Friday, October 24, 2014

how to cope when you realize your kids aren't technically perfect

I don't know what I was thinking when I was pregnant with our first child. Maybe my prenatal vitamins were spiked or something. I pictured Isaiah to be a little mini Andrew/Jessica hybrid running around doing good deeds, being good at sports, smiling for pictures, being generally well-liked by all and having none of the negative qualities that my husband or I possess. As it turns out, reality happened. As it turns out, he wasn't an angel that dropped right from the heavens. As it turns out, the last four years have been really hard.

Now hear me out when I say this because it sounds terrible. And once someone heard me say it and almost fell out of a chair and told the world how shocked/appalled/disgusted they were and, well, I have to assume their children actually did fall from heaven. BUT, I don't enjoy being around my kids all of the time. Sometimes, MOMMY NEEDS A BREAK. Honestly, it's hard for me to be around these toddlers who don't listen, bite one another, ignore most requests despite our most valiant parental efforts, and generally don't respond to traditional discipline methods. At the risk of making the ugly sound cute, it's not. It's grueling work. When you have a personality designed to enact a detailed plan and take every precaution to make sure your plan falls into place, it's hard to be told "No" after you ask someone (nicely) to put on their shoes three ten times.

I'm rooting for my kids. I'm in their corner, and I love them even when they don't listen to me. Their perceived weaknesses (too loud, too aggressive, too ____) probably have a whole lot to do with what they'll succeed at in life. Too loud may become the 'life of the party.' Too aggressive may become a CEO or an all-star athlete. I think these kids are hilarious and amusing much of the time. Mostly, I like them even when they aren't technically perfect and I want to help them become these amazing people who go on to do amazing things and bear my amazing (but undoubtedly imperfect) grandchildren. But Moms, I will say this for all of us and even for those who can't admit it- the day to day is hard and I don't like being told the dinner I took an hour to make is 'gross.' Once I realized that my kids are not cherubs with wings and were not ever going to be, it helped me to love them better. It helped me to realize I have limits and I need space and its OKAY to not want to be around your kids one thousand hours a day. Like I said, Mommy needs a break. So we Moms and Dads plan times in our days to escape. Maybe you go to work, maybe you take a shower alone with a candle and go in your bedroom and shut the door to blow dry your hair without a child clinging to one leg and the other burning their finger by touching the hair straightener. Maybe it's going to Starbucks and working on that novel you've been wanting to start writing.

But the guilt? It needs to go. I can't make these little ones do anything and when I came to the conclusion that my part is: being consistent, being available, and being an example- then I was able to loosen my grip a bit. You give birth to these kids and you do your best to give them everything they will need to bloom, and then you let go. I can't bloom for them. I trust God to take the -surprise!- imperfect sacrifice I've laid at the altar of every day and make it into something beautiful, even when I yell too much. A story with a happy ending.

It's gonna be worth it. Bloom, my babies!


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