Tuesday, September 3, 2013

You Are Not a Failure

This isn't what I thought it would look like.  When I imagined my life with children before actually having kids, I expected it to look more polished and less challenging.  I thought it would be easier.  Not the physical stuff--I was fine with lack of sleep and changing diapers and dealing with tummy bugs and all that.  But this emotional work of being a parent?  It's hard, y'all.  As Shrek would say, there are so many layers.  And we are definitely talking onions instead of parfaits.

This has been a challenging last few months, and I am so, so glad that it didn't happen earlier in our parenting journey.  When we first made the transition to gentle parenting, I was still looking for guarantees.  You know--if you breastfeed, your kids won't have allergies or get sick.  If you parent gently, your kids will always be gentle and compassionate and well-behaved because they will always want to follow your instructions.  If you do this, if you do that, if you check all the Good Parenting boxes, if you follow this manual...  I never would have said that, of course.  I would have told you that just because certain outcomes are more likely doesn't mean that it will happen in every case.  Deep down, though, the residue of growing up a Gothardite means that it is my default programming to believe that if I just try harder and do it right, then everything will be perfect.

Of course, that means that when it doesn't turn out that way, I start to panic.  It is all my fault!  If only I had done this.  Maybe I was wrong about that.  I should have tried harder and been more consistent and...

Those thoughts are tricky little zombies.  Reeking death and decay, and ready to suck out our brains.  No matter how many times I try to kill them, they seem to rise again. 

Honestly, I haven't yet figured out how to keep them from coming back.  The best I can do is resist the deadly lies.  Because the truth is, I don't think I can try harder right now, and I am starting to believe--really believe--that I am not supposed to.  I am not a failure.  Neither are you.

As messy as this life looks some days, there is still beauty in it.  There is love.  There is growth.  It gets better.  You aren't meant to do it all.  You wouldn't put a crushing weight on your children and tell them not to ask for help--show them what it looks like to allow others the blessing of helping your family.  Most of all, know that these days come to everyone in real life.  You can listen to the zombies, or show your children how to fight the lying, shaming soul suckers.

You are lovely.  You are.  Your children have God's fingerprints all over them, even if you have to look hard to see them.  Breathe and let grace wash over you and refresh your spirit. 


prochaskas said...

I needed this one today.

Anonymous said...

Oh Dulce.
I seem to be having a year where the zombies are very loud.
Thank you for this post - I will be printing it out and putting it somewhere prominent to remind me that when someone does something (yet again) which I have spent YEARS telling them not to do, that it doesn't mean that I have failed! It also doesn't mean that they have failed, for that matter :)
Thank you, thank you!