Nothing good seemed to happen. Bad attitudes were widespread (on both the adult and adolescent sides).
Josiah threw a shoe across the room. Micah told me I scared him (by yelling). Ella threw temper tantrums. Caleb is going through separation anxiety.
Today was a horrible, no good, very bad day. But we lived through it.
I have many, many days when I feel lees than adequate for my kids. I don't think I am as fun as I could be. I don't set up forts, or crafts, or lego cities. I don't read as much as I should to them. I don't welcome them home with yummy treats and homemade goodies. I don't spend the time working with them on spelling words like I should. I don't remember dentist appointments and when library books are due. I'm not good at that. Sometimes (way too often) I yell at them. I scream for them to hurry and put their shoes on. I tell them we will be late because they chose to not eat their eggs for breakfast, or put on their socks soon enough. I send them to school without a lunch and tell them to buy hot lunch. I will let them watch the Avengers in lieu of reading them book…because I need to "zone out". I don't do laundry soon enough and they run out of underwear. I'm not awesome…I'm not even mediocre.
I fail. Every…single…day. I let them down. They rely on me, and I fail them. But…..they still love me. With each tantrum I feel like I am the root of the problem. I hear them shouting at one another, and know they are mimicking the behaviors they have witnessed in me. I take every behavioral problem as a sign of my poor mothering. I can tend to be a really harsh critic to myself.
Amidst this terrible, horrible, very bad day I had moments with Josiah that were quite special. I sat with him on the stairs and told him that even though his behavior was unacceptable; "I'm still sitting here on the stairs with you, hugging you; telling you how I will always love you. No matter what, I will always be your mom." I get to see moments in their lives when they are filled with kindness, compassion, generosity, and love. I know that they also get these traits from James and me. Along with the bad qualities comes good qualities. I hear them thank their teachers after school, or offer their friends their favorite toys to play with. They are sweet (well, they can be).
Trying to navigate through parenting is the most difficult thing I have ever done. It is exhausting, draining, emotional, and stressful. But more than anything being a mom has developed me into somebody I never thought possible. I become more selfless, caring, compassionate, and loving each day. Each day is filled with something new that will define who I become. With each tantrum I am given the opportunity to choose to make that moment a learning moment, or I can allow it to pass by without investing into them. I have the privilege to help my children become the men and women that God has in store. I can invest into their lives and help them realize their full potential. I get to guide them and teach them how to have a full life and allow Christ to live through them. This is the biggest honor that exists on this planet. I get to be their mother.
So even though yesterday felt like a really bad day to be a parent; today is new and I am allowed a whole new chance. I'm grateful for new mornings, and grace. After all, we're all just trying to figure it out together. One day at a time….