but you get the picture. I’m not 100% successful but I’ve been able to stop myself in the middle of yelling and take a break so that I can return to a calm state before dealing with the kids.

How can I expect them to respond rationally and logically if I’m not doing that either?!

The hard part of all this is my kids have learned to ignore mom until she yells and to yell at each other, so they are being re-trained too. To communicate their anger, frustration, sadness. And to learn their own ways of finding their calm state before continuing the conversation. Or to come and get mom or dad if their try at working it out hasn’t worked. 

I want my kids to grow up responsible, kind, caring, willing to stick up for others, with integrity, and so on human beings. But if I crush the little parts that can grow into those characteristics I’m not doing it right. And now that my oldest is 6, he’s old enough to start thinking of the “why” he did whatever he did from the heart aspect. And yelling at him leaves no room for communication. Just makes him defensive and closed off. The same thing it would do to an adult. This is what needs to change. 

It’s a process. And it’s tough. Now that I’ve been shown this fault of mine I can’t ignore it. Their face when I started to yell is etched in my brain and is what I see when I feel my anger rising. So I keep at it. I pray daily for God’s guidance and help. Each day is a new day. And with every new day of a this new mom, my kids can become the little humans they are intended to be. Learning the tools as kids I’m learning at 31. 

A Moment in the Trenches

It’s 11:30am. Thank you Jesus!

Baby boy is finally sleeping. I’m going crazy! I totally forgot about this stage (14 months). He’s so busy, obsessed with being outside, and wants to snack every second, but he can’t do any of it by himself! He loves to swing, but the swing isn’t going to move itself. We don’t have any soft grass in our backyard. He could hurt himself out on the rocks. He doesn’t know how to steer the big car he loves to push around. The water table keeps his attention for two minutes. Then, he wants to move around the other riding toys he is not big enough for. Frustration arises from him every time he wants to do something but is then hit with the reality that he is not capable yet. Try to take him back inside though, and he will let you know that that is NOT where he wants to be.

Lord, help me. I feel like I’m going to jump out of my skin. I can’t walk that car with him another second. His smile is so big splashing the water around, but now there is so much on the floor. I can’t go too far because the cement is now very slippery and I might have to protect his head any second. Please stop the whining at every frustration. I know he’s just one, but can’t he accept the things he can’t do yet? I know he can’t, but I don’t have the patience for this.

It’s getting hot, and I want to go inside. It’s been an hour or so. We are going inside. Everybody drink water and snacks for the kids.

Did I finish my coffee? Husband texted about something important. Be an encouraging wife. I can barely think right now though. I’ll answer when I can think more clearly. Don’t want to make an impression that I don’t care about this. Lord, be with my husband right now.

Oh gosh, baby boy is flailing, trying to tell me he wants out of his high chair. But dude, you’re hungry!! Grr, he won’t eat. Fine, I’ll get him out. He walks straight to the pantry. “Dat” he says. Telling me he wants something in there, aka he’s hungry. AHH! Then why wouldn’t you eat in your chair? Fine, I’ll grab the snack and spread it out on the ottoman and he can move while he eats, since clearly it is currently against his morals to sit still and eat.

Ok. Maybe I can go tidy up the kitchen a little bit. Sister is in their watching a show on the iPad while she eats her snack. I can keep an eye on her.

Not even five seconds later, in walks baby boy. He pauses, then walks to the pantry. “Dat.” NO! I already gave you your snack! Come on! Back I walk him to the ottoman. “OH! Right!” His little brain kicks in. “I like this snack.” Good. I head back to the kitchen. Three seconds later. In walks baby brother. He pauses, then walks to the pantry.

Oh dear Jesus, PLEASE help me.

Looks like I need to sit next to his snack so he stays and eats. So much for cleaning up the kitchen. I’ll try again later. Sister should be fine. She’s captivated by the show. Baby boy seriously can’t stay still, but he won’t play with anything. The only way he will play is if I’m next to him or engage in toy with him. Dare I walk away and the wining, tears, screams, or pulling at my leg begins.

