Tired

Last week at church, we were told that it’s okay to be honest and raw in our prayers to God.  We were asked to take time and write down one of those honest prayers.

I grabbed my sheet of paper and held onto it for a minute.  I started to write something down, and then abandoned it.

I thought about it all night.  What would my honest prayer be?  God is the only person in heaven or earth that I know I can truly trust.  What would I have to say to him that he doesn’t already know?

Then Sunday rolled around.  I fought with my kids all morning.  I’ve come to the conclusion that most of our biggest struggles come with the kids are tired, sick or hungry.  I saw one of those big struggles coming on and quickly went to make lunch.  I set lunch on the table and Isaac and I had it out. Randall walked in the house just in time to hear me crying to Isaac, “I don’t know how to be your mother!”  I didn’t stop there.  I kept talking, surely scarring my kid for life.  Asking out loud if it would be okay to stop being his mother.  To stop doing his chores and cleaning his clothes and making his food.  If he gets to choose not to obey as a son should, could I choose not to obey as his mother?  I answered the question.  It’s just not an option for me.  I wish it were not an option for him to treat me as he does.

I tell you this, so that you will feel like a better parent.  Surely, you’re not as bad as me.  But I also want to tell you my honest heart so that if any of you have felt like this before, you know you’re not alone.  I want to know I’m not alone in this world!  Please tell me someone else has felt this way.

I sat down after lunch (avoiding Randall’s eyes at all costs) and got on my computer.  I typed this up:

 

I’m tired.

I’m tired of cleaning up after ungrateful kids.

I’m tired of making decisions for other people.

I’m tired of yelling.

I’m tired of screaming.

I’m tired of no one listening to me.

I’m tired of not knowing how to parent my child.

I’m tired of discipline.

I’m tired of rewards.

I’m tired of holding back four letter words.

I’m tired of filtering.

I’m tired of constant loud bursts of gas exploding out of mouths and other orifices at all hours of the day and night.

I’m tired of boys.

I’m tired of tears.

I’m tired of whines.

I’m tired of being mom.

I’m tired of the headaches.

I’m tired of the early mornings and early bedtimes.

I’m tired of homework.

I’m tired of synchronizing calendars.

I’m tired of my seat getting kicked in the car.

I’m tired of the interruptions.

I’m tired of stepping on legos.

I’m tired of sticky walls and sticky floors.

I’m tired of smelling urine when I walk near a bathroom because someone has found a way to pee in crevices that cannot be reached.

I’m tired of scraping toothpaste off the mirror.

I’m tired of forcing my kids to apologize or to say please and thank you.

I’m tired of hearing my son tell me he doesn’t love me.

I’m tired of suppressing the feeling that I don’t like him much either.

I’m just… tired.

 

I put the computer down and went on with my day.  Randall and I actually had a very nice (and greatly needed) date that night.  We left before dinner and spent the whole evening together.  It was lovely. I didn’t even realize at the time that the ranting above was my honest prayer.  But God answered it. He does that a lot; answers my prayer before I even knew I had prayed it.

The rest of the week went by and it was a good week.  Not all flowers and roses.  No rainbows or unicorns.  But a good week.  My boys and I made some memories.  I got more hugs in one week from my oldest boy than I have in months combined.  I wonder if he’s afraid that if he doesn’t hug me, I’ll quit on him…

Or maybe God’s working on his little heart, and mine.

The Truth.

                                                          Ugh.  

I hate being imperfect.  I don’t think most people would think me a perfectionist.  I don’t really fit into that box.  But maybe I’m a lazy perfectionist, if that exists.  My imperfection drives me crazy… but I guess not crazy enough to improve too much upon. 

                                                       I repeat… Ugh.

Last night, I was tired and hot and just plain worn out.  It was past bedtime and Isaac was looking for any excuse not to get ready for bed, as usual.  I told the boys to get their jammies on and brush their teeth while I was finishing the dishes.  Isaac came into the kitchen sniffing and obviously wanting my attention.  I chose to ignore him because I don’t want to encourage that kind of behavior.  I’d rather, he verbally ask for help than wait for me to acknowledge his sadness. But as time ticked away and he still wasnt getting ready for bed, I decided to ask him what was wrong.

“My fingernail bent back,” he said.  I told him I’m sorry, I know that hurts, but to man up and get ready for bed and I went back to doing the dishes.

The truth is: I’m really a very heartless person.  I don’t know why people think mercy is one of my top spiritual gifts.

That’s when Isaac started crying.  Tears were falling down his face and it occurred to me that sometimes all a kid needs is a kiss from his momma.  So I stopped what I was doing and hugged him and told him again that I was sorry he hurt his finger.  I asked him how it happened and we came to the conclusion that it was really just a hangnail.  I told him that I know how much those hurt but there’s not a whole lot we can do about it.  I tried to cut it off, but it was too close to the skin so I found a General Grevious band aid, gently put it on and lovingly told him I was sorry but to get ready for bed.

