Thursday, June 28, 2012

embracing joy: in parenting?

So here's what I've been working on: joy. In parenting. Together now: joy in parenting.

I get grumpy. I get frustrated. I get tired. I get whiney and want to quit. And the funny part of this story is, I can't just quit. Almost four years of being a mom and I still have moments where I look around to see who's in charge of those kids. The last year or so has been nudging me to this choice: have fun with parenting or not. I play with my kids and love them and sing silly songs and put all the couch pillows on the floor so we can jump and roll around. But I also get really upset trying to decide which lines are drawn in pencil and which are drawn in pen. What happens when I smudge a line?

I get bound by what I've read or seen, scraps of advice or scenes played out. I think something should work with my kids and me and it doesn't. I overthink. I freak out about potty training. I compare my kids to others. I attach my mood to whether or not my kid is polite.

And all of that takes away my joy in this really tough role.

I want my joy back. I want to know that Claire and Grant are matched to Justin and me with a purpose: we're the best parents for them and they are the best kids for us, each of us pushing and encouraging and building each other in this life. Each of us adding to each other's joy in this life.

I want to look at Claire and Grant and see Claire and Grant. I want to learn them and take joy in being part of their lives. I want to teach them what is important but not devolve into demanding more than they are able. I want correction to be meaningful, not petty. I want the grace to be a mom whose kids know she loves them even when they get caught or mess up or fail. I also just want to have fun doing this. Parenting is a long day. But I get to laugh and snuggle and play chase or hide; I get to read books and paint and draw crocodiles; I get to bake cookies and shape playdoh and go for slow walks along the Gulf. So let me have great joy in this, let me see the adventure in raising two kids to grow in their strengths.

And when it seems more work than play, the afternoons when naptime is too short and tempers are too cranky, when dinner is refused, when bedtime drags out an hour? Even then, I hope I can give joy a quick side hug.


Steve said...

Definitely a hard job. You know it is hard just being ourselves sometimes, and then you being responsible for your kids makes life that much harder.

Best wishes as always. :)

Billie said...

Ditto to all. Parenting is a tough gig. But here's to finding the best of it all and enjoying most of the moments :-)

Weather seems to be turning here! Hopefully it sticks. You guys will be freezing :-)

jsmarslender said...

Steve - I think you're right about the time / energy / effort it takes to figure ourselves out. And parenting has flipped a few switches for me, marking the value of lookiing beyond me me me.

And Billie, I need to email you! : )