I botched it today. Totally lost my cool with my kids. It had been bottling up inside me for a long time, and in that moment it actually felt good to get it out. They stared at me like I’d lost my mind, but really my self-control was the deserting factor. Once I’d cooled down, my first thought was that I needed to apologize to them. The second thought I had was to justify myself by lecturing them on all the reasons why I blew up. And the third thought I had was that I shouldn’t be blogging. About parenting anyway.
For the last couple of days I’ve been asking people in different areas of life for advice in practical ways to avoid messes, to keep the house tidy, to teach the kids responsibility. The answers I get are sometimes conflicting, sometimes helpful, sometimes discouraging, and almost always confusing to me. Because I want to figure out what is THE best. And I’m sure I’ll pick the wrong choice and mess up my kids. Or because it seems like I’ve already picked the wrong method and am already ruining my kids. Hearing how they do things makes me feel like I’m failing. I’m a failure at parenting.
And this failure of a mom is blogging. Telling you how to raise your kids.
Back when I was in college, I remember feeling like I was failing at life. In fact, I cried out to God in my 1993 silver Toyota Camry, barreling down the interstate with tears streaming down my face, “God, I am SUCH a failure!” (I’m also melodramatic.)
I knew I was screwing up His plans for me. I was sure I’d let Him down. My life couldn’t possibly be making Him happy at the moment. And you know what? He talked back to me. That was shocking. But even more so were His words:
“Yes, Audrey; yes, you are.”
I remember looking up to the sky, briefly raising my hands off the steering wheel in disbelief, and utterly stopping the sobs. “What??!”
He oh-so-gently and kindly reminded me, “You are a failure, but I am your A.” That was so huge to me, to realize that it wasn’t up to me to pass the test. Or to graduate from life with flying colors. Or even to figure out which course to take. That was His job.
And it’s true in parenting. I know some of you may not be Christians, and all of this may sound a little weird to you, but I just had to come back to the roots of it all. I will absolutely bomb parenting. I can’t possibly ace every situation, when I try to reach perfection, it will simply create dissatisfaction and discouragement in my heart, which is even worse for my kids.
So what’s the solution? Shrug it all off and give up, because why try if we know we’ll fail? I don’t think so.
For me, the answer is simple.
I need to live my days fully. Watch my children closely. Delight in them deeply. Enter in to their joys and sorrows, listen to whatever they want to talk about. Stop lecturing and start loving. Stop trying to figure out the method and just be a mama.
(And keep blogging, because I’m hoping we can all figure this out together.)
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