We’re running late for school; someone can’t find shoes; I didn’t sign a paper, which was never given to me, but somehow it’s my fault; 2 of the 4 are fighting over something, we’re in the van on our way to school and I’ve had enough!! “HEY!!”, I yell, “KNOCK it off!! I’m tired of your fighting, of getting blamed for EVERYTHING that goes wrong in your life and anything else you’ve thrown at me this morning!!” The van gets quiet. We pull up to the school, as the kids are getting out I say, “Love you, have a good day.” (eye roll, nice one mom) That sinking feeling of, “Well, that went well… NOT!”
Yeah, this is me. At some point or another I blow it. BIG time. And I keep score. I know all the times I’ve messed up, blown up or sworn in my head at my little angels… I’m the adult here, why can’t I act like it sometimes???
When my Kindergartner started doing kid writing at school (that’s when they begin to write sentences and sound out words) it really frustrated her because she didn’t get it right the first couple times. She felt stupid and didn’t want to do it anymore. My response to her was, “You’re learning! You’re not going to get it right all the time. The more you do it, the better you’ll get at it. So keep at it.” Hum… wonder why this is ok for her and not for ME???
Isn’t this a learning experience for me too? I’ve never done this parenting thing before. It’s the only job you’ll have where the past experience line says, “NONE WHATSOEVER” and you get the job anyway! And parenting is always changing depending on the phase you are in. So why do I hold myself to this “always do it perfect the first time” mentality. Why do I not allow myself margin for error. Would I allow my kids to keep score of how many times they’ve messed up on math, reading or whatever? No! I’d say, “Look, you’re doing better than you were before. You’re improving! Fantastic!”
What if I told myself the same thing. “Go easy on yourself, you’re learning. You’re not going to get it right all the time. Always strive for better, but allow yourself the grace to see improvement. And LET go of the times you’ve gotten it wrong. Learn from them, but DON’T let it determine your future success.” Hum..I wonder how that would change not only how I act, but how I feel about myself as a mom? And in turn, how would that be reflected in those “I’m going to break something!” moments I seem to face on a daily basis?
This parenting thing still seems new to me, even with 4 kids! I feel like I’m always facing something new and unexpected. So what do I do with it? One word comes to mind. Grace. Extend grace to myself. Allow for failure but don’t expect it. Look to those who have already “done” this and get advice, ideas, prayer from them! As a new mom, 10 years ago, I was terrified of asking for advice because I thought it was a sign of, “I can’t handle it”… WRONG! Asking for help or advice is powerful. It takes the feeling that you’re in this alone, out of the equation. We’re not alone! There are moms everywhere who are feeling the same way. Reach out! Share your failures, laugh at yourself and pray for each other. This has been huge in my life! And that one powerful word. Grace…. be gracious to yourself. Extend it lavishly. We’re all students of life. Learning as we go. Doing our best and celebrating the small triumphs one moment at a time.
I know I’ll still have those “van” moments when I loose it. But the HOPE I have is that God is perfecting who he made me to be. I’m learning as I go. I’m asking for help when needed. I’m NOT accepting the lie that I’m a failure. I’m pushing myself for better. BUT extending grace to myself… a child of God whose NOT perfect, but learning!
“There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.” Philippians 1:6 ~The Message