Sometimes it feels like we’re not allowed to talk about how hard it is to be a parent. We think we should feel nothing but gratitude, and to speak of parenting in terms of anything other than joy and a blessing feels wrong somehow.
We wanted kids so desperately, and went through such a long period of waiting to become parents. How could we be anything but ecstatic now that we have what we wanted? But the truth is, we have days where we’ve simply reached the end of ourselves, and we’re just doing everything we can to get through the day until bedtime.
So if you don’t think it’s ok to talk about the struggle of parenting, allow me to go first.
This is hard.
Being a parent is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It stretches me and breaks me, and highlights just how limited I am. It reveals my selfishness and my desire for ease and comfort.
There are days when I actually wonder if I can do this. I wonder what God was thinking when he made me a mom, because it feels like more than I can handle. I look around me at other parents with little kids, and I wonder: How are they doing this? How are ANY of us doing this?
But when we as parents start to be honest with one another, it quickly becomes obvious that they don’t have this figured out either. It’s hard for them too. Most of us feel, most of the time, like we’re in over our heads and we’re just doing the best we can.
We won’t always get it right. So we pray desperately for God to fill in our gaps with His grace and we daily beg for His strength and mercy, for us and for our kids.
We recognize that none of this depends on us or our ability. That the only perfect parent for our kids is God Himself.
So how can we actually do this parenting thing? I’ve found that the only way to survive is to allow my desperation to drive me to Jesus instead of despair. In the moments where I’m barely hanging on, I cling to him. He sustains me through the hard, and reminds me that he’s got this. He’s got me, and he’s got my kids.
I find the courage to speak the struggle out loud to the other desperate ones around me, and we find freedom in knowing we’re not alone. Somehow just speaking the fears out loud loosens their grip. It brings them into the light and exposes the lies that tell me I’ll never be enough.
We remind each other that we’re not alone. We ask for help. We laugh and cry as we tell stories of everything falling apart, and we get through another day, together.
Yes, this is hard. But we can do this. God is for you. And you’re not the only one.