It was an ordinary Tuesday afternoon when I opened my email to find a Groupon ad for a cruise on the Caribbean. I desperately wanted to hit “buy” and wondered if it would be possible for my husband and I to leave the next day.
I imagined myself in my straw Panama Jack hat and my bermuda shorts, sailing off into the sunset with my camera in one hand and my other draped around my man. Certainly the grandparents could come up for a week to watch the kids, right?
Screams of, “I’m telling Mama!” echoed from the next room as I buried my face and tried to pretend I didn’t hear them. Then came the pitter patter of small feet looking for the referee who would surely give little brother a time-out for not playing nice.
“Mama, Gabe hit me on the head with the toy and I told him to say he was sorry but he did not.”
Nope. Of course he didn’t.
Two minutes. That was all the time it took after I left the room for brothers to go from getting along to bickering. I pulled myself away from my island fantasy to be peacemaker. My mind searched for a solution that would be permanent but couldn’t find one.
How many times would I have to punish him for the same actions? Everything I tried felt like putting a band-aid over the situation rather than fixing it.
Sometimes in the long road of parenting, it’s easy to wonder whether anything we do makes a difference.
I once heard a friend say she often felt like monkeys could do a better job of raising her children than she did, and sometimes I think the same thing.
We reiterate the same lessons over and over, but wonder whether our children really get it. We model the type of behavior we want them to practice, but there’s that one child who is violent in spite of it all.
So what do we do? Let the monkeys take over? No, friend. We turn to God and each other.
When parenting gets hard, one of the worst things we can do is retreat.
For me, a hug often goes further than a round of advice. And a pumpkin spiced latte may not hold all of the answers to my problems, but it will give me the boost I need to go another round.
Friend, if you’re weary with the war wounds of mothering, can I encourage you to reach out to someone? You will be amazed at how much an adult conversation can revive a weary soul.
You may not leave the coffee shop or play date with a list of solutions, but you will know that you are not alone.
Several days after my Caribbean daydream, I spent the morning recharging with some other moms and their kids. After my oldest came home from school, he and his brother played for an entire hour without any fighting. That is a new record. Somehow, even when I didn’t think all of my discipline and correction was making a difference, it did. Slow progress, but progress nonetheless.
Keep pressing on, dear one. You will see the fruits of your labor. Sometimes when you least expect it.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9
*Linking up with Suzie Eller’s #LiveFreeThursday. Come join us and be inspired.
*Pictures courtesy of Derek + Diane Photography, LLC.