June 11, 2013

Then There are Days: When Being a Parent Feels Like Too Much

Over dry breakfast burritos I caught up with an old colleague/friend in a deli supermarket. We dove quickly into conversation.

Our toddler free time was fleeting.

We talked about work and life.

She asked if I was really happy not working and I assured her how totally and completely I was and am happy. I'm happy to not be working in an I-don't-dread-waking-up kind of way. In an I-feel-like-this-house-really-IS-my-domain kind of way.

We parted ways and I went to my weekly end of pregnancy doctor's appointment and the nurse taking my blood pressure asked yet again, "So are you really happy to not be working?"

And I am. I really really am.

But then there are days.

Days where I would give anything to leave my toddler in a day care and just drive off to work. To go to a place where to-do lists are manageable and my colleagues are at least required by law to act a certain way. And where they are not allowed to hit me in the face or throw things or poop in their pants and expect me to clean it up.

Days where I feel broken and tired and like I don't have enough grace to do this one job that is the most important job I will ever do in my life.

I read someone's advice to not compare your normal to other people's glimpses of perfection.

But sometimes it's hard not to compare. Sometimes it's hard to know what is real and not.

Do other mommies struggle? Are other toddler's little terrors when it's only tired mommy to torment?

Because real for me is wanting so badly to be a gentle and grace filled mommy but failing time and time again when my toddler's will seems boundless.

Real for me is doubting my ability to be a loving mother through this stage and teenage years, much less bring another being into this world and care for it.

The reality for me is that I need grace.

I need so much grace.
But this is what I have learned when you feel like parenting feels like too much:

1. This is a phase and it will pass.

2. There is always grace if I will stop and breathe... God is gracious. I can be gracious to my child, and my child is actually quite gracious and forgiving with me.

3. You are not alone. So often people let anger well up and feel like their circumstances are so much worse than other people's. People feel isolated and victimized. But you are not alone. What you are struggling with is not something new under the sun.

4. There is hope. God offers us hope and love. He shows us love that dies to itself and gives more and more even when it feels it has no strength left.

So when it feels like it's all too much... I take a deep breath.. count some blessings and reach out for grace.

1 comment:

Lindsey said...

Yes, we each need lots of grace for our parenting. Lots and lots and lots. Not just you.

For what it's worth, I think it's easier having more than one kid. Not always, of course, and of course they fight and are mean to each other, etc. BUT it also means I don't have to be their everything. They can come up to me and ask me to play hide and seek with them, and I reply with my standard reply to that question: "That's what you have a brother and sister for." I always feel a twinge of guilt over that one, but mostly I think it's okay. I am not having to constantly devise play dates for an only child or play dress up with them. They have partners in crime. Of course that won't happen until your baby is about a year or more, but I'm just trying to encourage you that having more than one isn't necessarily harder--it's just different.

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