It’s easy to trade in our ability to make peace in our home for the ability to create contention and unrest. When things aren’t going the way we want them to and there are messes everywhere and our children aren’t listening and we are tired and all we want to do is not be a parent right now, it’s incredibly tempting (and even makes us feel better) to let everyone know the state of their condition. What results is yelling, harsh words, rigidity, unhappiness, and general conflict that doesn’t really need to be there at all.
It is possible (and preferable) to lessen the messiness, to get our kids to listen, and to parent well in spite of tiredness (all for example) without resorting to unpeaceful means. We can learn how to stay in control of ourselves while addressing issues in an assertive and confident (and effective) way. We can learn how to choose our battles while letting ourselves let go of things we’ve decided to not make an issue out of. We can be the parent we know we want to be whom we know is inside of us whom we know our families need and whom we know we were meant to be. We don’t have to get discouraged by our humanness in all of this. It’s a fantastic learning curve, this parenting experience.
Something that really helps me to reel it in when I feel like I’m about to lose it (or if I’ve already lost it and I’m trying to figure out how to put it all back in the toothpaste tube) is this: Any attempt I make to remain calm and self-controlled and loving and gentle and kind will not be for nothing. Sometimes I feel like what I am doing is not enough and the efforts I’m making just aren’t going to make any difference at all. But I can also feel like a little tiny Hollyhock seed isn’t going to grow and yet it absolutely does as long as I put it in the ground and give it some water and sun.
Any attempt we make to be an effective parent counts, and it’s as good as a seed in the ground that will grow into something magnificently beautiful.