It looks like you are having a rough day. Junior is talking back and Princess peed on the floor again. Not one thing has gone right all day and you’re out, you’re done.
You’d do just about anything to get a break.
Man, do I get it. Do I understand what hard days look like.
With three little people at my house 5 years old and under, I get hard days. I get sleepless nights. I get what feels like hundreds of loads of laundry and cleaning up someone else’s pee and poo.
I get the feeling of cooking and cleaning most of the day to come out with a dirty kitchen and the need to go to the grocery store – again. I get the ups and downs of kidlets’ moods. The not listening. The not eating. The yelling.
And the subsequent hair-pulling-out and turning gray so I’m left wondering if I’ll be bald first or gray first as a less than 30 year old woman.
I understand that the days are long. The nights are short. And sometimes I wonder if there’s enough coffee for the hardest days.
On those days I might text my husband. “Hey, yeah, I’m ordering pizza tonight.” Or “Hey, you’ll be home to do bed time tonight, right?” Then I’ll lay down or straight up go to bed, not to be seen till morning – or when the baby needs fed. So exactly 43 minutes from now.
And when we lived closer, I might have even packed up the kidlets, driven to mom’s house and plunked down on her couch while kiddos got Nene time and I got my brain back in between my ears. Then she’d feed me and love me and it would be awesome.
So please know that I am in the trenches with you. I’m so on Team Parenting is Hard Work and I think we should get t-shirts.
But I want to say something you may not like. I guess then maybe you won’t want a matching t-shirt with me.
I’ve written before about finding something GOOD in any situation, something small, and building on that to notice more good things. What you look for is what you see. So when I focus on the good and beautiful things, I tend to see more good and beautiful things going on all around me in big and small ways.
It’s why our kids puff up and get excited when they get a compliment from us. Like our 3 year old, he’s so hilarious, and as soon as we tell him how funny he is, he keeps do the same action, bigger and bigger to keep getting bigger and bigger laughs.
Why does this matter? Well, because the cycle also works in reverse. So when we continually point out the really hard and challenging stuff about our kids, we’ll just talk about the hard and challenging things about our kids, which will have us noticing more hard and challenging things about our kids and so on.
Or, as I like to say, what you look for is what you’ll see.
Ok, so those really hard days with your kids? With my kids? Remember how I get it and I’m totally with you?
We need to be really aware of how we’re talking about those days. And more importantly, how we’re talking about our kids as a result of those days.
There is a fine line between complaining and fact-sharing. There is also a fine line between seeking advice and bad-mouthing.
Remember that Facebook status you wrote like “Kids for Sale”, “Anyone want some free kids”, “You take them till college”, or anything else that you use when you’re at the end of your parenting rope? They are causing that cycle to go in the negative direction – and what you look for is what you’ll see.
Think about this in your marriage. What if your husband said that about you? “Wife for sale.” I know I wouldn’t think it was very funny, especially if we’d been having a bad day, week, or even year. I would feel, even for a moment, that he’d given up on me.
You might be thinking, “But, Leah, they’ll never see it.” You’re probably right. However, once something is on the internet, it’s there. Even if it’s taken down, there’s still imprints, and other people still probably saw it. One day your kids may even be on social media with you.
As parents, we are in a unique position to build up or tear down our kids. And I am confident the way that we talk to them becomes a part of how they see themselves, and what their inner voice sounds like.
So a Facebook status may not be talking to them, but because it’s bred out of frustration and end-of-rope-ness, my guess is there are things being said to them or will be said to them.
Even on our worst days, I don’t want my kids to think I’ve given up on them. That grace applies to every situation except this one. That there is possibly something they could do that would make me stop loving them.
And even on your worst days, your kids don’t want to think you’ve given up on them either.
Because the truth is, there’s always more grace. There’s more grace for them as they grow and become who God has for them to be. There’s more grace for me as I learn how to be a better mom to their needs. And there’s so much love for these tiny (or not so tiny) humans that are my babies.
And there’s grace enough for you on your bad days, too.
P.S. I’d LOVE to hear from you on this. What if someone makes a comment like this in front of you? Do you have a way to respond? Leave it in the comments or email me at leahheffnerblog @ gmail . com