I have already mentioned in a previous post that I haven’t made any New Years resolutions this year. I don’t see the point as it’s just too much pressure to try and keep one. Especially when you’re the parent of small children, right?
Instead, I’m focusing on one word (midst) which I hope will keep me centred throughout the year. This is the first post that I am writing, which focuses on this word, and I hope to write one each month for the rest of the year.
I, of all people, should be thankful for my children. It took me 5 years to conceive to have my first, and she was nothing short of a miracle when she came into this world. But do you know what? This parenting lark is hard. Oh my word! Hard is an understatement.
Don’t get me wrong, and please don’t judge me. I am thankful, but this doesn’t take away the fact that being a mother can feel a bit crappy at times.
I have three children and even though I brought up each child with the same type of boundaries, each child has their own traits and personalities. I may have relaxed a little with how far those boundaries stretched as each child came along.
You see, when you have your first child, you can tend to their needs as soon as they start crying. When the second child comes along (and the first child is only just 14 months old and starting to walk) tending to their needs takes a little longer when you need to find where the first child has got to!
By the time the third child comes along…and it’s a boy! Well, sod coming to him as soon as he cries! There’s no chance of that when all three kids are 3 years and under!
You’re trying to potty train child #1, whilst child #2 is walking into the mess that was left behind by child #1, at the same time as child #3 has now done an almighty poo that has managed to escape from the nappy that was meant to be the all-singing, all-dancing, keep-in-the-poo type of nappy!
Do you get the picture?
Those days were hard. These days are hard too, but they are different. Back in “those days” I lived on 3 hours sleep…for the first 3 years of my little boys life! Yeah, I lived on Red Bull, a whole lot of coffee and a whole heap of grace to give me more than wings!
It’s better now as I get double the amount of sleep, so it does get easier in that sense, but you meet different challenges. What do I face now? Well, as children get older, they learn how to become independent.
Great! Fantastic! They can now wipe their own backsides.
They also learn how to talk and read…and answer you back!
Children seem to have this special skill, you may call it a gift, where they are able to engage in discussions and put across their point of view in such a way that it’s hard to argue back with them without shouting.
It’s like they have already been to debating lessons and they could easily beat those contestants on the TV hands down. Where do they get this from? It’s like they have secret lessons in their dreams on how to converse with parents and win an argument.
You may be feeling like me in these moments…
You may have lost the battle tonight and you’ve lost a little more hair (either by tearing it out or it’s gone grey).
You may have shouted so loudly that the spiders that were hiding in the crevices daren’t come out at the moment.
Maybe, just maybe, you just let it all out and cried. I’m not talking about a little sniffle, but that ugly cry where you just had to let it all go.
It’s ok. Let it all out. And if they see you? So what! It shows that you are more than just a mother, but you are a mother that cares. It’s ok.So what if you cry. It shows that you are more than just a mother, but you are a mother that cares. Click To Tweet
I want to encourage you right now. You may be feeling like you’re the worst parent in the world. Take these words in (and don’t worry, I’m preaching them to myself too)…
You are not a bad parent. You are just a parent that is having a bad day.
Do you feel like people are watching you when you are at the end of your tether with your child? Or, do you think that they are judging you in one way or another? I can often feel like this when everything seems to be going wrong. Chances are, people around me haven’t even noticed what is going on – it’s just my mind working overtime. And boy, does my mind work at a heck of a speed sometimes.
Even if there is that one person that looks at you from the corner of their eye, guess what? They don’t really know what is going on, do they? They don’t really know what you have been going through that morning. They don’t know that for the umpteenth time you told your child to keep away from their sister, and to that person glaring at you from across the room they only saw it for the first time.
Yes, I had all these thoughts, and it was when I was at church one Sunday. I felt like I was losing it and that I really wasn’t good enough to bring up my children. In my mind, I was failing.
This is where it needs to stop though.
I said this earlier, it’s not an easy task bringing up any child, and it’s not like there is a rule book that you need to go by, or some perfect technique that needs mastering. No! This is one of those “learn-as-you-go” type of jobs. There may be plenty of wrong ways, but there is no “one” right way of doing it.
When those thoughts of failing as a parent pop into your head (and mine), we need to pop them right back out and give ourselves the grace that we need…the grace that we deserve. Knowing that God has an immeasurable amount of grace helps me to get through to the end of the day and to start the next one afresh.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Something to think about…
Do you ever feel in those moments where everything seems to be going wrong and as a mother you feel like you have failed? Take some time out, even if it’s sitting the children in front of the TV for 5 minutes to lock yourself in the bathroom. Whatever you need to do, take the time to give yourself some love and grace and remember that God is in the midst of our motherhood.
Lord, in these moments where I feel I’m just clinging on to the end of the rope and I’m struggling to hold on, may you be there to catch me when I feel I am going to fail. Support me with your love and hold me together with your grace. Amen.