My husband called and asked what I was doing. Without missing a beat I told him, “Trying not to quit my job.” Aka “Our kids are driving me nuts.” Knowing things were most likely tense on my end of the phone, my husband replied in a light-hearted tone, “Sorry, they only accept 18-year notices.”
It was a much needed reminder that we are in this for the long haul. And, I needed the laugh, too. Half the battle in raising kids is us—the parents. Along with the attitude we bring into raising our kids.
I’m slowly beginning to realize this brutal truth.
Just the other day, this thought popped into my head: “I’m NOT looking forward to the teen years.” My four-year-old daughter had crossed her arms, rolled her eyes, and mouthed the words “I’m not doing that” after I asked her to go clean her playroom. Then I responded with my own anger and frustration, because how dare she disobey me that bluntly. Which only escalated everything—SHOCKER! In that moment, I stopped fighting for her heart. I gave into the cliche, the negative, and the easy move of blaming the child and responding in frustration to get what I thought I needed from her.
Later that same evening, she was out of control with her disrespect and emotions. As she stood there crying and screaming at me waving her arm around, I was ready to discipline her with all my pent-up frustration. Instead, I chose to just pull her close to me, hold her tight, and let her finish going through those emotions. I didn’t let her continue to disrespect me, or hurt me, but allowed her to feel what she was feeling. After the crying subsided, we were able to actually talk, and work some things out. Make a plan, and promise each other to do better next time.
It took longer, but I was fighting for her heart. Not just her obedience to me, no matter what. Because whatever I did probably didn’t make sense to her or felt like a demand. I respond the same way when people attempt that with me, as a grown adult.
I think in raising kids, we as parents can forget that they are little adults, going through childhood. And if I wouldn’t talk to an adult like that, why would I talk to my child like that? Definitely food for thought for myself, daily.
Bottom line: I’m not going to stop fighting for their hearts.
These are the same people whom I held in my womb. The same little people that my life would have a giant hole in it if something happened to them. So yeah, while they are here, and even while they are difficult—I’ll be here fighting for them, and loving them. I need to take the long road sometimes, lay down my own agenda and timetable, and realize they are worth it.
I won’t give in to just saying that’s how kids are—because it’s obvious. We all have emotions, and kids especially don’t know how to handle them. Sometimes, I don’t even know how to handle my own basket case of emotions. But I expect my four year old to. Which is ridiculous. And then when she fails those expectations, I get frustrated, sell her short, and write off her teen years? The years that will arguably mean the most in our time together.
So, who is showing up with me, to fight for our children’s hearts? Despite how entirely consuming it can be.