Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sharks and The New York Times Crossword Puzzle

I was just remarking to someone the other day how things seem to have gotten easier with the girls, because they've become so much more obedient recently.

Then the heavens laughed at me with my "awesome mama" badge I had pinned to my shirt. 

All of a sudden, the girls have become exponentially difficult and defiant. We had two playdates this past week, and I was less than impressed with the girls' manners.

I don't know if this is everyone's kids, or just mine---the girls are having this sort of "language explosion"---it's like now that they know how to say shark and napkin, they are da bomb diggity, and have life and the New York Times crossword puzzle all figured out.

When I ask them to do, even the simplest thing, a sly smile crosses their faces, and they triumphantly and proudly tell me, No. 


The thing is. I kind of needed this to happen. (1135)

Mama-ing is my gig. It's what I do. 

I take it pretty seriously, which all mamas should---I mean, we're growing little people. That's important stuff.


My glory. My worth. My identity. Those aren't defined by how well I parent. It's not determined by how well my children behave during playdates. Or, gulp, how obedient they are in public.

God alone is glorious. Nothing I can do makes me glorious. He is, so I don't have to be. 

That is freeing.

Other Judge-y McJudgersons might judge my parenting based on how my children behave; they may judge me on how I respond to their behavior---as much as I hate disapproving looks---it really is okay. They don't know me. What those judge-y people think of me doesn't determine my worth or my value.

For all you judge-y people (I admit, I am one too sometimes): keep this is mind---every time a mama with young children walks out the door, they're never quite sure how things are going to go. There's an uncertainty to it. Meltdowns happen sometimes, no matter what preventative measures we take. It's hard. I, for one, fight the fear of these meltdown situations, because it feels so completely out of control. So, please: Be gentle with your gaze.Encourage us with smiles, rather than scowls.

This past week, I had to run to Target for a few things. Brynne refused to keep her shoes on while in the store, so I took them away from her. This, led to one big crying fit.

My typical response would have been to, quickly, drop everything, and leave the store immediately with a red face. Why?

Was I embarrassed that my daughter was behaving like a two year old? Maybe, as silly as that sounds.

More so, I was afraid of what others thought about me and my parenting. I was afraid I wouldn't be seen (by total strangers) as this stellar mama with ridiculously well-behaved children. And I need to be seen as something spectacular, because that's what I do, you see.

But God.

I told myself (over and over, and over and over):

It doesn't matter. 
God is glorious. 
You don't have to be.

So, fighting my instincts to "flight" rather than "fight" I picked up my chin, and continued shopping, speaking quietly to my daughter as she continued to cry.

By the time we were in the check-out line, she was smiling at the pregnant lady in front of us. Thank goodness!

Soli Deo Gloria! (Glory to God alone!)

Linking with Jen and Ann.


Anonymous said...

Bold truths here, friend! Visiting your blog from Solo Dei Gloria today. I'm not a mom but, like you, dedicated to my gig. And more so than I ought to be, I might add. I blogged about it a few weeks ago too -- http://sarahkocischeilz.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/448/

Glad to have found your blog today! I'll be visiting often :)

MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs) said...

I saw your note to this effect on Facebook, and I loved the comment, "I will not respond to terrorism!" Hahaha!

This only speaks to a portion of your post, but - as to the crying / whining / typical 2/3-year old stuff - I just tell myself, "I will not respond to that."

Of course my girls are a little older, but they are excellent communicators. They need to use their words to communicate with me. That rule goes out the window if they're hurt or sick (or even over-tired, to some degree), but that's far from the majority of the time.

I'm reminded every day the incredible amount of resolve it takes to take the high road...to "never let 'em see you sweat"...but I think that's the right thing to do.

Sounds like you handled yourself beautifully, even if you were "blushing" a bit for a few minutes. :)

Kathleen @ Kath Ink said...

I had to find out about sharks and New York Times crossword puzzles and found myself embroiled in an altogether different trail -- I loved it! So well stated...this parenting thing...it's what I do, so when they behave well...I look good--oh, how dangerous! (For me!!)

When my children have melted down in public, I have always appreciated the knowing smiles. There is usually at least one (if it's crowded). And I know that they have walked this hard parenting trail, too.

Visiting from SDG today!

Corinne Ritz said...

I laughed SO hard through this whole post!!! I have had these exact experiences, as you know from reading my blog. I think a switch flipped in Bennett last week when he turned 2. He used to be SO sweet and easy and obedient. But like your girls, all the sudden he is talking and understanding so well! He is also throwing screaming fits, full on temper tantrums several times a day! And this has happened in the store on a few occasions.

I think it is good to not leave, at least not right away. I think the kids need to learn that you're not giving up, just because they scream etc. But like with all things in motherhood it is best to listen and feel intuition or the Spirit or whatever you think it is. It's there, and you gotta listen!

Jen Ferguson said...

oh girl. This mama has spent many hours learning this lesson (and I still struggle with it). I have found it extremely difficult to extend grace to my children when I'm concerned about other's thoughts. I must be concerned with their overall well being before I even consider outside influences on my own psyche! Great post.

Alice H said...

Thank you Julia. God has been seriously working this same truth in my heart recently, and this mantra helps remind me to turn my thoughts to the truth.

Andrea said...

Oh my...this totally could have been me writing this. I too was once embarrassed by the tantrums or fits, but one day I decided to do just what you did and worked like a charm! :)