Parenting is hard work, my friends. I’ve always affirmed that, but I’ve been living it in a different way recently. We’re in a difficult season, and I frequently find myself physically tired and emotionally spent well before the end of the day arrives.
As I pray for and seek to cultivate self-control, empathy, and kindness in my children, I am seeing with new eyes my own need for continued growth. Their desire to quit when they aren’t getting what they want isn’t all that different from my desire to spend lunch scrolling through my Facebook feed when we’re having a difficult day. Their frustration when things don’t go their way is not so different from, well, my frustration when things don’t go my way. The struggle I see in them when I’ve asked them to respond kindly to a sibling who has just treated them poorly is not very different from the struggle I face to reach out toward them in love when they’ve been disrespectful to me.
I am learning to pray for and work toward self-control, empathy, and kindness in all of us.
And tonight I am thankful for grace – for the grace to lean in toward my children. It took a bit more time, but I gave up my chance to grocery shop by myself in exchange for bringing one of my kiddos with me for a one-on-one outing. The dinner dishes remain piled up in the sink, but I spent the evening playing games with one daughter while Matt took the other to an art show. I rocked Atticus to sleep and focused on his sweet little fingers, the swirl of his hair, and his gently closing eyes instead of looking at my phone. I haven’t gotten in as much work time as I’d hoped post-bedtime, but I did go up to comfort the daughter who was frightened of the booming thunder, and I got to hold her and sing her to sleep.
The girls and I are discussing and memorizing 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 right now, and today I am thankful for the opportunities and the grace to choose love.
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
Ironically enough, I wrote most of this post last night, and as I was finishing it, I heard the baby begin throwing up in the other room. This parenting gig is a 24/7 kind of thing!