Growth Spurts: Battle
There are some nights when I collapse into my bed in complete weariness. Most nights I am ready for sleep, tired from all the running around and dishes and laundry and logistics and cleaning up, etc., etc. But I’m talking about the weariness that comes from a day full of intense conversations with my kids, counseling/refereeing, roller-coaster emotions, and the like. It feels like I’ve been in a battle, which is entirely accurate.
A few weeks ago, I had a particularly hard day in the parenting realm. I had been pushed to my limits and challenged at every turn. I had gone back and forth, back and forth between keeping my cool and being completely hot-headed. It was not my greatest day as a mother, and I was beyond ready for the day to end. Of course, even at bedtime my youngest continued to rebel, and I was done. Done.
I was done with the disobedience, done with all the talking back, done with the noise, done with complaints over food, done with the battles over screen time, done with everyone needing me for every little thing, done with the constant bickering between the kids, done with the messiness of our house… Just. So. Done.
I felt so angry. Angry at my children – yes, but I was also angry at myself. I was angry that I had reacted so badly so many times that day. I felt beaten down, overwhelmed and discouraged. But mostly I felt just plain MAD. I may or may not have slammed the door on my way to the garage (okay, yes, I slammed it), and then I put on the boxing gloves that I bought myself for Mother’s Day (not kidding) and started beating the heavy bag like I’ve never beaten it before. I punched and jabbed and slapped and backhanded, and I only paused to gasp for breath between sobs. Once the bag couldn’t take it anymore, I hit the streets. (Not literally. I just needed to take a walk.)
During the first half of my walk, I prayed and wept bitter tears. I didn’t like feeling this way. And I knew my family didn’t like my feeling this way either. I was just so weary. So battle-weary.
Then, about halfway through my walk, clarity began to come. I was reminded that the battle is not with my children; the battle is for my children. And it is a mighty battle indeed!
Parents, we are being attacked on all fronts. Everyone and everything wants a piece of our children’s minds and attention. It is an all-out battle for their hearts and souls! And I dare say the battle is getting more intense with the passing of each year. It’s no wonder we are all so weary!
But may I encourage you (and myself)? The battle is worth it. It is worth it! It would be selfish and wrong for us to throw up our hands in defeat and just give in to the whims and immature wishes of our children or to the luring voices that surround them. We cannot give up, even when we feel like we have nothing left to fight with. Tap out for a bit to catch our breath and renew our strength? Yes, absolutely. But we cannot surrender. There is much too much at stake.
Stay strong, parents. Let’s roll up our sleeves, dig our determined heels in, summon our courage, and mobilize our stubborn streak. In a world filled with all kinds of battles, I say choose this one. Don’t give up on our kids. Don’t give up on ourselves. Fight the good fight. I can’t guarantee victory, but I can almost guarantee defeat if we give up.
Remember: The battle is not with our children; the battle is for our children.