Lord, I don’t want to sit here! I have things to do. Plus, I’ve barley spent time with older sister all morning. I need to give her attention too. She’s been really good today. I need to reward that. She has wanted and needed so much attention these days. I want to continue to teach her that she has my attention during the good times and not just when she acts out or acts like a baby. She’s almost four. Growing up quick! The numbers of days I have left with her feel like they are slipping away faster than usual. Instead, she’s had the iPad for a while now, other than our outside time. But she won’t play outside unless I’m out there with her. It’s getting hot. I don’t want to be outside all day.

Lord, I can’t do this! I physically and emotionally cannot satisfy these two at the same time. I want to be a good mom to both of them. I hate having to pick one’s needs over the other. Please take care of my daughter while I’m with her brother.

Finally, it’s time for brother to nap. Now, I can spend time with her. Breathe.

Oh my gosh, I’m so hungry! What time did I eat breakfast? There is no needy baby. I should really make lunch right now. OH! There is still a little coffee left in the pot from this morning. I’m gonna heat that up. Wait, back to lunch. What am I gonna eat? I am so tired. I just want to go crash on the couch. I don’t want to cook anything. What can I do that won’t make more dishes?

Shoot! I haven’t texted my husband back yet. Lord, please still be with him. Help me remember to talk to him when the kids go to bed so he can have my undivided attention over this and see that I care and am listening.

A sandwich! Ugh. There are so many components to a sandwich. I want as few ingredients as possible. Breakfast burrito! No, that will make more dishes. Plus there are a lot of things you could put in that too. Screw it. Just eggs in a tortilla it is. Mmm, hello brownies from last night on the stove. I’ll just eat some of that. Ok, back to lunch. Oh, heat up that coffee. Now, lets make this egg and tortilla. Good enough. Scarf. Well, all that work for two seconds of eating. Pathetic.

Sister is still on the iPad.

Gosh, I’m a terrible mother today. I need to go spend time with her. But I’m so tired. I need a break. I REALLY need a shower! Girl doesn’t nap anymore. When am I supposed to have a break? Naptime is my only time for one on one with her though. As soon as brother wakes up, he sucks up all the attention. It’s not her fault. If I don’t get a moment to be alone though, I might loose it. Maybe if I write, get this all out, I’ll feel better.

 Worth a try, so I start typing.

 Lord, I need you so much today. I’m breaking down. I know the mother I need and want to be, but I don’t have it in me today. These all-consuming, nothing days, are sucking the life out of me. I know there is importance and significance to being the one to support and fill in for every one of my children’s needs that they are not capable of fulfilling themselves yet, but I’m on empty. Lord, please fill all MY holes. Cover this home with your grace, and within my husband and I, please fill us with a renewed energy. Grow our capacity for the mundane. I feel like I’m starting to suffocate in this home. My brain feels like mush. I can’t focus. THANK YOU, Lord, for being my example on just how to get through and do all of this by doing these exact things for me.

I hear baby boy crying through the monitor. Look up at the time- it’s 12:30pm. NO! It’s only been an hour. This cannot be all you sleep all day. “Mom I need help.” Now? You’ve barely needed me all morning. “Sorry honey, I’ll be right back. I need to try to get brother back to sleep.”

LORD, PLEASE CARRY ME!

 

**Welcome to about an hour inside my brain.  People can say all they want: “This too shall pass.” “Enjoy these days. They go quick. You’ll miss them.” But some days, weeks, or life phases are just flat out hard. Don’t feel bad about the struggle. I love my children more than anything. Being a stay at home mom is a choice I couldn’t live without, but the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I know the significance of this role and time, but I’m human. And some days I struggle hard.  This role of parenting requires so much selflessness that sometimes I feel like I’m suffocating and loosing my sense of self.  Those feelings set off this survival mode that immediately has me desperate for selfish things.  Things as simple as watching a TV show uninterrupted, to getting in a car and driving for who knows how long with my music blaring.  Through it all, I’m grateful for a Lord and Savior who covers and fills in for me as I wrestle through these moments.