We all know I’m not very private, but posting about my weak moments still makes me feel vulnerable. The reason I do this is because I have found great solace in the shared struggles with other mothers who have gone through similar situations, and I’m grateful they shared. So this is for any moms out there who feel like everyone else has it all together.
Preschool has started. That is a good thing. A REALLY good thing for our family. These last few weeks of summer, full of long days at home with little money and no plans have led to some extremely challenging times with my kiddos. My poor husband has received a fair share of calls from me either irate or in tears. (Poor guy–like he can do anything from work!) Last week was a doozy. Carson and I had a run-in that was so long and so intense, I can barely talk about it now–although the culmination of that battle will make a really funny blog post someday. (Carson locked me and Sydney out of the house. Oh yes. He did. For 23 minutes.) But I’m not able to be funny about it yet.
This morning we had another “episode” as I’ve begun calling them. Basically it’s when the train gets off the track and it takes a couple hours or something drastic to get us back on. It started on our way out the door to meet some friends. Suddenly Carson, fully dressed, had to have his “old favorite” shirt. From when he was 2 years old. That is in the attic. With other clothes for a 2 year old. I explained this and he angrily stripped his clothes off, yelled and slammed his door and said that he wasn’t going ANYWHERE until I get into the attic and get his shirt down. Yada, yada, yada…we managed to get into the car, but more battles ensued, primarily in the form of siblings kicking and hitting each other. Items were thrown at the driver. Drinks were intentionally spilled. Escalating. Disobedience. Discipline. Disrespect. Escalating. Defiance. I was in the middle of traffic on I-5 for this 60 minute drive and felt completely unable to enforce ANYTHING. I realized I did not have control in my own car. I felt helpless, vulnerable, beyond frustrated, angry, sad…at the END OF MY ROPE.
To make an attempt at gaining my own peace, if not the peace of the rest of the vehicle occupants, I put on a favorite song “Never Let Go” by Crowder. As I was driving amidst the yelling, I was crying, wishing that Trent was sitting there in the car with me, because everything (especially the kids’ behavior) is always better when he is there. Now, this may sound churchy, but as I listened to the words, I felt overwhelmingly the Holy Spirit reminding me that even when my parenting partner isn’t there, HE is there. He is in the car with me. God will never let go of this Mommy. The song talks about His Perfect Love, and I was so acutely aware in that moment how imperfect my love for my children is–although intense and passionate–I will always fall short in my humanness. I also had a total epiphany.
Part of what throws me so much about parenting in these circumstance is that I’m not in control. I’ve always felt like a very capable, independent person, and can just basically figure things out. Have my act together. But this stuff, this child, reduces me. That is the best way I can articulate it. It breaks me and my confidence, has me questioning myself and my choices daily. I fret that I’m messing up the most important task I will ever be given. And in that moment, somewhere between between Canby and Tigard, I knew that was the answer. I’m not supposed to have it all together by myself. I needed this catalyst [parenting in general, but particularly my PFB] in my life to bring me to a point where I CANNOT DO IT on my own–where my success isn’t just dependent on a little elbow grease and savvy wit. I am VULNERABLE and I need, I said I NEED my Lord to give me the strength to rise to the tasks of the day. And even with the chaos still reigning supreme in my car, by the grace of God I was given the presence of mind to thank Him–not just for my children, which I did, but for these torturous moments that remind me to seek first His wisdom and strength, which is made perfect in my weakness. I thought I wanted my children to see a mother totally calm, cool and collected. But I realized I’d rather have my children see their mother on her knees, begging for grace each day, admiting that she’s not perfect. THAT is what will help me keep it together. Help us all keep it together.
And, hopefully, keep me from killing them before their 10th birthdays.