Saturday, July 12, 2014

My "Total Mom Fail" of the Week (times two)

Do you ever have days where it feels like everything you do as a parent is just...wrong? I do, all the time. I really want my kids to be well-adjusted, emotionally stable human beings and I don't want to pass a single one of my negative character traits on to them. So when I inevitably let them see a side of me that I don't want them to take after, I think, "Oh no, I'm going to ruin my kids!" As if I alone am the only human being in the world who will have an impact on them and shape who they are.

A good example of this happened yesterday. We decided to get up early and go on a nice family hike. It was a trail that I have been requesting to go on many times over the last few months and we finally had the perfect day to do it. We remembered everything, got the kids all set with their long sleeves/pants and hats for protection from bugs...got Elijah on my back and Chloe on Derrick's back, put our awesome natural bug repellent on, and set out for our walk. I was feeling pretty good about it. A nice day, kids were happy, we were adequately prepared....the perfect scenario. We set off down the trail and everything was fine except for Elijah deciding he didn't like the carrier and wanting to kick and squirm...but I figured he'd settle down eventually. Then, all the sudden I noticed there seemed to be a lot of bugs around us. Then I said to Derrick, "Was there something hovering over there?" At first I thought it was a giant spider, but it flew away. Then, a few seconds later, I noticed another one. "What IS that?" Derrick tells me it's just a horsefly. "A horsefly? They are not THAT big, right?"

This is basically what we were seeing....hundreds of them. I found this pic on whatsthatbug.com  because there was no way I would have stopped long enough to take a picture of the ones we saw!! 
Now is probably a good time to tell you how much I hate bugs. I really do enjoy the outdoors but I really, really hate insects, especially anything that bites or stings. Especially anything that is GIANT and bites or stings. So, when I noticed that these enormous hovering creatures were, in fact, horseflies, I was pretty freaked out. I now noticed that there were not one or two in front of us at a time, but dozens. They would kind of play "chicken" and wait for us to come at them, then start swarming all around. I tensed up, and started walking faster, which did not help Elijah to calm down, in fact, he got more agitated. Then, it got even worse. I felt like I was in some sort of movie with mutant killer bugs. I wanted to scream, but instead I started hyperventilating. I know, what a loser, right? At this point Elijah was full out wailing, and I was done. So, when Derrick finally gave me the out and said we could turn around, I did not even hesitate. "I don't even care what's at the end of this trail anymore, it's not worth it!" So we headed back. Actually, we started jogging back, because now not only were we being swarmed by bumble-bee sized horseflies, but now we were being eaten alive by the most hungry mosquitoes I had ever seen! Needless to say, I was not acting calm. I was upset....I was disappointed that we weren't going to get to finish our hike, and I was feeling guilty for being so freaked out by bugs and being the reason we had turned around. Then, it happened, the toddler spoke up with words that shattered my spirit:

"Daddy....Mama sad!"

So, for the rest of the walk back (which seemed like it took forever), all these thoughts were racing through my head. "I hate that I'm scared of everything! Great, now I'm going to make Chloe scared of bugs, too. I want her to be a kid that's not held back by fear like I was! I want her to grow up and be able to do things and not have a million anxieties about them! Why am I so good at ruining our kids?" And all of these thoughts just made me more upset so by the time we got to the car, all 4 of us were agitated. Elijah mostly because he still did not want to be in the carrier and was not about to settle down since he was clearly feeding off of me. Chloe because she loves hiking and did not want to get back in the car. Derrick because he just wanted me to calm down and I didn't want to. And me because....well all of that. 

As we started to drive away, they both relaxed and Chloe said, "That was fun!" And I instantly realized I was beating myself up unnecessarily, for the millionth time. And we both calmed down too, and just agreed to try going there again in the fall when there are no bugs. Then we headed out for a grocery trip where I brought Chloe in with me and she helped me put things in the cart...then off to a toy and book shop where she had a blast. So all in all, a pretty exciting day for her, the hike (or lack thereof) being long forgotten. I love that about her, she just lives in the moment and enjoys every experience, and lets go of the past. I need to learn a thing or two from my two-year-old. 

This was perfect timing for me because tomorrow, the 13th, I'm starting an online Bible study that goes along with a book by Lysa TerKeurst called, "Am I Messing Up My Kids?". I read the first chapter about how her first daughter was 14 months and in a store with her being a totally crazy toddler, all while she was like 8 months pregnant. It brought back memories of some interesting moments in public places with Chloe while I was pregnant with Elijah! The embarrassment, the feelings of inadequacy, and basically just feeling like your kid just totally schooled you. Yep, been there! I'm so excited to learn from her wisdom as a mom of 5, and am thankful she is willing to be honest about her own struggles as a parent. If you'd like to join the online Bible study, it is done by Proverbs 31 Ministries. You can sign up here. I bought my version of the book on Amazon and I'm reading it on my laptop with Kindle Cloud Reader. They also have paperback available.

My lesson for the day was that, I'm giving myself too much credit if I think I'm the one who can either make or break my kids. They are God's, not mine. He is shaping them and He gave me to them as their mom for a reason. I will make mistakes, I will show weaknesses, and I will return to bad habits that I should be giving up. And yes, they will probably get some of their sin struggles from me. But, what they will learn the most from me is how I handle it when I do mess up. Do I stay in it, or do I let it go and move on? Do I hold onto wanting to be "right", or do I admit I was wrong and apologize? Do I say, "Well, this is just how I am", or do I open up my heart to grow and be changed by God, no matter how hard it is? This is where my example will really matter...not how messed up I am, but how willing I am to grow. 

