stuff's about to get real. {parenting older children}

Can I let you in on a little secret to giving yourself grace while parenting kids five and under?  They won't remember it.  Don't sweat it so much.

I find it hilariously awesome that God, in all His wisdom, did not give us the ability to recall much of life before the age of five-seven or so.  Do you know the heaps of grace that gives a new, tired mother who is still figuring out how to do this parenting thing?  In all honesty I feel like I am JUST barely getting to the place in life where I can offer any sort of wisdom to new moms, now with 12 years combined experience under my belt but before now and still mostly, I feel like I am still getting the hang of it.  Every day a new challenge, a new question to answer or moral to pass along. 

But I'll tell you what, that flailing around panic of ruining my children has subsided a lot.  I don't question my choices as much, I don't need anyone's approval of how we parent, I believe (usually) in my parenting ability and don't find myself wanting to run away, alone, nearly as often.  I have spent these first years as a mom sinking myself into the best foundation I could find, Him.  I have tunneled into every crack and crevice of His love and mercy that I could find, enmeshed myself in Him and who He says I am.  I am (generally) swimming in calmer waters.  

This calmness.  This more "togetherness".  This lack of crazy...I do not find it a coincidence that as SHE leaves, my children will start their childhood memories. 

More than once, more than one raised voice, more than one bad mood, more than one mistake in mothering have I reassured myself that they won't remember this.  Just pick up and start again.  Do better, be better.  My mantra through the toddler years and just a bit beyond.  It was like a crazy training marathon where you didn't have the time to whine about falling down, you just get back up and keep going.   

Because the truth is, those first few years are hard.  And scary.  And daunting.  And hard.  Do you know why kids don't come with a manual?  Because if they did, the secret to how much work they are would be out and no one would have kids anymore.  

But God gave us built in grace with our children.  He knew.  Oh, He knew.  He knows how tiring and hard parenting can be so He gave us some built in grace for us to get our act together.  For the sleepy fog of new parenting to lift and life to feel normal again.  He gave us time to get to know our children and our role as their shepherds.   

This is not to say that I know all the things of motherhood.  Or even a lot of them.  I still have a long way to go on a road that has no ending.  I still learn every day and screw up all.  the.  time.  But in a lot of ways it's like reaching the first anniversary of your new job, you've had your review and they've decided to keep you (because honestly who else would work for so cheap?!).  Now it's time to sink your teeth in and really hone your skills.  Because knowing that your kids will remember THESE days is like knowing your job will now be reviewed daily.       

And yes, I still want to run away occasionally, or at the very least hide in the pantry and eat cookies that my children don't know about but I'm pretty sure it will always be that way.       


erin said...

This is RIGHT ON. So many people LOVE the baby stage. Me? Not so much.

Austyn is almost 11...and I'm just now feeling like I'm getting a *little* bit of a grasp on this being-a-good-mom thing.

What you said is much of it is "try your best. sometimes succeed. sometimes fail. always start afresh."

Kids are incredibly forgiving...I apologize to mine ANY time I've done them wrong...and try, try again. I think it's better for them to KNOW we're human and we make mistakes, too.


Jackie said...

Yes. Parenting is hard and so much work. I did not realize just how much work good parenting requires. Maybe I just don't remember how much work my mom put in for us because, like you said, kids don't remember much about the early years. But it seemed that once I got to the age that I could remember the parenting sort of got put on hold and I ended up learning as I went without much direction. Everything turned out just fine in the end, and I know the kind of parent I want to be for my kids as they are reaching the ages of being able to remember. And it is still a lot of work.

Unknown said...

I just wanted to say that I think you are fabulous and am glad you allow such an amazing heart to have a sounding board for the world to read. What a way to glorify God!

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