It is so hard to be a parent. It really is. I love my daughter and want to have more children. But I understand all those people who choose to remain child-free. I get it. Today was so rough, I had to leave Abby in the living room and go to the hallway and give myself a timeout. Then she followed me and sat in her time out spot and waited for me. It was really cute and completely helped my attitude. It was one of those moments that makes parenting worthwhile.
Then we have those moments where everyone else seems to be an expert on not just parenting in general, but on your child specifically. That can be a hard thing to listen to, both when you are feeling like you are doing a great job and when you are feeling like a failure. Of course, most this advice comes from people that either have very poorly behaved children or no children at all.
Then when we are down right weary, have been hit from every side for weeks on end, people always tell us to change our perspective or suck it up or someone else has it worse or stop feeling sorry for yourself. Or any other number of "helpful" phrases. I have gotten that myself a few times recently. My last few months have been so hard. Maybe each event hasn't seemed like much but when you add them all together, it's a lot for one person, one family, to go through. You add some crazy family dynamics on top of that it's enough to make one a bit insane. Sure, I still have my family, my house, my health (even if my medical records are still lost so I can't prove that one). But that doesn't make what I, or anyone else, is going through any less important or significant.
All that to say, my word to live for 2014 is:
That's a tough one for me. I hadn't thought about my word or if I even wanted to do one. But that word kept bouncing around my head. I tried to ignore it. Then a couple of situations either of my own or of a friend's made that word stop bouncing and plant itself front and center.
Grace. For myself. I am not a perfect mother. I am not a perfect wife. I am not a perfect friend.
Grace. For my husband. He isn't a perfect father. He isn't a perfect husband.
Grace. For my daughter. She's just a toddler who is learning how to obey and has to cross that line, sometimes multiple times in a morning, to learn what happens.
Grace. For others.
Maybe those people who give "holier than thou" parenting advice really have no confidence in their own parenting so they feel like they need to act like they know it all. Or they are afraid they will be horrible parents when they do have children so they put up a know it all attitude to cover that.
Maybe those people who tell us to suck it up are going through an even rougher patch than we are. Maybe instead of being tempted to tell them off, we need to ask them if they are okay.
2014 will be a year of asking God to help me learn to extend grace, to myself and to others.
(I may come to regret this one. lol)