In the Trenches
Some days, my boys sleep in, allowing me time to wake up naturally and use the restroom before the madness begins. Some days, my boys play nicely together—no fighting or yelling at each other (well, for the most part). And some days, I feel like a great mom who exudes peace and grace and love from sun up to sun down.
Yesterday was NOT that day.
In the wake of traveling back from my parents’ home in Indiana, we were all tired. (Tired = slow moving, irritable, reactive, and just plain BLEH.) Plus, the boys had to go through their regular post-grandparent detox (which generally translates into testing EVERY boundary ALL day). Yesterday was anything but peaceful. We had screaming, yelling, crying, time outs, cranky attitudes, and bad behavior—and I’m including myself. Every time I turned around, I had to suppress the hormonal urge inside me to just let out a primal yell. (Okay, I may have let out one…after which, the boys just laughed at me.)
Yesterday felt like war. While on the surface I may have appeared to be at war with my kids, the battle was really in my head and heart. I was in the trenches of motherhood and trying desperately to be a godly momma, but all the while feeling like I was failing miserably. It’s in my tired, cranky, emotional, reactive moments that the worst of me seems to spill out. My ugly is out for all to see, and my kids too often become casualties.
Thanks to my sister Emily who volunteered to hang with the boys, I was able to get out of the house for about an hour for a much-needed grocery trip to Aldi. On the way there, I just cried. All the emotions from the day just poured down my face. I’m sure the person in the car next to me thought I just had some tragic news, or that I’d lost my mind. But I didn’t care. I needed to get the emotion out.
I pulled myself together enough to go inside Aldi and start working my way through my shopping list. The list I could handle. The list I could get right. While I was there, I ran into my good friend Amy. She asked me how I was, and I told her. EVERYTHING. We stood there in the frozen foods while annoyed people tried to navigate their carts around us while I spilled. As it so happened, Amy had also had killer last 24 hours that involved traveling, fleas, grouchy kids, and mommy survival mode.
As we shared our war stories, I began to remember that I’m normal and that I’m not in the trenches alone. There are other mommas out there who struggle like I do to accept and extend grace, other mommas who have days where nothing seems to go right and our ugly spills out all over the place. Let me tell you, I’m SO GRATEFUL to have other moms in my life who are willing to stand in Aldi with me and just share the realities of life and motherhood. (Thank you, Amy, and to my other mommas who occasionally get my “pray for me!” texts…)
And if today you’re the momma or daddy feeling like you’re in the trenches—at war with handling the chaos while trying to be a good, godly parent, remember you are not alone. Parenthood is not easy, but it’s a war worth fighting so that we can raise up little people who become loving, honest, gracious, and giving bigger people. We have to band together as parents, supporting each other on the crappy days and celebrating with each other on that day your oldest decides to take out the trash without even being asked. (Praise!) We need to have people in our lives who we can see for 15 minutes, skip the smiling facade, and just share our war wounds from the day.
If you don’t have one of those parent friends, I encourage you to get one. Find yourself an Amy. We need other people to remind us that we’re normal, support us when we’re struggling, and push us to be better. (By the way, the best way to find these momma friends is to take the initiative. Be the first to be real, and sooner or later, you will find those few friends who’ll do the same.)
Let’s band together! Not against our children, but FOR them. For their hearts, for who they are and who they’re becoming. Together, even on days when we feel like we’re walking wounded, WE CAN DO THIS!
photo credit #1: Troops in steel helmets moving along a communication trench fully equipped for their various duties via photopin (license)
photo credit #2: Holding hands via photopin (license)
photo credit #3: onehundredeightythree/threehundredsixtyfive via photopin (license)