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.       
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