The word sometimes sends shivers right through my veins. I never claimed to be a perfect parent, far from it, but if success could be measured in effort, I think I could at least claim a passing grade. My children might disagree.
I tried not to let the same words careen from my mouth as my parents spewed at me. I caught myself once or twice (okay, maybe a dozen or more times) when I would hear my mother’s voice suddenly come from out of me when reprimanding my own kids, and I would actually turn around to see if she were there behind me pointing an accusing finger in my direction. I tried not to use the same lame logic my father would use on me when I tried to reason with a belligerent child. Unfortunately I would shake my head, just like my Dad did, when my child looked at me the same way I must have looked at my own father when I was their age.
“Yeah, whatever.” In one ear and out the other. No wonder my Dad had gray hair. I was the likely cause of most of them.
Someone asked me what age I preferred to parent: Baby, Toddler, Preschool, Child, Middle School, Senior High…? I just shook my head, just like my Dad. I have gray hairs from each era, each of my three children “peaking” at different ages to test my parenting prowess.
I had one single phrase I cried out repeatedly throughout those years, “Lord, help me!”
And He did.
When I did not have the wisdom, or the strength, or the energy to face another day parenting my three strong-willed children, I cried out to the Lord because I knew only One Person could claim the title of “Perfect Parent”. When I needed encouragement as a parent, He was there, comforting me through His Word. When I needed wisdom, He gave me Godly friends who gave me sound advice and occasionally a shoulder to cry on. When I needed energy and strength to help with class projects, put together birthday parties, attend school concerts and the like, He supplied my needs.
Lastly, when I sometimes focus on how rotten a job I am doing as a parent, He reminds me how much I am loved.
“Mom, could you help me?”
“Mom, where’s my….?”
“Mom, I need….”
“Mom, thanks! You’re the best!”
I may not be perfect…but I’m okay with that.
(For parents who need a little encouragement from other parents who have “been there, done that”, pick up a copy of “Chicken Soup for the Soul – Parenthood” in stores now. My story, “Do Angels Wear Glasses?” is on page 89.)