At least they’re not screaming in here.

Thursday, October 17, 2013 3 Comments A+ a-

I’m currently listening to the four Littles screaming in their rooms.  They’re alternating between screaming at each other, at me, and sometimes they throw in a song or two.  You know, just to add to the noise. 

They have no school today and tomorrow for parent-teacher conferences and I’m already ::this close:: to pulling my hair out.  It has been non-stop fighting and bickering all morning long.  I threatened to grab one of Jon’s shirts and create a get-along shirt.  But then I just decided I was going to lose it and instead of sending myself to timeout (which would’ve been a better option, I suppose), I sent all of them to their rooms.  Every single one.  And I really have no intention of letting them out until Jon gets home.  (I can dream, right?)  Oh well, at least they’re not screaming in here.

But I’m forced to admit something here.  And it was a confession I gave to Reagan’s teacher last week and my friend, Dana, this week.  Deep breath.  Here goes.

“I have no freaking clue what I’m doing.”

This parenting gig is hard stuff.  HARD STUFF. Why did no one tell me that after the baby cuddles, the late nights, the toddler tantrums, the potty training, that this parenting stuff just gets harder?!   Another friend and I were joking that we’d give anything to go back in time to those days of little sleep and diaper changing.  And perhaps we’re romanticizing it a bit, but the reality is, as physically exhausting as those days were, this new stage is just as hard.  Just in another way. 

I genuinely have no clue what I’m doing.  I feel like I’m shooting in the dark and praying that no one suffers irreparable harm by our parenting decisions.  After all, I’m raising little people here.  Little people that will one day, grow up and join the big world.  And please, oh please Lord, let them be good, contributing members of society, in spite of my failures.

This is not a woe-is-me post.  Because honestly, after our parent-teacher conferences yesterday, I’m fairly confident that no permanent damage has been done yet.  And quite frankly, I’m very proud of the people Devyn and Hudson are becoming.  In fact, brace yourself, I need to brag for a moment.  And since its my blog, I’m allowed. 

Devyn, my love, I love your confidence.  You are one of the most confident children I have ever met.  It’s a quiet strength, but it shines through in all you do.  And when your teacher called you a leader, I sat up a little straighter because its true.  You are beautiful, Devyn Paige!  Inside and out, and I can’t wait to see what you do with your life.

Hudson Jonathan, I am awed by your dedication and determination for school.  You are enthusiastic about learning and you always give 100% effort.  I can’t ever ask for more than that!  Your teacher says your smile lights up the room, and I can’t help but agree with her.  She also said you’re a wonderful friend to everyone.  Keep up the good work, Buddy!

No, this isn’t about woe-is-me.  Its simply a realistic look at parenting.  As much as I fear that we’re screwing up, as often as I think about all of our mistakes, no matter how much I doubt our decisions, I need to remember there’s a whole of grace involved in parenting.  Yes, grace for our children, but grace for ourselves too.  We may have no clue what we’re doing, but somewhere along the way, we’re doing something right.

And now, I should probably break up the fight that’s currently taking place in Devyn and Reagan’s room.  Hudson is screaming, “Devyn took something out of something!”  Which is incredibly vague and I should probably go see what he means by that.  Think anyone will notice if I grab a glass of wine and go sit in my closet the rest of the day?  Sigh.  I thought so.

I’m a coffee drinking, book reading, laundry procrastinating, husband and children loving, mess of a woman who believes that chips and salsa can fix anything. We have chickens running around the backyard, a mountain of dishes in the sink, and on any given morning, I have at least 10 school forms that need my signature or initials. It’s a crazy life {I prefer to call it controlled chaos}, but its ours.


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12:13 PM delete

A word of encouragement if I may... As the parent (father) of 3 boys, two in college and one finishing up high school... I still don't have a clue what I've done and what is left to do. All 3 love the Lord and serve in so many ways and they love each other (despite the bickering and teasing). The demands on us, as parents, is ever changing, but the discussions and interactions are rich with grace. From looking in from the outside, here is what I see; you and Jon love your children well, you pour God's truths and love into them everyday, your kids are exceptional (every one of them) in their expressions of the love of life and family and in their faith. You may not have a clue, but God does! And I can hear it from here... "well done, good and faithful servants." May you be blessed and continue to be a blessing!

3:12 PM delete

Amen! With each new phase we hit with my oldest, I think "God, what were you thinking?!?!? I have no clue what I'm doing." But I'm learning from all the other parents around me in all seasons of parenting that we all feel this way.
I like JohnT's comment above. I truly feel that he says it best.
Hang in there, you've got this.

9:28 PM delete

From a teacher's point of view, I'm sure Reagan's teacher has heard that more than once...this year. The big thing is to keep trying. If something doesn't work, try something else. It isn't a lack of knowledge that is a parenting failure, but a lack of effort. Love your kids, pay attention to them and hold them accountable. Those are the only parenting rules I have, for myself too. And some days those are hard to do, even in the toddler stage we're in at my house.