We all struggle with it.
We all come to parenting with our own baggage, our own challenges, our own character flaws and because we love our children so desperately, we try like hell to help them avoid all those same mistakes.
I felt inadequate when I had one child. I felt completely incapable when I had two children. By the time I learned that Bliss was on the way due just shy of Daly Kay’s third birthday, I thought there was absolutely no way I could handle three kiddos.
And I was right.
But God stepped in and gave me so much grace to parent that even a fool like me managed to survive three children under the age of three. Even someone as short-tempered, unorganized, and incapable as Lyette Reback.
I write this because this past Saturday evening I took my youngest twelve to the park. It seemed like an eternity from naptime until bedtime and I needed them tuckered out and sleeping. I didn’t have the patience that night to listen to them fool around in their bedrooms till 10:30 – I wanted them tired.
I was already tired.
So I show up and there is this group of adorable young mamas with their children….about six kids between the three of them, all under six years old.
They saw me coming and as soon as they realized I was the mom, and I was pregnant again, I got the usual barrage of questions that range from the incredulous and most times to the confounded.
How do you do it? I can barely handle the two I have? You must be so:
Quite frankly, I had truly had a long, tough day…I had gone to bed at 2am the night before and woken up at 4am as my husband and my oldest three daughters left for a triathlon in Milwaukee. What I wanted to do, if I could have, is grab those young mommies and hug them. I wanted to tell them that I felt just as inadequate as they do. Just as incredulous at my family as they were. Just as stupefied and confounded as they were. Raising kids, whether you have one or twenty of them is a tough as hell job and truthfully it’s a wonder any of us make it through this ultimate test of faith at all.
I wanted to tell them I go to bed worrying if I did it right today and most days I can list off at least my top ten mistakes. I wanted to reassure them that God’s grace covers up their mistakes and their children love them to pieces and won’t remember 99% of what their mothers did wrong anyhow. I wanted to hug them and tell them that we are all just doing our very best at the very toughest job the world has ever known: parenthood.
I wanted to tell them that parenting is a refining tool that most times shows us how ridiculously short we are of the human beings we hope our kids have even half a shot of becoming. I wanted to love on them and tell them that as hard as toddlerhood is, enjoy how easy today was…it’s all prep work for the future.
But instead I bumbled my way through the conversation mostly struggling with receiving all their compliments when I was feeling so inadequate myself.
So see, we all struggle with inadequacy. The answer is to reach out to our loving friends, sisters in Christ, empathetic women a little further down the road than we are in our parenting, and know that everybody struggles. Everyone needs encouragement. Everyone thinks they are screwing this job up.
Which is why I titled my first book: Please God Don’t Let Me Screw This Up!
And even though I have screwed up plenty, He never has. He has remained faithful to be a very real help and my only source of true wisdom.
We can be sure that if we place our trust in Him and His leading…He will guide us through and direct our paths. Even as we bumble along in our own inadequacy.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths. – Proverbs 3:5-6