On Failing. Miserably.

April 4, 2014

If days can be categorically classified, today would fall confidently into the “bad” column. While I’d love to blame my two-year old, I know deep down that I am responsible for the column in which each day lands. But I could not get my act together today.
And neither could my boy. There is nothing that shows a parent how much their attitude sets the tone quite like a bad day.
He hears me when I lose it and growl. When my eyes widen like saucers and my jaw protrudes in infuriated stoney determination. And he echoes it back to me in making demands while smacking the floor, shrieking so he cannot hear my instruction, stomping his feet, slamming doors, and collapsing into a writhing heap on the floor. We look different on the outside, but our emotions and spirits are mirroring each other. I hate that. I hate that as a parent, I allow myself to respond with the emotion of a toddler.
At one point today I found myself on the floor in the kitchen (not so unlike my son’s posture) crying and throwing my hands up telling God he most certainly was confused about what he had called me to do and the desires he put on my heart. Life was not supposed to be a train of such insignificant and menial tasks. Futile. That is the best word to describe what my days have been reduced to. The food I make disappears with little gratitude, making messes for me to clean, filling diapers for me to change, rubbing into tiny shirts and pants that I must wash, always being smeared onto any exposed surface (especially hair). Cleaning the kitchen, washing and folding laundry, making beds, scrubbing toilets, sweeping floors, picking up picking up picking up picking up the same toys. Saying no. Saying no. Saying no. Redirecting. Saying no. Screaming no at the top of my lungs, physically removing the child from the thing and dropping said child into time out. Wondering for an incomplete and fleeting moment what proactive thing I am not doing to avoid these scenarios.
When my spouse returns at the end of a day, I have little to show for my efforts besides a soiled, frizzy, unkempt wife with crazy eyes.
This story has been told by every mother who has ever walked the earth.
But surely God heard my voice as I sat defeated on my floor.
I love my children. I would be shattered if I suddenly was no longer charged with their care. I can not imagine recovering if I ever lost them. But sometimes I wish I could put them away for a few days and live out the adulthood I imagined: Coffee shop appointments, maintaining a sharp blog, owning the best bakery in town, having a consistent workout routine, leaving the house looking pulled together, sipping something hot while watching the sunrise, reading a good book in bed, spontaneous dates where both partners are present and engaged.
Instead, every outing is done juggling two toddlers who have terribly unpredictable emotions. I write mostly mundane notes from my day on social networking sites. I bake to keep up with my bad habits. My workout routine runs a pretty perfect once-a-month schedule. Spontaneous dates are distant memories. I can not remember the last book I read in its entirety. And I fall into bed with nothing left to give long after the sunsets and roll back out after it has risen feeling much the same as when I laid down.
Life is not as glamorous as I planned for it to be. I am not as self-reliant and independent as I imagined I might be as a mother. The most perfect moment of my day usually involves toast and three seconds of silent children while a cartoon flicks on the tv.
But God hears me. And this insignificant and mundane has driven me to desperation.
I am desperate to raise children who rise above my weaknesses.
I am desperate to have a heart that makes room for Jesus amid my chaos and exhaustion.
I am desperate to point to Jesus when I throw my hands up in despair.
I am desperate to be more than the sum of my daily actions.
I am desperate to hear God’s voice over the din and allow him to bring significance to my routine.

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7 Responses to “On Failing. Miserably.”

  1. cjpb said

    I hear you, Rachel. I’ve had all of these desperate thoughts lately. “Am I really supposed to raise children?” You’re not alone. :) I’ve learned that a break from beloved children–half day good, full day better, weekend best–really helps to restore my sanity. Hard to do when nursing, but eventually the goal of a break can become reality. Hang in there. (You’re a lovely writer, btw.)

  2. cjpb said

    I hear you, Rachel. Ive had all of these desperate thoughts lately. “Am I really supposed to raise children?” You’re not alone. :) I’ve learned that a break from beloved children–half day good, full day better, weekend best–really helps to restore my sanity. Hard to do when nursing, but eventually the goal of a break can become reality. Hang in there. (You’re a lovely writer, btw.)

  3. Lora Idol said

    Thanks for having the courage to be so honest about motherhood. Most moms don’t want to share the dark moments for fear of being judged and unfortunately in most cases that’s true. Instead of bearing one another’s burdens we judge. Hang in there I’m with you!

    • Rachel Ward said

      Thanks, Lora. Some days are just too crazy and it is therapeutic just to hear someone say “I’ve been there, too.”

  4. Sandra said

    I can’t tell you how much this post spoke to me as a mom and believer. I just had long, tear filled phone call with my sister about how I love my kids so much, but lately I feel like I’m not sure they will know that (especially my 5 year old) because of how I’m acting…frustrated, angry, impatient…the things I would discipline when they act the same way! I’m trying to die to myself in these moments and let God come through, but it is so dang hard, especially if it’s just been a bad day. Thank you for using your posts to pour into other women and reminding us that God will help us, if we let Him.

    • Rachel Ward said

      I can so relate and I’m glad this resonated with you. With God’s strength and grace we will raise children who love Him and know how to apologize!

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