Giving Yourself a Little Grace

Parenthood is a funny thing.  Never have I known anything to give me such utter joy and complete stress at the same time.  You’re constantly thrown into situations where you cannot, as a fault-ridden human, help but get frustrated, but then you immediately feel guilty for feeling that way.  As I vented to my Mom today about this very thing she so sweetly says, “I hate to tell you, but that part never changes.”  Oh what we put our parents through!  Which begs the question of why we do this to ourselves?!  (The extra worry, pressure, angst, etc…not parenthood. 🙂

Our world is a wonderful, beautiful, very, very flawed place.  As a new parent, I am constantly thankful for the internet and the knowledge that can be found in a flash at my fingertips, however, life was simpler (some might even go as far as to say better) before we had such knowledge available to us.  I often wonder if God sees the internet as ‘The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, Part 2’.  We bite from the apple to answer a simple question, “Why has my 7 month old suddenly stopped napping?” and 30 minutes later we’re naked, exposed, in the garden of worry and stress and tears and wondering WHERE THE HELL WE WENT WRONG BECAUSE WE’RE PARENTING ALL WRONG APPARENTLY BECAUSE THE INTERNET TOLD ME SO!  Just roll with my analogies…they’re not my spiritual gift. 🙂

All that to say, sometimes I wish I didn’t have access to so much information opinions via this handy dandy phone of mine.  Polly has been an easy baby.  We’ve been very lucky.  However, after traveling home to Texas for extended periods of time for Thanksgiving and Christmas, her beautiful little routine has been thrown to hell in a hand basket.  The days since we returned home to Portland have been really, really hard on all of us and I feel myself getting more and more frustrated and losing patience with her at a much quicker rate than I’d ever like to admit.  After a small breakdown last night, I got so angry with myself.  “Sally, you prayed for a baby for years.  You were told you may never have one.  How dare you get frustrated/upset with her.  You don’t get ‘bad’ days.”  These were all things streaming through my head last night.

This is where I’m thankful for a husband who really enjoys playing “devil’s advocate”.  (The rest of the time it frustrates the mess out of me because I just want him to take MY side!  HA!)  William gently reminded me this morning of two very, very important things.

  • She’s only a baby for a very short time.  Savor it.  The good days AND the bad.
  • Give yourself a little grace.

Tonight, this is coming in the form of a little “Mommy’s Night Out” sponsored lovingly by my amazing in-laws, but I do think that sometimes, taking a step back provides a little perspective.  No matter your situation on how you became a parent, you’re going to have bad days.  The internet is a black hole.  God gave us “Momma instincts” for a reason.  Listen to them.  When all else fails, don’t retreat to the internet for answers.  Retreat to your instincts and to the wise women in your life who have successfully reared semi-normal adults (that’s YOU Mom)!  And most importantly, give yourself a little grace.  This afternoon, before Polly’s nap, I apologized to her for getting frustrated (though she had no idea what I was saying) and smiled and hugged her something’ fierce.  That she understood.  If you see me, remind me to savor every day.  The good days AND the bad.  Every Momma needs reminding.  They’re only babies for a very short time.

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