I’ve talked before about my perfectionistic tendencies and they way that they impact my parenting. It is hard for me to strike that balance between being the best mom I can be while still allowing realness to show. Recently, I was faced with a situation in which I had no choice but to let the walls fall down and allow my rawness to see the light. It was a big old ‘Jesus take the wheel moment’ and He answered in the form of my sweet, yet often spicy, 4-year-old.
Let me set the scene:
I’m home alone with 3 children after a long and stressful day at work (aren’t they all?). Two out of three of my children are throwing massive temper tantrums (the big one over homework, the little one about it not being time to color). I’ve tried de-escalating, redirecting, and implementing firm but loving consequences – and yet, they still scream. I’m now onto plopping myself on the couch and drinking straight from the bottle.
I go over to my middle child and tell her that it’s time to clean up for books and bed. I see in her face that she’s considering joining the others with a fit of her own…partly because she’s 4 and never wants to pick up her toys for bed, and partly because it is so freaking loud and chaotic in here, anyone would want to cry. But I just could.not.take one iota more…so I looked at her and begged, “You hear your brother and sister. I do not need another child crying right now. Please.”
Just like that, I saw a switch flip behind her big brown eyes. As my walls came down, her resolve went up. She immediately kicked it into superstar child mode. First, she diligently got ready for bed (while throwing in a few of her trademarked goofies to get me to crack smile). Then, she poured a sippy of milk for the little one before quickly switching gears to help clean up shattered piggy bank from the big one’s tantrum (::SIGH::). Finally, she offered everyone (myself included) a gentle rub on the back while saying, “It’s okay. Tomorrow will be better.”
Somehow, she and I managed to calm the crazies, and even curl up on the couch for a couple of books before it was time to tuck everyone into bed. It was one of those nights when I could have felt so defeated. Clearly not winning any parenting awards with this circus. But when I gave my daughter an extra special cuddle and deeply heartfelt ‘thank you’, I couldn’t feel anything but joy to see the wide, proud smile on her face. She felt so darn good about herself. My moment of weakness allowed her an opportunity to show her strength.
Let your children see the dirt – the messy, chaotic, scary imperfections – you might be surprised at their willingness to take your hand and walk through it with you.