... is not me. Guess what? It's not you either.
Don't be offended by that, be relieved!
I can often be found on Facebook asking advice about certain situations with my kids. It usually has something to do with what they won't eat. (What they won't eat is anything I serve for dinner except hot dogs.)
A lot of times I am only posting to hear that every other mother in the world is going through the same thing. Sometimes, there are a few who commiserate, but most often I hear everyone else's "tricks." Some let their kids eat PB & J for dinner if they don't like what is served. Some make the kids stay hungry. Some make an alternate meal, some alter the meal. Some force a bite, some force 3 bites. Of course, all I am seeing in my mind are the perfectly happy families around dinner tables in every house except mine.
This is not a complaint! Those other mothers are my friends. They found their gold mine and want to share the wealth with me, God bless them. Unfortunately, my dinner world does not accept that gold standard, or cash, or credit. It only accepts hot dogs.
At the same time, I read the statuses of my friends who have new babies, begging for tips on how to get them to sleep. There was a time I thought I knew the answer to that one, as all of my children were sleeping through the night by 7 weeks. But it has nothing to do with me or my parenting, just how their little bodies worked.
And I can't laugh at the potty trainers. I just skip over those statuses now because of the stressful memories they evoke.
Each of us has something, that thorn in our side reminding us that we aren't getting it right. For some it is sleep or eating, for others it is attitude or worse. But for all of us, it nails us to the wall pulling our brown hairs out of our heads, strand by strand, and replacing it with grey.
So many little mice come around us to try to pull that thorn out of our paw for us, and sometimes it works! Sometimes, one little mouse's effort, one little parenting suggestion is just what a parent needs. Problem solved. Who knew there could be two of a kind?
But more often than not, that thorn is meant to stay. To remind us of who we are and what we are not.
None of us is perfect. Even the mom who has time to play with her kids sometimes sits aside to read a book. The dad who always goes out to shoot hoops with his son sometimes gets tired. Someone, somewhere, has come up a little short of enough money for a gift or party or fundraiser. We have all yelled, over-punished, under-punished, over-indulged, forgotten to pack lunches, ignored what we shouldn't have, and hovered too close at times.
There is only one Perfect Parent -- our Father. He is so perfect, we almost can't call our idea of parenting the same thing. We didn't even have to have the parenting experience.
When God created man, I believe He had many options. He could have:
A) Done what He did (let people become parents)
B) Been content with just Adam
C) Made more people the same way He made Adam, not using people's involvement, or
D) Anything else He could possibly want to do! (beyond my limited imagination.)
He chose to let us in on His experience, in a tiny way. As parents, we are charged with a tiny, precious human being that completely relies on us. Then those helpless humans develop minds of their own and inevitably think they know better than their parents. They make poor choices, we correct them. They turn their backs on us, we forgive them. Because we know they don't know any better.
He chose to let us see frustration. And He humbled us to see how hard it is to deal with free will. Only, He did it with NO mistakes - something that can amazed every imperfect parent.
So when you are thinking you want to send your kids outside and then lock the door behind them, but you don't because you really do love them in spite of it all, you are not alone. God won't lock you out either.
The kids will grow up. We all did! And we didn't even use car seats (Gasp!) But I must say, I did eat a lot of hot dogs.
I'm looking forward to a better feast prepared for me with love.
Passion Under Grace,