Mommin’ ain’t easy . . .
Of course, no one ever said it was, but sheesh . . . there are so many things I love about my kids getting older. I’m definitely not one of those moms that wants them to stay babies forever. But the reality is as they grow older the things they face and the decisions they make are often bigger and harder and more challenging.
And as a mom, you realize that with increased independence and responsibility, comes decreased protection from Mama and Daddy. Not that you let your teenager (or your ten year old) just go wild, but they have to learn to navigate this world without Mom or Dad constantly rescuing and saving them at every turn (or you’ll be rescuing them forever). We have to let them figure some “stuff” out while they’re still under our wings so that when they do fly the nest (so many cliches today), they aren’t totally lost.
But I’ll say it again . . . mommin’ ain’t easy . . .
Watching them get hurt . . . stinks.
Letting them make mistakes and learn from them . . . so hard.
Giving them more independence and responsibility with each passing year . . . let’s just say it triggers the control freak in me.
And it’s hard . . . so hard . . . not to worry. Not to worry about their choices and their futures. Not to worry about if I’m screwing it all up. Am I too lenient? Not lenient enough? Am I too protective? Should I be more protective? I can easily get caught in trying to strike the perfect balance and then having to rethink and apologize and try to get it right over and over and over again. Although, hear me on this, we need to apologize to our kids when we mess up. We’re not above saying “sorry” and changing our own behaviors and choices as parents.
Because aside from the fact that I’ve never been a parent of a teenager before, my children are two very different people. So yeah, I’ve parented an eight year old before, but this go around is totally different and thus, requires different skills and strategies and constantly makes me have to pause and think outside of my tiny proverbial box.
But here’s the reality. I’m not perfect. I know . . . shocking. I’m going to mess up as a mom sometimes. And that’s okay. It’s not about whether or not we get it all right all the time. It’s how we handle our mistakes. So when I mess up, I apologize and try again. And the other reality is, I can worry big, or I can trust God big. When the anxiety and worry and concern and hurt try to come in, I can sit in it. It doesn’t help me. It certainly doesn’t help my kids. Or I can continually turn it over to Him.
I had this big revelation, for me, the other day that really should’ve been a “duh” moment. Because I knew it my head, but I needed to realize it in my heart. As much as I love my kids . . . as much as I want good for them . . . God loves them and wants good for them infinitely more. His promises are true. They are real, and He hears every prayer, every cry, every petition . . . I still have to show up. I still have to be a parent and make the hard choices and weigh my decisions. That’s just life. We don’t get a free pass to do nothing because we’re Christians. But I don’t have to do it alone. God gives all of us the Holy Spirit and His word (the bible is the greatest parenting book ever) to guide us and so much wisdom and common sense if we’ll just avail ourselves to that. And when I do mess up . . . because I will . . . I can take it as an opportunity to teach my kids about humility and grace and forgiveness.
Nope . . . mommin’ ain’t easy . . . but the hardest things in life are often the greatest gifts.
Side note: I need to own and acknowledge, because I fully understand and to some extent live it, that kiddos with special needs and past trauma require different parenting. A lot of this is going to work out and look different depending on their level of ability and maturity, but I believe your goal is to parent your child to their maximum level of independence and responsibility both in that moment and over time. Ultimately, if they don’t have the executive function to make certain decisions, you are there to help guide them.