“I won, but I don’t feel good about it.” A dear friend explained after she told me about the meltdown her son had that morning. I thought of her statement the very next day, as I sat criss-cross applesauce outside of my two-year-old’s bedroom, holding the door shut from the outside as he wailed from the other side, tears streaming down both of our faces. Debating with a two-year-old wasn’t going very smoothly. I pleaded with God to help him calm down so we could talk through his tantrum. My resolve was wearing thin, my patience was frayed and broken. I knew I could not open that door until the yelling ceased. I had to win, not for winning’s sake, but for his heart’s sake. My friend’s words rang in my mind. No, sometimes “winning” in parenting hardly feels like winning.
Whether you’re feebly standing your ground on the other side of a toddler’s tantrum, or you’re about to cave to the demands for more screen time, or you’re navigating how to address the lies coming from your teenager’s lips, parenting is not for the faint of heart. Yet so often that is exactly what we feel: oh so terribly faint. I felt it that day holding my toddler’s door shut, tears streaming down my face, at a loss of what to do, of how to reach the heart of the matter.
Sometimes parenthood offers us a gracious victory. The toddler apologizes, our kindergartner fesses up to a lie, or a teenager’s heart softens around the edges. This, for us parents, is the light we cling to on the darker days overshadowed with feelings of inadequacy. Because most days, if we are honest, the win doesn’t feel like a win. It feels like a tiny breath of air before the waves overtake us again.
Love is Spelled T-I-M-E (In which Arlene graciously quotes my own book! I cried 😉 )
Launching Adults, Not Babying Children
Parents Call The Shots was the chapter that met me at my toddler’s doorway. I felt empowered just reading the chapter title. After explaining the battle she went through with her young daughter over naptimes (the exact battle I was facing with my toddler), she quotes what she wrote in her journal on the day the battle was conquered through consistency. “There’s nothing more important than taking advantage of the parenting moment than showing Noelle I am consistent and that the rules are to be followed.”
“Remember the clarion call,” she goes on in the chapter, “We are your parents. We love you. We are in charge.”
I couldn’t see it in the moment, my grip firm on that doorknob, questioning how much longer I could hold on before caving in to my toddler’s demands. But I see it now, looking back. I hear it, this clarion call. Holding that doorknob is one of the deepest sentiments of love. Authority grounds our children. They need boundaries. “Kids need the guardrails and restraints only parents can provide.” Arlene explains. Our children find themselves under loving leadership. They thrive with consistent discipline.
Arlene ends her chapter with this much-needed reminder, “Don’t be afraid to step up and lead your children. Your decisions won’t always be popular with your kids. I feel a kid’s T-shirt slogan coming on: ‘Someday I will thank my parents for being parents.’”
One day my toddler boy will thank me for holding that door closed until he calmed down. One day my friend’s son will thank her for holding out for the win that didn’t feel like a win. Because the win for us parents is not an immediate thing. No, rather it is built up through faithful consistency day after hard day. It’s worth it, friends. Let’s win today.
Enter to win a copy of Parent’s Rising! (If you are viewing this post through email, you may need to click over to your web browser)
Raising kids stirs something deep in our souls — an innate knowing that our time is finite. Taking my kids outside in creation, I’m discovering how to stretch our time and pack it to the brim with meaning. God’s creativity provides the riches of resources for teaching the next generation who He is and how He loves us. Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!
Add a Comment