Parenting in Dark Places

February 10, 2014 in Parenting, thoughts by Stephanie

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Things have been quite here because we are frankly not doing anything new or fun or exciting! Bunny is working on her book work, Pup is bopping along with up working on those elusive letter sounds, and I have been taking pictures in an attempt to become a photographer of sorts. But really not much of that is fun, child related blog post material. We are all still up to our thighs (literally) in snow and we cant get out to do much right now! Plus I have been very unmotivated to do fun things. I read a blog post called Parenting from the Dark Pit and oh, did it ring true for me! The author describes barely being able to bit back the loud PG-13 rated comments that she feels like throwing at her kids as they sit in the toys she has already asked them to pick up. And Oh, have I been there! The Dark Pit is a place. It is a place that seems to pop up in my journey here and there and I hate it. In fact I feel rather guilty that I am there. I have amazing kids, a husband whose love and support should win prizes, and really nothing that I should ever complain about. The things that are troubling me are all part of the life I have chosen and the one that makes me happy. But I am coming to realize that happiness comes in many forms and sometimes happiness is the deep calm that is under the raging currant above. Happiness can be a deep layer. Just like love isn’t always warm and fuzzy, sometimes it is just plain challenging and hard. I have been married for almost 9 years and in those years I have learned that love is not a feeling. Sometimes you feel close, in love and romantic, and sometimes you feel like being alone would be the best thing. None of that changes the love. The love is there in the darkest day and the brightest ones even though the feeling ebb and flow like the waves on a beach. Parenting is like that too. No one says that but it really is. Some days your love your darling kids with all the fiber of your being. Each moment in happy and you want to play and sing with them. Someday the sound of their voice will just make you want to hide. I hate to say that but it is true. Almost every mom I have ever met has felt this before. You love them, would die for them, but sometimes you just want the little bits to go away. How mat time do you need to answer that question? Why cant you just tie your own shoe? Your patience gets thin and maybe you yell (I do). It doesn’t help much, but somehow it does. Maybe you stay in this place of chaos held together with love and bits of routine for a while or maybe it is just a day. But, as I have discovered, the lightness appears again. Maybe it is a new routine, or a good long cry, or even a best friend that says the right thing that makes that happen, but I always does. Up and down, up and down, is the name of the game. Dark and light. Each place is a part of the journey and one that you cannot control. Its so easy to say I ill never yell again or I will always use positive parenting to fix what is happening here, but there are no “always” in parenting. The only “always” is the love, short of that anything can change and change it does. The trick is to let it g. Hanging on to the guilt only makes you feel worse and makes the dark darker. This I know. It is the choice to let it go and try some more. Love…..it is the only constant here! Relationships are a two way street. Sometime parenting doesn’t feel like that. We listen to our kids problems, kiss their boos, forgive their mistakes, and help them with anything they need. We do this as automatically as breathing, but sometime they are going to be the ones forgiving, listening, and helping us. And we need to let them. I am not saying dump your problems on them and share your deepest thoughts, merely that you give them a chance to forgive you for your yelling (make sure you ask for it) and let them do those little things that kids can do to make you feel special. Maybe its a note, a gift, a hug, or a snuggle. Whatever it is kids want to be in a relationship that is real. A relationship that is a two way street. Only if we show love even though we want to scream, and only if we ask them to forgive the times we messed up are they going to learn that this is how life is. Life is not perfect. There are no parenting (or life) formulas that will give you the best result all of them time. Sometimes things work and sometimes they don’t, and sometime they only work for a period of time. The trick is not box yourself into one plan, or parenting style. There are no happiness guarantees, but if you have love underneath it all, you can keep going with grace and dignity….or at least with humility when you mess it up good! So here are my prayer for you all in your journey and I ask for yours for me!