Give yourself grace
The longer I am a parent, the more I learn about grace — both towards others and towards myself. For some reason, moms tend to have over-the-top expectations of themselves. We think we can do it all with little sleep and a great attitude. But what we need more than anything is to extend grace to ourselves. I need to give myself grace. And although I know this, I don’t find it easy to do.
My kids are still relatively young. They are 6, 5, 4, and 2 years old. They still give me a run for my money. There are still days I am sweating walking out of Target from the physical and emotional exhaustion of making sure everyone is following normal social protocol.
Then, I saw myself in a family at Five Guys. I kid you not, this family is in the exact place I was a few years ago. We were eating our burgers and in walked the family with young kids. I didn’t really pay much attention until Eden said, “Mom, they are exactly like our family.” So, I looked up and noticed a mom trying to get 3 preschool and younger aged kids settled into chairs, while balancing a baby carrier on her arm. She has a 3-year-old, 2-year-old, 18-month-old, and a newborn.
Eden was excited because the oldest of the kids was a girl, and the others were boys. “Do you think the baby is a boy too? Then they really would be just like us!”
While they were trying to settle everyone around a table that was only meant for 4, I quickly told Carlos to take them an extra chair. For the love, help that poor woman!
As we were getting ready to leave, I had to say hi and to find out if the baby she was nursing under a receiving blanket is a boy. It is a boy if you were wondering.
By the time we got to the car, I was all sappy. How are we out of that stage? How did we survive that stage when we were there?!
Seeing that family gave me a fresh perspective on my situation. I just kept thinking, “oh she must be so tired! I hope she knows she is doing an amazing job.”
It made me realize how hard I was on myself during that time and still am now. Parenting several small children at one time is just crazy. Parenting in general is hard! Honestly, I don’t believe the number of kids you have makes a difference. There are different challenges for every family; what we all have in common is that it is hard. But you know, watching that other mom made me realize we all need to give ourselves a little more grace.
We are all doing the best we can. We are up at night with a toddler who had a nightmare. We are reading parenting blogs or books in our free time because we want to be better. We love on our kids everyday. Those are good things, folks. Why do we choose to focus on the negative or the things we are not doing instead?
Today, give yourself grace. Take the time to breathe deeply, and know you are doing ok. Your kids know they are loved. They know you are there. Sit down with them and read a book or build a tower, and just soak in your kids. Just be with them and be in the moment. Don’t think about the things you should be doing. Give yourself grace.