Parenting is STUPID HARD!

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Sometimes I feel like I understand why wild animals eat their young.

“Ugh. Parenting is STUPID HARD sometimes!”

That was the beginning of a Facebook post recently. I hit another bump in the road of this parenting journey. I know we’ll get through this, but sometimes it’s such a huge struggle. It’s enough of a struggle to get the everyday demands of our lives taken care of, keep everybody moving forward in a positive direction, and try to do it with a smile on my face. Especially when all I want to do right now is SCREAM and STOMP MY FEET WILDLY!!!!

We’ve been in a similar situation before, so it makes this go ‘round even more frustrating. In addition, some lies and deception were uncovered. Oh, I asked the right questions. At the right time. For months. I was aware there could be a problem. That’s why I asked the questions. I trusted the answers and extended grace.

As we parent and grow our children I believe the boundaries we have in place get wider. When our kids are young, they have narrow boundaries. Right from wrong is taught, boundaries are enforced more frequently, there is a lot more oversight, and children learn how to navigate within the boundaries. When they cross them, there is swift correction.

As children get older, the boundaries begin to widen like the top of a funnel. They are given more trust and more freedom. More of a chance to practice staying in the boundaries before they’re out on their own. As parents, we’re still there to point them back to the center when they get too far off course.

This situation was off course. My instant reaction was anger. “HOW COULD YOU!” I wanted to take away every ounce of freedom and every convenience this child has been given. “DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND THE SERIOUSNESS OF THIS?!” “HOW IS THIS EVEN REMOTELY ACCEPTABLE?” “HOW DID YOU GET TO THIS POINT?!” “I ASKED! WHY DIDN’T YOU ASK FOR HELP!” “DO YOU UNDERSTAND HOW MUCH I HAVE GIVEN SO THAT YOU COULD DO WHAT?!!”

So!! Angry!!!

Some of those words may have come out.

I had to breathe. And breathe again. And take a little space. And breathe some more. And say more than a few prayers to know how to proceed.

While there are natural and imposed consequences to this situation, I want so much more for my child than consequences. I want them to clearly understand a boundary was crossed, but I don’t want them to simply learn to dance close to the boundary or to hide the evidence when the line is crossed. I don’t want them to get used to going so far off course they feel there is no way back or no help available. I don’t want them to get lost. I want them to know I always love them, always want what’s best for them, and will always fight for them.

So, some course correction is in order.

This isn’t to simply get out of a difficult situation nor is it to just barely get back in the “acceptable” boundaries. No, the goal is restoration. The goal is to make different choices in this life journey so that they may live a full life as the person they have been created to be. And I want to deal with the root issues of lying, deception, and hiding. Those are not descriptors I want for my children.

We had some hard conversations. My child was in so deep the reality of the situation could not be seen clearly. It was hard to point that out and see my child feel broken. But reality and crossed boundaries need to be understood. The potential ramifications in the future needed to be clearly considered as well. There were lots of tears.

There are still hard days ahead. We’ve written a contract with clear expectations and clear consequences. We’ve included daily steps and longer term steps so we see the progress as we move forward. I’m trying to show that little actions, every day, lead us forward on the journey. We can’t expect to leap forward to where we want to be without the hard work now. Nor can we ignore those little choices that are leading the wrong direction and expect them to somehow get better with time. No, personal action, in the right direction, is required.

I’m also working hard to create a safe place of clear communication so that we can rebuild trust. I want my children to come to me in the joys and struggles of life. I don’t want them to ever feel they are too far gone to receive my help and love.

This week I’m also incredibly encouraged by the outpouring of parenting solidarity, concern, hugs, laughter, and encouragement from friends. I am surrounded by an amazing group of people and that is such a huge blessing as I walk this parenting journey solo. I may be solo, but all of you make me realize I’m not alone. My sincerest gratitude and thank you to each of you.

Correcting a wrong course is hard and painful, but it can be done. I trust that my children and I will grow stronger in our relationship because we’re navigating this hard part of the path together, with His help.

