Everyone knows how parenting should be done. Everywhere on the internet is an article about research and studies to make you a better parent. Do this. Do not do that. Be this. Don’t be that. Pinterest takes it to an entirely new level. It makes me so tired. I am really, REALLY tired. I have parented hard and heavy these last two weeks. I am over it today. It is Friday afternoon. I am pouring a cup of coffee (should be wine but I am driving all over the county tonight). I am sitting down and I am going to have a pity party. If you are expecting a pep talk….I have nothing. If your kids are perfect, please keep scrolling. Click out now. If you want to commiserate…welcome to the “mom of a teenager” pity party. All moms are welcome because toddlerhood and teenagehood look similar…except the teenagers are savvier in their interactions.
Now….pour yourself a drink of choice and let’s begin.
It was recently brought to my attention by a daughter of mine that my parenting skills could be better. During this conversation, it was noted that she believed that I could get more things done in the day. I didn’t hear how she thought this could be done because I was using all the self-control in my body not to grab her by the throat.
When I first stayed home with my babies I had high expectations to be Mom of the Year. The first day I failed when I let her sleep the entire day and she screamed the entire night. At that moment I wasn’t sure if I was ready for this parenting thing. Ready or not, here we were. I know. I know. NOBODY talks about this because every parent loves their kids, but really, if we are really honest, how many of us have thought…can I really do this? For the rest of my life? Yes. We can. We do. And it is the hardest job we have ever had.
I used to measure my worth based on my to-do list. I did this, this, this, this, and this. Now, I base my worth on making sure they are alive, fed, kind of on time and nice in public. That is it. Why? Because we do things as moms that nobody sees.
Laundry. Dishes. Meals. Appointments. More laundry. Homework. These are the superficial things of being a mom.
Growing people in a broken world to become strong, kind, and independent thinkers and givers…this takes courage, tenacity, perseverance, strength, and grace. On some days I have this. On other days, I do not.
Nobody sees the angst we have when we need to discipline and the questioning of ourselves if we have responded in the correct way.
Nobody sees the sleepless nights that we hold our kids when they are sick.
Nobody sees the hours you listen to your child say they can’t when you know they can. The encouragement that it takes to help them strive, try, and do.
Nobody sees the broken heart of the mom as their child cries when they did try, but they failed.
Nobody sees the physical restraint of the mom when she has to keep her mouth closed and let her child learn the process of something.
Nobody sees the changing of the hormones of children and the flexibility that has to come along with it from the parent.
Nobody sees the struggle between giving grace and holding the line on a discipline decision.
Nobody sees the mom on her knees praying for her child when they are not with them, praying for their child to have discernment and strength to know right from wrong.
Nobody sees the struggling parent dealing with different personalities and the different physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of each child.
Nobody sees the mom that is trying to help the child with anxiety, depression, or the one that wants to commit suicide.
Nobody sees the mom beating herself up for choices that her child made.
Nobody sees the physical restraint it takes not to stop the car and drop off a teenager that knows it all on the side of the road, allowing her to get home the best that she can.
When we have teenagers, we have to remind ourselves that they will often see what we don’t do rather than behind the scenes of what we do. That is okay. We will never sit under the shade of the trees we plant.
Here I sit having two teenage daughters and I am buckling in once again for the ride. I am a broken person raising broken people in a broken world. Do I expect it to be easy? No. Am I ready? No, not at all.
I do not need an award to tell me I am doing okay. I do not need to be perfect. I need to be the best mom I can be at the maturity level where I am. I need to hold the line. I need to give them the grace to grow. I need to apologize when I am wrong. I need to hug one daughter more and give the other daughter breathing room. I have to figure it out on a daily basis, sometimes by the minute.
I have surrendered to the fact that I am going to be tired. I know my heart will never stop hurting. I do have to be honest that it is really, REALLY hard. It is emotionally draining now that they are older just like it was physically draining when they were younger. I cry. I pray. I pour another cup of coffee.
Instead of looking at the internet to tell me how I should or should not be parenting…I will instead look to the God that sees it all and knows the kind of parent within my own imperfections that I need to be to each child. I will continue to grow with them as a parent as they grow into adults. One day, one mood, one moment at a time.
And just like you, I will continue to do the things that nobody sees.