Honestly, the title of this post should have been “Trying Really Hard to Parent the Way God Would Want, but Failing Miserably Every Step of the Way”.
Unfortunately, that title was a little too long, and didn’t really set the positive tone I’m trying to make a daily part of my life.
There are many days (probably six out of seven days, recently) when I wonder just what it was God was thinking when He blessed me with children. Patience? Tolerance? Joy? Or is He trying to show me exactly what I put my own mother through?
When my daughter was younger, I knew I was blessed. Without a doubt. All of my friends children were loud, rambunctious, and spent several years in the terrible twos. Often I would hear stories of PB and J sandwiches being placed inside the DVD tray, or the freshly poured bowl of cereal being dumped onto the keyboard. (YIKES!)
My daughter was curious, independent, and knew her mind, but never once did she do anything that could fit into the category of ‘terrible’. She never destroyed anything, never drew on the walls, and I didn’t have to worry about her running off. I remember thinking, “Wow, I’m so glad MY daughter isn’t like that.”
Like so many young Mothers I took credit for the amazing gift the LORD had intrusted to my care. I just knew her lack of behavior issues was my doing, because I was just that good of a mom.
Oh how wrong I was.
That perfect little girl is six now, and there isn’t a single day that I don’t want to pull my hair out. No, she never stuck PB and J sandwiches into the DVD player, or poured cereal onto my keyboard, but while missing out on those exciting experiences, the LORD has blessed me with a child that still knows her own mind. Even when that mind is contradictory to what I expect from her.
Instead of PB and J sandwiches, I’ve experienced the “Battle of the Jeans”, because little girls don’t wear jeans–or so my daughter told me over and over again whenever I tried to get her to wear them.
I’ve become well versed in the “Momma, look at the nice stranger can he come home with us?” story. But, my personal favorite is that somewhere between learning how to walk, and learning how to read, my perfect little girl got a not so perfect attitude. One complete with sassing, pouting, overly dramatic expressions of displeasure, and a belief that since I’m her mother, I don’t know anything.
Did I mention she is six, and not a teenager?
So, what is it the LORD is trying to teach me? How does He expect me to handle this precocious red-head mini-me?
I spent a lot of time yelling at her, and contemplating selling her to Gypsies. At a few really low points I would have been willing to give her to them for free.
Recently, though, things have changed. Not her attitude, but the way I’m (trying) to handle it.
Now when things aren’t going smoothly, I will give myself a mental time-out and pray. I ask the LORD for patience, for guidance, and for the right words to say. I ask Him for the right focus, and then, even though sometimes it is really, really hard, I thank Him.
I thank Him for blessing me with someone who knows her own mind, with someone who even with an attitude still has an amazing and loving heart. I thank Him for blessing me with someone who if I step back and listen will teach me amazing things.
Does this make her perfect? No. Does this make me a perfect mother? Not even close. I still feel like I’m failing most days, but I figure God knows what He is doing, even if I don’t. I just have to have Faith in His greater works and knowledge, and know that I’m not alone in this parenting thing. He’s with me every step of the way.