Thursday, October 11, 2012

the not-so-balanced act of parenting

the wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands.
{proverbs 14:1}
as a mother i fail on a regular basis.  don’t worry…i’m not looking for your sympathy or a pep talk.  i know that i have great moments too.  i just want to be honest in saying that i get things wrong a lot of times…i’m guessing you probably feel that way too…and it’s ok.

there was a time last month when lucy was having a ‘rough day’ {we have a lot of those around our house…is it possible for a 4 year old to experience PMS…i swear her hormones are all over the place!}.  anyway…after a day full of her drama i had reached my limit.  she smacked her brother and then made some sassy comment to me and i lost it.  i picked her up, carried her to her room, sat her on the floor and {in a not so nice voice} said – ‘i don’t know WHAT your problem is but you BETTER figure it out!’.  i walked out, slammed closed the door behind me and as my heart rate dropped back into a normal range i stood there appalled at myself.  seriously?  you better figure it out?  really?  she’s 4 years old…and i’m expecting her to have a full grasp on her emotions and how to handle them?  i don’t even have that…clearly.

here’s the thing about that day.  it wasn’t just lucy who was having a rough time…it was me too.  i was behind on some things at work, the house was a mess and i really needed to get some things done.  if i am honest i was not giving the kids the attention they needed because i was more focused on what i needed to accomplish that day and the fact that i was overwhelmed with my own junk.  i kept trying to work.  i also kept thinking of how much i needed a ‘break’.  i was thinking about how early i could put the kids to bed so that i could finish everything up and then sit down by myself for a while.  you better believe that lucy’s behavior was directly related to my behavior.  sure…she may have been having a bad day but the way that i was responding to it was making it worse…not better.

i’ve been reading the mission of motherhood by sally clarkson.  it is encouraging me but also challenging me...i like that in a book.  recently her words have gently nudged my heart to reconsider the way that i view my role as a mother.  as a mother who works outside of the home i am particularly susceptible to a divided heart…a heart that tries to give everything to my job and everything to my family but winds up only having cold, soggy leftovers for both.

these are some of her words that have shifted my thinking…

Instead of pursuing a career with mothering tucked in around the edges, I have chosen to focus first on the mission of motherhood…

…when up to my elbows in the tedious responsibilities of life, I spent much of my mental energy thinking about when I would have more time for myself and my own interests.

How could I put all of me into my time at home if I was always thinking about a future time when I could escape the routine tasks of motherhood?

I needed to accept days like this – my children’s neediness, the myriad mindless tasks, and even my own occasional discomfort – as part of my partnering with my husband toward our mutual goal of building a godly heritage for Christ…if I didn’t commit myself wholeheartedly to the demands of motherhood, I would never be able to do my best, because my heart would always be somewhere else.

whether you work outside of the home or not...whether you are a mom or a dad...i'm betting you may struggle with some of these same things.  how do we make parenting a priority?  how do we make sure our kids get the best of us and at the same time teach them that they are not the center of the universe?  
it's a tough balance...or is it?  
come back tomorrow for part 2 of this post...
this is day 11 of 31 days.