Friday, June 14, 2013

This is Parenting...

Lately I've been getting up early to go on a long walk before my kids wake up. (My pregnant body seems to appreciate walking a whole lot more than weight lifting and Insanity DVDs. Go figure.) I absolutely love this time. The air is cool. No one is stirring about yet. And I have an amazing view of the whole Silicon Valley. I've been using the time to listen to worship music and pray.

I think about my boys a lot while I'm walking. I think about how the day went yesterday and what we have in store for today. I feel bad about the moments I fussed at one of them over something insignificant and smile as I remember funny comments they said. I pray great big world-changing prayers on their behalf while they sleep peacefully in their beds. And it is amazing to me just how much I love them while I'm out there walking.

Then I get home.

They typically wake up right about the same time I get home and, Folks, sometimes it's not too pretty.

You see, my kids gross me out multiple times a day. They show me lugees on their tongue as I lean down to kiss them. They fart really loud and then ask if I like their new perfume. They put things in their mouths that explain why God gave us white blood cells.

Not only that, but my kids can suck peace out of a room faster than that squirrel ran across my kitchen floor. Andy could have just enjoyed an hour long time alone with God while I basked the serenity of my walk. Peacefulness is radiating throughout our home until that bedroom door crashes open and out they roll. They may kick each other full force in the stomach and then stare blankly at me when the other one starts crying. They snatch toys, they laugh at their own meanness, and gleefully do things to make the other person mad.

On top of this, there is the element of their childishness. They can make a mess in 5 minutes that will take 45 minutes to clean up. They tell jokes that don't make sense and aren't funny but require a pleasant response (over and over and over). They lose library books, break things, and get stains on their brand new clothes. They require the same verbal instructions way more times than I deem necessary and take an excessively long time to do simple tasks. They are opinionated, demanding, and have put me in the category of waitress, maid, and chauffeur.

I began to see a pattern forming. Every morning I would pray these wonderful prayers about who God wants me to be as a mom and what He is shaping in my children's lives. Every morning I would have expectations of peace, joy, and laughter in our family. "Today," I determine, "I will enjoy my kids. They are my gifts from God." But then by the end of breakfast, I'm contemplating escape plans.

What went wrong?

I found myself reflecting on this question as I washed up the breakfast dishes, disgusted with the way the last 30 minutes had just unfolded. And then a thought popped in my head.

"This is parenting."

I like to think of parenting as Bible stories before bedtime, trips to Yogurtland, picnics at the playground, family movie nights, and wrestling matches in the living room. I like the way my children look when they're sleeping or laughing or focused on constructing something out of Legos. I like it when they play independently or peacefully with each other for extended periods of time.

Yes, that's the kind of parenting I signed up for.

But that's not the whole of parenting. Parenting is also rough edges of personalities, awkward quirks that drive you nuts, bad attitudes, lack of gratitude, cleaning up messes, and laundry. Oh, the laundry!

It's the whole kit & caboodle. You can't have one without the other. It is glorious and it is humiliating. It is energizing and it is draining. The same children that make you smile will make you cry, and those who fill up your heart can also break it.

This is parenting.

God is using them to refine us just as He is using us to train them. 

So, if you've ever wondered, "Shouldn't I be enjoying this more? What is wrong with me? What is wrong with my kids?" just know, you are not alone. You are a parent, and this is parenting. 


Chris and Karen said...

Very well stated, Stacey! I'm right there with you, thanks for the reminder that this is parenting.

Vanessa said...

I very rarely get on my laptop to do anything, I opened it up just now to send an invoice on paypal because the ap on my phone wasn't working. anyway, I wanted to thank you for posting this. I have had a rough (more than usual) 2 weeks with my youngest and was talking to my husband about it. I choose to be a stay at home mom because I believe it is the best for our kids but lately I haven't been so sure. I talked to another mom practically in tears about this subject and she assured me I'm not alone. I love my kids more than I can express and want to enjoy my time with them. It really goes by so fast. I realize that often the goal of everyone on social media is to look like the perfect family with perfect lives and perfect kids. This is why I am beating myself up for feeling frustrated with my kids! I need to pray about this and let myself of the hook. I love being a mom and I need to accept every part of it. the good and the bad. thanks so much for being transparent and know that you helped me a great deal with this.

Cristine said...


Mandy said...

So good; so true.

Emily said...

i'm a month into summer vacation with both kids at home--ALL DAY LONG--and i needed to read this post this morning! thanks, stacie!