 

 

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The Hard Days of Being a Mama

Some days are just hard.

Some days being a mom are just really hard.

Some days being a single mom are just really really hard.

The Hard Days

I’ve had some long, full days this week. I’ve had long days at work with difficult conversations and difficult decisions, including some 10+ hour days. Tuesday alone was 4 hours of work that lead into three back to back to back meetings that went five hours straight. The 1.5 hour break had me racing home, grabbing the grocery bags, buying groceries, backing in the drive to let my son unload them, then driving back to work for another 1.5 hour meeting. I love what I do. Sometimes it’s hard.

This week has felt like hurt all around me. A friend’s three year old son was diagnosed with leukemia, and that just breaks my heart in the worst possible way. I’ve had to step back from another friend going through a really difficult time. I want to be supportive and encouraging, but that’s not wanted now. I’ve had deep conversations with other mamas about serious allergies and health issues, about the hard days of their kids hurt feelings and hard friendships, and the hard moments of being a mom. Sometimes it’s just hard.

Being a Mom

I’m up early to help with lunches and make sure they’ve brushed their teeth. Sorry moms with littles, even though my two at home are teens, they still need to be reminded to brush their teeth. I drive them to school four days a week. We leave before 7 am. I’m not a morning person. It’s not pretty.

We’re finishing up the end of year stuff and making sure grades are up. We’re planning out some college classes for both of them next year. We’re dreaming of what post high school looks like for my son with disabilities. We’re making plans for his graduation and party. We’re fitting in driver’s ed with my almost 16 year old and taking long drives. We’re making time for friends. We’re planning her 16th birthday fun.

At home this week a glass light fixture fell from the ceiling and shattered all over the place. The cat decided to puke on the landing of the stairs early one morning. Kids have chosen not to help with the basics this week, so the garbage and dishes are overflowing. I realized I missed a couple steps in preparing Jacob for graduation. My oldest son needs more forms filled out for his university.

The list could go on.

Doing it all alone

Even though some days it looks like I have it all together, I don’t. I still need help. I still need encouragement. I still need community. I still need people to surround my kids with love. And sometimes that’s hard to open up my heart, my home, and offer the opportunity for others to step into their lives. Our lives.

They’ve endured loss. Hard loss. And it’s hard to think about others walking away. I know it’s part of life. People come in and out of our lives. Sometimes they’re in our life to teach a lesson, sometimes for a season, and sometimes for more. But as a mama I just want to protect their hearts.

Choosing to Invest

I could hide my head and bury my feelings and just survive these days. Instead I’m choosing to invest in the hard work of being a mom. I’m choosing to experience the complete joy of being the mom to the three greatest blessings ever in my life. I’m choosing to show up and be vulnerable and get messy with the hard stuff of life with them. Some days there are tears. Some days there are hurt feelings. Some days there are full on meltdowns.

And all of the days are filled with laughter and hugs, smiles and I love you’s.

I love that when I get home after a long day my daughter still wants to snuggle on the couch and watch her favorite show with me. And she wants to try on fun dresses and laugh with me. And she senses when I need a hug and is quick to pull me in. And my Jacob can’t wait for me to get home so he can tell me all of his random thoughts that make perfect sense to him. And make bad “yo mama” jokes. And catch me up on the design complications of his latest welding project. And I love that my oldest son texts me during the week to see if I need anything from the sale at the Duck Store. We love our Ducks. I love them all.

Even though some moments are hard, I wouldn’t trade being a mother for anything.

So to all the hard working, soul touching, hug giving, dancing in the kitchen, eating tacos off the floor, laughing like there’s no tomorrow, natural, adoptive, foster, step, bonus mothers that are out in this big world, THANK YOU. Thank you for showing up and investing in the lives of the littles and not so littles. Thank you for making this world a better place just by being you. You are amazing and I love you for all you do and all you are and all you give. Happy Mama’s Day!

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