I have a growing list of things that I would like to share on my blog. Some of them revolve around parenting and things that I have learned and ideas I am putting into practice. But I feel that first I need to write this blog, as sort of a disclaimer. I need to put it out there that, wait for it…I am not the perfect mom. 🙂 Those that know me best would laugh at even the thought of this. But anyone reading this who may not know me personally might think that I have it all together and am able to pass my great parenting skills or ideas on to others because I have perfected them in my own life. This, of course, is far from true. I am amazed at how easy it is to mess up as a parent. I could count on one hand the times I raised my voice—before I was a parent. I did not often get instantly frustrated or feel exasperated—before I was a parent. These emotions really caught me off-guard. Before becoming a mother, people sometimes remarked how patient I was and that I would “be a great mom someday” and frankly, I believed them. Then I became a mother and my patience seemed much harder to hang on to. Can I get an “amen” here?
I am so thankful for great friends who let me know that all these feelings were normal. They’re nothing to be proud of or to settle for, but they are pretty common place and I was not alone in feeling them. Whew—that was a relief! I couldn’t imagine being anything but honest in parenting and if I was constantly trying to live behind a façade, pretending that I was always calm and poised and my kids were always well-behaved and respectful, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself. Life is just not that neat and tidy. Kids are kids and parenting is hard sometimes, ok, maybe a lot. But still, I LOVE my kids and I love being their mom, no doubt about.
I do believe that there are many seasons in motherhood or parenting, and some of us thrive in different seasons. Some people love the newborn stage and others can’t wait until their kids are verbally communicating. Some love the pre-teen years and others dread them. I’m not exactly sure what my shining season is or will be, but I think I will always hope that each season will be even better than the last, while striving to make the most of the current one and fondly remembering the previous ones.
And here’s a parenting key for me: asking for forgiveness. Saying “I’m sorry.” Wow, those words are like a powerful eraser, getting rid of the mistakes and allowing us to move ahead, unblemished and wiser. I don’t have to be perfect, but I should always try to do better. When I have an impatient moment, or an entirely crabby day, I can always tell my kids that I was wrong in how I acted or responded and that I am sorry, and the wonderful thing is, they usually respond with a ready hug and an “I forgive you” and we can move on (as long as I let it go and don’t continue to beat myself up over it. A fellow-blogger, Erika Dawson, wrote a great post about that recently which you can read here).
And I expect the same from my kids. Living daily life together gives us parents the opportunity to model appropriate behavior. Our kids can see that even adults make mistakes and that the right thing to do is to admit it and ask for forgiveness and move on, striving to handle life better the next time. (Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self Control–the fruit of the Spirit are great reminders of how we should treat each other, but I’ll post more about that another time.)
So with that said, I will now feel free to write about parenting to my heart’s content, referring back to this post whenever necessary to remind myself and everyone else that I’m still learning and growing in this area myself. (Do you see why the name of my blog–Grohing Up Together–is so appropriate?) 😉