This time of year I usually need a reminder that being a parent is hard work. Rewarding – but hard – work. There are a million things to do, places to be and toys to buy. I wish I could create a clone of myself to get everything done.
Facebook doesn’t help. As if only to annoy me, my friends and family keep posting pictures of their beautifully decorated homes, suggested holiday recipes and latest Pinterest projects. Seriously, who has this kind of time? I am doing well to make it out the door each day without forgetting something.
To comfort myself, I tell myself that I am the rule, not the exception. Everyone struggles. But am I really? Could I be doing more as a parent for my family? Should I? Self-doubt as a parent can be overwhelming and let’s face it, exhausting. We are often quick to extend grace and forgiveness to those around us, but do not extend it to ourselves. It is tricky to know when we should honestly push ourselves to do more and when we have set unrealistic expectations. I think the key is being open and honest with one another about our struggles as parents. And to seek support and help when needed.
I read something recently that sums up how I feel as a parent, particularly this time of year: “She could never go back and make some of the details pretty. All she could do was move forward and make the whole beautiful.” If you looked at a typical day at my house you could see just how unpretty some of those details are: dirty dishes and unmade beds, baskets of laundry and empty dog bowls, raised voices and slammed doors. But among all of these unpretty details, there is love. Love for the home our family has created and love for each other. So, from one hardworking parent to another, relax. Cut yourself some slack. I’ll try to do the same.