Growing Together.....I think that really IS the perfect title! :)

P.S. Tonight, after writing this, Chloe fell out of the car while trying to climb out. She's done it by herself a bunch of times and has gotten really good at it so I stopped standing right there every time...and this time I was getting the screaming baby out of his seat. Watching her fall head first was terrifying...I was praying nonstop as we went inside so I could assess the situation. I'm sure all you veteran moms of toddlers are chuckling to yourselves but I seriously considered taking her to the ER since I was alone and couldn't get ahold of Derrick. But, this girl amazes me. She came in, requested to watch Pooh, then asked to use the potty (all while still crying), sat down and peed while asking for a snack. Crying stopped, and she was all smiles, knowing she was getting chocolate chips for peeing on the potty (I may have given her a few extra!). Oh, and, I learned from yesterday. I stayed totally calm and normal on the outside (while inwardly spazzing)....and this helped her to relax really quickly! When I finally reached Derrick, he talked to her and asked her what she was doing. She answered, "Talking on the phone!" (duh, daddy...lol) He concluded from that response that she is most likely ok....haha. Since coming home he has reassured me about 10 times that it's not my fault and that she will be ok. Once again, I am reminded that she is in God's hands, and He is in charge of every step, every fall, every breath. He knows her every need....and even in this, there is no need for mom guilt to overtake me.

Still kinda dreading what that bruise will look like in the morning, not to mention all the people at church asking what happened...oh well, with this independent girl, it's bound to happen again. Might as well get used to it!


10 comments:

  1. I promise you won't mess your kids up anymore than God allows you to....hehe

    I'm going to love reading your thoughts cuz this reminded me of my kids growing up and all the 'mistakes' I perceived that I made and the silly 'rules' I made to protect them, which I realize now were only out of fear. The first one that comes to mind is that when they climbed trees they couldn't go any higher than how tall they were. I laugh when I think of that cuz I thought I was protecting them from harm, yet Zeke broke his leg severely at age 3 from falling off a stool. You may remember that ;).

    Even today I regret many things in their upbringing even tho I realize God allowed every one of them for our good and His glory.

    Thanks for the memories even tho they always make me cry :'(

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    1. I do remember Zeke's broken leg and full body cast! Poor kid! And you are so right, we can think we have the best intentions and our kids still get hurt...it is a good reminder to me, yet again, that I am not in control. Though I often (desperately) want to be. Thank you for the encouragement...so true that even the "mess ups" are used for good by our wonderful God! Romans 8:28 has been my favorite passage since childhood. :)

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  2. Oh mama! I can so relate to the struggle of feeling like you're doing it all wrong, even as you struggle to get it right! I do! The fact that God let you learn from that horrific Big Bug Hike experience and apply what you learned so quickly is a gift. Your heart is soft and our God tells us again and again how much He desires that from us. I loved reading your experiences here. I'll be growing and learning right alongside all of you mamas, as we prayerfully parent these kiddos.

    Missy (Proverbs 31 Ministries OBS Team)

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    1. Thanks for the comment....it's funny because I wrote this before I found out about the blog hop and the theme "Being a Mom is Tough"...and I thought, "Hey, I just wrote that post!" I'm excited to share honestly and openly and read other mom's experiences as well. Sometimes as a mama of young children it's easy to feel like you're on an island. I think it's time to do some island networking. ;) Looking forward to reading more of Lysa's book and learning from you mamas of older kiddos as well!

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  3. what a great post! wow! Thank you for opening your heart to us! I can really feel for you as you saw your girl fall ! argh! nothing can be worst than a mum's angst! you can be really proud for handling the situation so well. I hope she will be ok!

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    1. Thank you for reading! It was a pretty scary moment but seeing her get over it so quickly (much faster than I did!) definitely helped. And, it is such a blessing, her bruise is already almost gone! She must have good iron and vitamin K levels or something, haha. I was sure she'd be black and blue for a while!

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  4. I love your story about a hike you thought went so wrong, only to be released by your precious Chloe's simple statement, "That was fun." Perception is a crazy thing. We get so lost in our anxiety sometimes. I know I do! I have major anxiety issues and constantly fear rubbing off on my kids. They are much more resilient than we think. We could all take a lesson from your sweet little girl: "she just lives in the moment and enjoys every experience, and lets go of the past." That's a great way to live :).

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    1. Thank you!! Yes anxiety is a big issue for me....an uphill battle to say the least. It has only been really serious over the last 10 years, though. Many things I did when I was younger and more care-free (or at least LESS cares)....cause me all kinds of fear now. I am sure that many of my posts will deal with this struggle in my life, and how God is teaching me through it. I am thankful for the anxiety because it has taught me so much about trusting God, and my desperate need for Him. :)

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  5. Great Post, Melyss!!!! :-) I loved reading it, and I'm thankful for your transparency that will help and encourage so many!!!! Love Ya!!!! :-)

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    1. Eeeek! I am so happy you found my blog!!! My dearest and oldest friend.....how I miss you! I pray you are well. Thank you for reading my thoughts, I'm excited to share with you as well as everyone else what God is teaching me!!! <3

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