Our Maple Tree

Keeping up with The Maples

A Perfect Parent

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These past couple of weeks have been some of the hardest weeks of my life. I know that sounds a bit over dramatic… and maybe it is. But I have really, really struggled here lately. Parenting is hard. And as much as I love blogging, I simply haven’t had the time or energy.

I believe we have officially started the terrible twos and they truly are terrible. I thought we started them months ago, but that was a walk in the park compared to what we are facing now. Ada is usually the sweetest, the most easy going kid ever. But here lately, it is like my sweet little kid has been replaced with Jack Jack from The Incredibles.

One minute she is happily playing with her toys, the next minute she is screaming at me because she can’t get the play dough container opened. And of course, she is asking me to help her when I am busying putting her breakfast together, so when I ask her to wait a moment, all hell breaks loose. That’s when she starts throwing everything she can grab while screaming/crying at the top of her lungs. Then I ask her to not throw things and to not scream, then she starts wailing and falls to the floor. Or she gets angry with me because I don’t want her to grab butter knives out of the kitchen drawer or because I don’t want her walking in a parking lot without holding my hand or because I am trying to get her to eat a sandwich that she asked me to make for her. Stuff like this happens all. day. long. 

After several hours of this behavior is when I loose my calm, logical demeanor. It has then been replaced with a frustrated, overtired, overstressed mama – and let me tell you, it isn’t a pretty picture. At this time, my patience has been throw out the window and this is when I scream. I start yelling things like, “I don’t know what you want!” or “I can’t take this anymore!” or “Why are you not listening to me?”.

And about two seconds after I loose my temper, I get a nice punch in the gut from mom guilt. Because I know that how I respond to her tantrums and how I choose to discipline will forever shape her personality and behavior. Talk about feeling great at loosing it, right? So yeah, these past couple of weeks, I have pretty much failed at parenting. And that mom guilt, is real and it is disabling. I can’t tell you how many times I have just bursted into tears after yelling at my kid (or after she has yelled at me).

So why am I sharing my failures? Because this is real life… I am not perfect, as much as I wish I was. I am not the perfect parent. But there is one perfect parent and that is God. Can you imagine how difficult it must be for Him? I mean, we are His children and we are constantly and frustratingly disobedient. And yet, His response to us when we disobey is never sinful. He is slow to anger, His love for us overcomes His anger every time – showing us the right path. Talk about the ultimate example for us to look to when it comes to parenting (and everything else in life).

This really is a humbling thought and helps me put myself in my daughter’s shoes. Because I am just like her; rebellious and stubborn.  I think it is important to teach our children that we are only human and that we are going to make mistakes. To be able to move our frustrations and anger aside and simply ask for forgiveness from our children is sometimes a Herculean task. At least it can be for me, because I suffer from pride and I want to be a perfect mom for Ada. But I need Ada to see me truthfully: as a flawed, sinful, imperfect human in need of God’s grace. This way, I can show her the way to God by walking the path to Him together.

So to all the parents out there, you are not alone, even though there are days that it sure feels that way. Not only are we imperfect people, we are imperfect parents. We are all in need of God’s grace, love, wisdom, and peace. It is ok that we don’t all have it together all the time. Because there is a perfect parent that does and He is there for you, to help you along on this wonderful journey called parenthood.

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