This morning I had a meeting with a group of ladies from my church. We all serve together in a ministry and we meet quarterly to discuss how things are going as well as to plan for the future months. Today we met in the church building, and specifically, in the nursery so that my two preschool daughters, who were tagging along, could play while we talked.
Okay, and so that we could all sit in the cushioned glider rockers that are in there. I’m just being honest.
The meeting was productive and as it ended, all but one of the women trickled out to move on with their day. I stayed a bit longer to help clean up the nursery with my 5 and 3 year old girls. The other lady who stuck around is on staff at the church as a counselor. She is constantly meeting with others to help encourage them and bring validation to their needs, struggles and situations. And I don’t want to brag here, but I was able to give this counselor and friend a feeling of validation as well as encourage her very soul… and I don’t even have a counseling degree. I’ve just got two really tired kids who had a meltdown.
By meltdown, I mean that there was crying, screaming, clenching of fists and mild hyperventilation. And that was just me. The girls were acting horrible!
No really, the girls, who had been doing pretty well during the actual meeting, completely lost all good social and behavioral skills in a moment’s notice as we were cleaning up the toys. Because you see, one of them thought the other one had her drink. And heaven forbid you EVER share a drink of water with your sister. Ever.
And so the meltdown began and then it escalated until both of my daughters were being so dramatic and acting so ugly that it was almost funny. I said almost.
And that’s when my friend, the counselor, told me that she felt so validated. You see, she’s also a mom and she also has two daughters, and at that moment I was graciously (and embarrassingly) allowing her to see that my children are far from perfect. She was also able to witness my discipline “techniques” and could tell that I was frustrated, angry and confused.
And I wasn’t about to pretend that I was feeling happy and under control. I wanted to be honest with my emotions. This, my friend, is real life.
And when my counselor friend and fellow mother told me she felt validated it actually made me feel a little validated too! That means she must have been here at some point with her daughters as well. And seriously, who hasn’t!
They say it takes a village to raise a child. I think it takes a village to keep the parents alive and sane too! Thank goodness for my village!!
I know there are some horrible influences and “village idiots” out there that we don’t want anywhere near our children, but we parents are not dummies. We know how to try our best to provide a good representation of our respective villages. And overall, I’m so thankful for family and friends in my personal village who are helping to shape my children and even more, to encourage me when I feel clueless as a parent!
And believe me, there are times when I’m clueless. There are also times when I’m overjoyed, heartbroken, stunned, laughing hysterically and sobbing in my bathroom. We all have real emotions, joys, and struggles as parents. This is real life we’re talking about.
Parenting is not always pretty, but the process as a whole is beautiful. Sometimes it’s breathtaking. Other times, I feel as if it’s about to take my last breath.
Just the other night I was so frustrated from being interrupted by my kiddos repeatedly while trying to tell my husband a story that I actually used the phrase, “For the love of Mike!” As in, “For the love of Mike I’m trying to tell your Daddy something!!” To which I was greeted by blank stares as all of us wondered who Mike was. I’ve never said that phrase in my entire life until then. I don’t know what it means, but I felt it was warranted in this situation.
This is what parenting can do to a person.
And so, I must say today, that it’s a good thing that it takes a village. And as a part of my village, I can’t afford wasting moments like this morning’s meltdown because I’m pretending it’s not real. I don’t wish to sugarcoat my ups and downs in parenting, because life in this village is real. I’m so thankful when other parents keep it real too. The validation and support our honestly brings is unmeasurable.
It takes a village to raise a child, and I think it takes a village to help the parents raising those children. And sometimes, it doesn’t hurt to have a counselor available too!