So I’ve been going to this parenting class, I’ve mentioned it a couple times here so it should come as no surprise. It should also come as no surprise that I don’t have it all together when it comes to parenting, or life in general, I think as a general rule bloggers are the people who readily admit that we don’t have it all together because what else would we blog about (aside from those “perfect” life bloggers who appear to do no wrong, have fabulously decorated houses and never, ever complain; see also: lying liars)? I blog, therefore I have faults – that’s my motto.
But back to the parenting class. I signed up on a whim because with our being gone to Texas and then volunteering the two Sundays on either side of the trip I had missed announcements for quite a while at church but then I got an email and saw the class was starting that evening AND there was childcare. I told myself, if I email and there is space for me, then I am meant to go. I emailed and didn’t hear anything back right away and in the back of my mind, I thought, okay, no need to go to the class then. But I ignored that voice, the one telling me to not take the first step and instead I called the person in charge of the class and she had been having email issues that day but she was glad to hear from me and said that me and my little boys were welcome that evening – the voice of reason and good decisions won out with this one (I will gladly tell you that it was that pesky devil telling me not to go to the class and I’m glad I ignored him).
So why did I think I needed the class? There are many reasons, the two biggest being Liam and Jack. I owe it to them to be the best parent I can be and to arm myself with the best resources and tools to be that best parent. Am I a bad parent? No – not by any stretch of the imagination. But could I be a better parent? Could I be more loving? Talk kinder? Give them more of what they need from me and less of what they don’t? For sure.
I recently said to Simon, “Whatever we’re doing isn’t working so we need to figure out something else.” Another mom in my class repeated that very same thing when we were talking about why we were there and I knew I was in the right spot. Further cemented when someone mentioned the book “1-2-3 Magic” and I happened to have a copy with me in my purse. And not too long ago I was watching a video of the boys from when back was around 1, shortly after Simon started working second shift and they were making each other laugh and Liam poked Jack in the face and I nicely said to him (in the video), “Hey Liam, don’t poke your brother in the face” and in that moment, hearing my calm self from three years ago, I knew there was no way I would have the same reaction today, with the same amount of calmness. I have lost my patience one too many times and at this stage, I need a little help to find it again.
I said in my anniversary post to Simon that marriage is hard work – and it totally is – but so is parenting. Harder yet than marriage because once you have a child, no matter what happens to them for the rest of your life, you are a parent. It’s rewarding, it’s wonderful and it’s so worth it but it is hard. It’s also relentless, serious and life-changing business, both for you and for your kids. As a parent you are raising future adults – it’s your job to prepare them for the world, to make sure they can function and be their own separate selves, apart from you.
There is no formula for being the perfect parent, or for even being a good parent. All children are different and need different things at different stages in their lives. Some seasons of life are more challenging than others and some peoples’ lives seem easier than others (rest assured, they are not – at least not always). Aside from the element of prayer (for me), everything else is wide open, up for discussion and subject to change.
And here are some other close to certainties: Wanting to be better doesn’t mean you are bad. Wanting a break, doesn’t mean you want to quit. Looking forward to alone time doesn’t mean you love your kids any less. Yelling at your kids doesn’t mean you are doing it wrong – just that you are human. I get why they have signs in the hospital warning you not to shake your baby because even the most levelheaded, well-adjusted person will briefly consider any option to get a newborn to stop crying in the middle of the night (for the 20th time).
Despite all the difficulty, it is so worth it and that is why people forget to tell you that it is also HARD. It is the hardest thing you will do because there is no map to show you how to best get from point A to point B, how to best raise another human; GPS does not work here, signal lost. You course-correct as you go and sometimes you get to coast down a gorgeous, rolling hill and other times you have to shift down to the lower gears to get yourself and everything you’re towing along over what seems to be an impassable mountain. And all the while you grip the wheel and pray.
So I’m taking a class because I’m not too proud to ask for help and not too proud to admit I mostly don’t know what I’m doing. But I am proud to tell you that I’m a good mom and I’m going to be better.