This parenting gig is kicking my butt. These kids of mine are barbarians (in the most endearing sense of the word). Here I am, during nap-time, gulping down the sage wisdom of Siegel and Bryson in The Whole- Brained Child and rehearsing using my hand to model the upstairs brain and downstairs brain to my children so that they might get a better grasp on their flimsy emotions. An hour ago, I was yanking my almost three year old into the shower to clean up his poop-smeared body, dumping his poop-drenched sheets into the washer, and wiping off his poop-painted wall for the fourth time this week. The kid’s supposed to be potty trained.
Yesterday, my sweet neighbor observed my daughter’s thirty minute melt-down in our yard and said, “I think we need to work with her on these fits.”
Yes. Yes, we absolutely do. And we need to quit having our walls painted with poop. But I’m wondering how? Where is my dang handbook? How in the world do I raise these volatile little maniacs into kind, loving, Godly members of society who are not going to get kicked out of school or arrested? Will they ever keep their clothes on? Will they ever eat a full meal? Will they ever actually pet the cat rather than yank her tail? Will they ever learn to listen? Will they ever respond to direction? Will they ever sleep through the night? Will I ever parent well enough to feel like a competent human being?
I believe that my experience is not unique in this crazy venture called parenting, though it feels incredibly unnerving and isolating. When we moms get gut-honest with each other and share our darkest, slimiest, most downstairs-brained moments with one another, we breathe a collective sigh of solidarity and recognize that we can march on in our journey of raising little humans.
I have never in my life encountered a responsibility so humbling, so exhausting, so disgusting, and so life-giving.
When these little barbarians that I birthed take off their monster masks for a few moments, look up into my eyes and say, “mom, you’re the best,” I’m reminded that God’s grace is filling in the gaps where I am falling short.
When the three of us huddle in our blanket fort on my daughter’s bed as we draw out bedtime, I can’t imagine a single place that I would rather be.
When we are cuddled together, belly-laughing to our favorite books, I believe that I tap into the laughter of God.
When I feeling like I am completely done with fighting this battle for my life, wanting to yield to the pain and illness and throw in this proverbial, worn-out, thread-bare towel, those tiny, sweet feet thud-thud-thud on the carpet into my dark room, and in an instant, I remember why I fight this battle. I don’t want to miss a second with them. Those wild, crazy terrorists are my beloved children, and no matter how many poop-smeared, hissy-fit filled days we encounter, I am better with them than I was before they came along.
Thank God for grace as we climb this steep mountain of parenthood. It is not for the faint of heart, but it is for the full-of-heart, and it fills my heart to overflowing. I march on in this journey wielding as many tools as I can carry, but knowing that grace is really what carries us.