Last night I found myself crying . . . again. I feel like that’s all I do sometimes. Hormones will do that to you. But this time, I was crying for a reason that I find myself in tears over many times after a bad day.
I sat next to my husband on the couch and squeezed his hand. I focused my attention on the blinds covering the large living room window. Why does that one blind always look crooked?
“I feel like such a failure as a parent sometimes,” I choked out as tears trickled down my cheeks.
“Me too,” he replied quietly and gently squeezed my hand in affirmation.
Let me be raw with you. Things have been rough in our house lately. I feel like we’re all spinning in a tornado whirlwind and everybody is screaming, but nobody can hear anyone. Our home has been chaotic. My dear husband and I have been doing all we can to try to reign in the craziness, but it feels like it’s slipping through our fingers.
It seems like no matter how much we try to teach our boys to be kind to each other, they are always fighting. Always. I know love-hate relationships among siblings are completely normal. I have three sisters and a brother. But, it is getting wearing to listen to the ridiculous things they argue and yell about. Sometimes I play referee, while other times I try to let them figure it out. It seems that no matter how many times I explain love and kindness to them, it falls on deaf ears. Yes, I know they are young. But, I can only imagine what our neighbors must think.
Then there’s the stubborn disobedience, sometimes with disrespect sprinkled in. We do not handle blatant disobedience or disrespect lightly, yet our consistent discipline seems to be having no effect.
At the end of the day, I am exhausted. That question of “What am I doing wrong?” goes banging around in my head. I try and try. I pray and pray. But, I feel like we’re still trudging through a pit of mud and getting nowhere.
Something captured my mind yesterday, though. Matthew 7:12 rang through my mind. Do to others whatever you would like them do to you. It really struck me and convicted me. Though I sometimes come to my rope’s end and become incredibly frustrated (understandably so), how am I treating my children through the frustration? Do I yell? Do I lose my cool?
I hang my head and admit that yes, sometimes I do. And, to be honest, I have a lot more lately. Perhaps that’s been the problem. If I want my children to treat each other kindly and respectfully, then I must make sure I am modeling that for them in the best way I know how. Yes, I will still fail at times. But, I need to make a pointed effort. Sometimes I forget that my children are exactly that . . . children. Sometimes it takes putting myself in those little pre-school shoes to break down my frustration. If I were a child, how would I want to be treated?
And then God reminded me of grace. How much grace do I show my little ones? God bestowed the greatest gift of grace to me when He decided to wash my sin’s away with the blood of His Son. There is no greater grace than that! Perhaps sometimes all my children need is grace.
No, I’m not going to pass the “perfect parent” test. But, I can still make it my goal to be the best I can be for my children and remember to treat them how I expect them to treat me and each other, with sprinklings of grace. As their mom, I am one of the prime examples they view in their lives. Am I being the best example I can be? Do my children see Christ in me?
Parenting is hard. If it weren’t, I would be doing something wrong. But, maybe some of the tears can be minimized if I focus on loving my children in the way Christ calls me to. May Christ help me do unto them as I expect them to do unto me.
What are some encouragements you could provide for other young parents like ourselves, who are struggling with the same issues?