Reading my cousin’s daughter’s honest assessments on Facebook of parenting triggers my own memories. Sometimes I laugh. Sometimes I cry.
This beautiful, young mom stays home to care for her two boys. Whenever I see their cute pictures, I want to catch them up in a snuggle. Ah, yes, I remember that precious time so long ago. At the time, the days seemed long. Now, it appears they were just a blip on the journey.
A recent post mentioned a MOPs (Mothers of Preschoolers) article saying that children know when you don’t enjoy them. Then she talked about how imperfect a day can go with young children. Her heart hurt for fear that her loved children would sense a less than loving attitude at times. Of course, I reached for a tissue. I understand.
Reality doesn’t match expectations
While I remember precious moments, I also remember feeling tired, aggravated, and yes, bored. Raising children is hard work. Days become repetitious. Little people struggle to cooperate. Messy people make messy places. Cleaning never ends.
Because of the age ranges of my children, I spent a lot of years in the baby and toddler stages.
I spent a lot more one on one time with my boys than I did with my girls. In fact, my eldest two got the more patient, care-free, young mom. Yet, after playing for a while, I would be lured by other things to do. I remember reading the Sunday paper under a shade tree while they played in the sandbox. One day when my boys wanted to swim, I shaved my legs outside because they couldn’t be left alone.
The more kids I raised, the more pressing the list of things to be done became with the time seeming so much more compacted. The trips to parks, beaches, zoos, museums became fewer in number, and I didn’t sit around playing in the shaving cream or Play Doh like I used to. Pushing them on swings became a timed event. I also sang less and snapped more.
I didn’t love my children less. They may have felt that way. I don’t know. That’s what makes me so sad now. That’s why the MOPs comment struck so.
Advice might increase insecurities
No perfect parent lives though there are plenty of how-to articles suggesting ways for it to be done. I read plenty of magazines and books on the topic. My mother even advised me to stop, but I continued on, not listening to her wisdom.
We have so much information overload. A person can almost forget to form her own opinion based on her own experiences. When the advice doesn’t work, she feels like a failure. If it works, she feels successful. When experiences fail to repeat, she feels confused. Most of all though she just feels overwhelmed.
Plenty of mistakes pock my past, especially since you can add homeschooling into the equation. Reality never quite met with the way I thought it was supposed to be. I did my best, and thank God for answering prayers because it was never easy. Parenting and homeschooling each mean hard work.
If I think about my mistakes, I feel I was too hard on people: too hard on my parents, too hard on my children, too hard on my husband, too hard on my friends, too hard on my neighbors, too hard on me.
Bible offers solution
But the Bible rescues me. In Philippians 3, it says, to forget the past. Our righteousness comes from God and is by faith. Press on. Look forward.
I love my children more than words can express. I hope they know that and forgive me my failures and remember when they become parents that no one is perfect. Yes, kids may know when we’ve lost our joy, but I think/hope they know how much they are loved even in the tough times.
Love makes sacrifices. Sacrifices often hurt. But we press on for the prize. And we would do it all over again because we love them.
What are your thoughts?