Only 30 seconds have passed by on the clock, but the 500th question, the 500th “hey Mom,” has passed through my kids’ mouths. I want to enjoy the sound of their innocent little voices, but my stomach hurts.
The more they talk, the more they require answers, acknowledgement, conversation, whatever, the more my stomach burns. What is wrong with me? People have real problems, and I’m stressed over my happy, healthy children wanting to interact with me. And every time someone says, “You’re such a good mom,” I remember my balled up stomach and annoyed thoughts and grumpy “WHAT?!” responses to my kids and I have trouble believing I’m a good mom.
See, this is exactly why being a parent is weird. Music’s playing in the van, I look fine, but this is what I’m thinking and feeling the whole time. Internal struggle all the mundane day long.
Music makes it better, but their voices cut through the melody. Sunshine helps, but they still inevitably need help with something. And then I remember His words. About taking my thoughts captive. I remember to trade being a helpless victim to my thoughts and frustrations and purposely think on whatever is pure, admirable, beautiful, good. Of course what I feed will grow. Kids, waistlines, and bath mat mold attest to that.
Being a parent is weird because it looks easy on the outside. Or it looks pointlessly hard.
But no one sees the roots growing longer and stronger under the dirt. The most important growth doesn’t happen in the spotlight. It happens daily in my heart and mind. In the places only God can see, though I’ve never been good at hiding my emotions. It happens at home, where I learn what He means by real love being patient and kind and everbearing.
I’m still not who I want to be, but parenthood changed me for the better. And that didn’t occur through being comfortable. Through putting myself first. Though I still try.
I have way less time to write, but a thousand more ideas I know are good ones. My life feels more action oriented and content rather than meandering and envious. I’m not sure how that growth would have occurred without the daily pull out of my own head by people who need me. I’m not someone that needs to be needed. I get annoyed by people who refuse to put in a little effort before asking for help. Even if they are only four.
Being a parent is weird, but I’m still glad to be one. It was appalling to realize I thought more about room design, clothes and toys than my actual child and their future at times. A lot of times. Maybe I was coping. I don’t know.
I guess the most important thing to be and do as a parent is the same as in life. Be present. It’s cliche - “show up”. But it’s true. Maybe the directive to “lay aside every weight and sin that so easily entangles us,” is for the purpose of being present. So we can make an actual difference and experience true joy.
Being a parent is a weird mix of uncomfortable and good. Like life. Like going against our sinful tendencies and running toward Christ. But it sure tastes better than the bitter, wilted leaves of stunted growth. So keep asking me questions, kids, and I’ll keep growing in my love, bit by bit.