Parenting is HARD. Nobody and nothing, not even the 27 mandatory hours of DHS training, could have possibly prepared us for how difficult it is to be a parent. The rose-colored glasses with baby-girl-etched lenses I’ve been wearing for so long are gone. In their absence, I have seen what it REALLY means to be a mom, the good, the bad and the ugly. This week we’ve experienced some of the ugliest moments yet. Once again, God is using our struggles to bring us closer to Him; my strength alone is just not sufficient to even get me through the day as of late.
A quick glimpse at some of the less glamorous parts of parenting: The money I used to set aside for clothes? Well, it still gets spent on clothes; they’re just not for me. The time I used to spend relaxing after school? It’s now spent throwing a football, jamming my fingers whilst trying to catch it, then fishing said football out of the poison ivy infested creek behind our house. My favorite shows? Replaced by SpongeBob and movies that involve talking animals (a bit creepy frankly). My Pioneer Woman cooking? Well, trips to Wal-Mart are yet to be well-received, so all experimental meals are on hold. (To be honest, I’m not super sad about that). Privacy? I’m going to need a definition; I’ve forgotten the meaning. I’ve had to really, REALLY work at perspective. Remember, we’re not used to having anyone in our home but the two of us, and on top of that this is not your typical child. PERSPECTIVE, PERSPECTIVE, PERSPECTIVE. No new clothes? Materialism combatant. Poison ivy exposure? Discovering once and for all if I’m really allergic. Movies with talking animals? Down time to turn off my brain and think about nothing. No Wal-Mart shopping? Well, those benefits are just obvious. No privacy? More exercise when racing to time my bathroom trips to match his.
I’ve also had to really hold on to the more beautiful parts of this journey and replay them in my head throughout the day, lingering on them when I’m feeling some major stress-induced eye-twitching coming on. For instance, one of my favorite times of the day is bedtime, when he’s FINALLY settled in (after the hundredth excuse to get out of bed), we sit together, and I read to him from Harry Potter as he falls asleep. Also, I know that it’s a little early for him to call me Mom, but as he couldn’t remember my name half the time, after the first few days we gave up and gave in; I don’t mind. I like helping him with his homework, all the while secretly helping him with his self-esteem too. He says he gets smarter every day here. Sometimes he says things that are totally hilarious and recalling them later can still make me laugh. I can pick his face out of a crowd of kids in a matter of seconds, and there are moments when the recognition that I have when looking at his face is both overwhelming and familiar. Also, surprisingly, buying clothes for someone else is ALMOST as fun as shopping for yourself! J
Thankfully, the good days are increasing in number, the bad days are turning into shorter, more manageable bad moments, and the ugly, well, it’s best when forgotten quickly. Every day is new, and God is good. I rest in the knowledge that God does not call the equipped. Rather, He equips the called. We have answered His call, and we have faith that He is still on the other end of the line.