in the trenches – parenting

Boy have I had a rough go at it the last few days. My daughter, who will be two in 13 days, is either gearing up for a full-on terrible twos battle or she is dealing with some emotions connected to her development that are overwhelming both of us. I may choose the latter, since I don’t want to imagine that this will last through an entire year {or longer, eep!}.

Eating her lunch after refusing food and sobbing over it for half the day ;)

Yesterday in particular, I was so far over the edge of sanity, it was hard not to just laugh. Have you ever had one of those days? One where you should be crying in the corner in the fetal position, but because it is so incredibly bad, your attitude has shifted to laughter at the situation just to keep from crying? Yeah, that was me. I called my mom during one of yesterday’s several time outs and just giggled into the phone. I told her, “Mom, I should be crying right now, but I am so far pushed past that point that I just keep laughing to myself when she does something else, and think to myself, ‘Really? Come on, Devil, you’re being SO obvious!'” lol – at least that thinking kept me from insanity.

I did vent my frustrations on my personal Facebook page and pleaded with mothers to tell me that it would get better. And I know that in motherhood, there will be issues and hard times, once this issue is done, something else will pop up. But I just wanted someone to say, “Oh honey, I know how you feel. Its okay and it will be okay. {virtual hug}” I have so many amazing mommies in my life, I sure got what I was looking for and more. They were all so sweet to me!

How could you not love that face?

This morning, as I was checking my accounts and such, I came across a giveaway post by The Better Mom. She was giving away a book called “Loving the Little Years – Motherhood in the Trenches.” She included some of her favorite quotes, and these little snippets of the book got me not only wanting the book, but being convicted by it already. Here are two quotes she shared that hit me to the core:

“If there is anything I have learned in the course of my fast and furious mothering journey, it is that there is only one thing in my entire life that must be organized- my attitude. If my attitude falters, even in the midst of external order, so does everything else.”

Ouch. There are moments where sorrow and crying is necessary and even needed. A good cry after a hard day sure feels good sometimes. But the difference for me is when I let myself spiral. It starts with an event – daughter yells for her way – and then I am tempted to feel sorry for myself. If I follow that temptation, the next event triggers the negative attitude. Then all events that are “inconvenient” for me thereafter just send me further and further down the rabbit hole. Yuck. I hate those days. And I want to slap myself at the end of the day when I realize that I didn’t pay attention to my daughter as much as I nursed my own “wounds.” Ugh!!

I also really loved this:

“The state of your heart is the state of your home. You cannot harbor resentment secretly toward your children and expect their hearts to be submissive and tender. You cannot be greedy with your time and expect them to share their toys. Most importantly you cannot resist your opportunities to be corrected by God and expect them to receive correction from you.”
That one really hit me. Even the first few words, “you can’t harbor resentment secretly toward your children and expect their hearts to be submissive and tender.” That is EXACLY what happened yesterday. I resented my daughter for ruining my day, making my life hard, bla bla bla. How could I expect that she would be tender towards my “needs” {insert small laugh here} if I wasn’t paying attention to hers? And really, is that her job? To cater to mommy’s bad day? No. My job as her mother is to model how to handle hard days with grace and the Lord. And, oh Lord Jesus forgive me, I surely did NOT do that.
I then realized, lying in bed last night and reflecting on the day, I have not spent time with the Lord for a MONTH. My routine before Christmas was to get up, get a cup of something hot and yummy, sit down with my Bible and journal and spend time with my Father. It was truly a sweet time pouring out my heart to him and journaling my needs, blessings, and requests. But as the craze of the holidays took over, I slacked on that time. And my attitude surely suffers when that happens.
I know that there will be many many MANY more days of pain and “parenting in the trenches,” but I really let my attitude slide yesterday and felt sorry for myself. Let the “woe is me” attitude sneak in and let the devil tempt me to feel that I “deserved better.” But my prayer this morning is that, despite how today goes, that I remember that my attitude, heart, and behavior towards my daughter -whether good or bad – is an investment. I can either invest patience and love into her or help her to be an impatient, compassionLESS person simply modeling her mother’s awful behavior.
My wise mama said to me yesterday, “Remember, honey, the discipline, restraint {on your part}, patience, that is all an investment. Spending the time right now doing what you need to do {discipline, be patient, not do what you would like to do in that moment} rather than what is easier to do {ignore it, take the easy way out} will pay off in the future when Jael starts showing the results of your diligence. You will reap a reward for the hard work you’re doing now.
LOVE her. :) So, mommies, if you’re in the trenches like me, I want to give you a hug {squeeze} and tell you that I understand, I know those days, and its okay to not enjoy every. single. moment. of parenting. Its hard. Rely and trust in the Lord, He understands what parenting a bunch of disobedient brats is like too ;)
♥erin