I went down to finish the dishes and kept sending up reminders to “do a great job on your teeth.”  Asher replied that they were already finished so I told them to get in bed and I’d be up in a second.

I finished the dishes and put everything away and went upstairs about 15 minutes later.  When I came upstairs, Isaac was sitting on the floor playing with his legos and Asher had just made a mad dash for the nearest bed.

I was angry.  I completely lashed out at both boys, but Isaac got the brunt of it.  He immediately started blaming Asher and when we moved past that point, started complaining that his band aid was falling off and he wanted another one.

I told him again to man up and get in bed and if the first band aid didn’t last, a second one wouldn’t either.  I kissed them both and tucked them in and angrily prayed for the boys to go to sleep quickly and to learn to obey.  Do you think that kind of prayer works?

I went downstairs to watch my show, but the computer hadn’t recorded it.  So I’ll have to wait another 30 days before they post it online.  That was upsetting as well.  But then Isaac came down stairs again asking for another band aid.  I was so angry.  I grabbed another band aid and put it on and it immediately wouldn’t stick to his thumb and I told him to just go to bed.  “I LOVE YOU!” I yelled.  “BUT I’M ANGRY.  GO TO BED!  I LOVE YOU, BUT GO TO BED!” I yelled.

Isaac’s and my personalities completely clash.  I do not know how to parent him.  We’re still having the same old battles over who is stronger willed.  I still feel like I have to show him that he can’t out stubborn me.  Randall, lovingly reminds me to choose my battles and not to discipline his personality, but the behavior.  But I honestly don’t understand his personality.  He is weird and overly energetic and 7 and I don’t even remember being 7 and my mom tells me I was never as energetic as him.  And his behavior is blatantly defying his mother, the authority figure.  And you can’t succeed in life, without acknowledging and respecting other authority.  Right??

  No seriously, can someone please just tell me how to parent my children?

Anyway.  I eventually cooled down, and regretted every action that had taken place.  I wanted to make things right before I went to bed.  I went to his bed, and he was sleeping deeply.  I whispered, “I love you.  I’m sorry,” in his ear. He stirred, but was not conscious.  I repeated myself and hugged him and carressed his sweet face.  I didn’t feel forgiven and went to bed sad.

I woke up first thing in the morning and curled up next to him in bed.  I told him I was sorry I was so angry last night.  I asked for his forgiveness and in typical Isaac fashion, his energy got the best of him and he jerked his head back and conked me in the forehead.  I pushed his head out of the way and tried really hard to keep my same “begging for forgiveness” tone.  “Do you forgive me?” I asked.  “No,” he said.  I asked why not and he told me it was because I flicked his head.  I explained that he had just given me a bruise on my forehead and I was pushing (with a flat hand) his head away from my face so he wouldn’t do it again.  He said, “Ok.  I forgive you,” and we went on with our day.

 

Seven year old boys with too much energy that don’t seem to like you at all are hard to love sometimes.  And that’s the truth.

 

It is by God’s grace that I have this beautiful son.  It is by God’s grace for me, that I know how to love this boy.  He is very sweet and very smart and I love his creativity and when he allows me to touch him, I hold him tight and cherish those moments. And when he refuses to let me touch him, I don’t mind too terribly much, because I sneak into his room every night and squeeze him tight and whisper my love into his ear, praying, at least in his sleep, that he knows he is loved by me.


Here’s my conclusion on how to parent two boys: First and foremost, pray a lot.  Pray for patience, pray for forgiveness, pray for health, and pray that you all will make it through the day.  Pray for him, that he will grow and learn and understand your love for him.  Pray for you, that you will make wise decisions and teach him how to be a godly man, and my most common prayer: that I won’t screw them up.                    

              Though I’m sure it’s too late for that…

Secondly, be honest.  Tell him you screwed up and you’re sorry.  Ask for forgiveness as often as you need to.

Thirdly, tell him you love him.  You know it’s true, but sometimes you need to say it out loud to remind yourself.  And if you’re having a hard time remembering that you love him, he’ll definitely need to know that it’s still true. Say it often.  But mean it when you say it… or say it until you mean it.  Just make sure he hears it in all situations. 


The truth is, we are all imperfect.  There is no perfect parent.  And even one that knows exactly how to handle their kids, gets frustrated and screws up every once in a while.  And there is no such thing as “Perfectly Imperfect.”  What does that even mean?!  

 


Isaac I love you when you pummel me with darts.  I love you when we’re at each others throats.  I love you when you listen to the same annoying song over and over and over again.  I love you when you’re awake and when you’re asleep.  I love you because you are sweet and smart and so creative and fun, but you don’t have to be any of those things.  You don’t have to earn my love.  I love you because you are you and you are my son.  There is nothing you can do that will ever stop me from loving you.  And that’s the truth.