Sunday, January 10, 2010

Just Being Honest Here . . .

Some days I just don't want to be a parent anymore. Some days I'd rather be sitting on a beach somewhere (the Caribbean, perhaps?), underneath some palm trees (Mexico, maybe?), sipping a frothy drink with an umbrella in it (Hawaii?).

What they don't teach you in parenting 101 (you took that class, right?) is that some days you'll just feel like walking out the door for a while. Some days you'll just need to take an emotional break. Because, the truth is, parenting is hard.

My house is filled with teenage girls right now. Most of the time it's a delight, but sometimes it's not. Like this weekend when I had to act like a drill sergeant all weekend and by the end of Sunday nobody was talking to me. Or at least that's what it felt like.

It seemed like every time I turned around one of my children (definitely not our Costa Rican guests--they get the good behavior award for the weekend) had left something sitting in the exact wrong place or had not done something I had asked her to do. It felt like the weekend was filled with behavior correction and attitude adjustment.

And the thing is . . . (and I know my girls won't even believe this) . . . I don't like correcting behavior and adjusting attitudes. That is not the fun part of parenting. In fact, it's work. It's draining. And it's exhausting. The emotional toll it takes on me just plain wears me out some days.

So why do I do it? I've seen parents who have just given up, especially with teenagers. I guess they think it's not worth the fight. They just let their kid do his or her thing, figuring they've done their best and leave it at that.

But I do it because that's what I've signed up for, and my job isn't done yet. My job is to help create "productive citizens" (a little family joke there), and some weekends just happen to turn into Citizenship Boot Camp where we have to re-train and re-teach some of the lessons they should have learned a long time ago.

I also do it because it's what I've been called to do. I can't give up. Even though sometimes I look at B and throw up my hands and say to him, "I don't want to be a parent today," the truth is there is no more rewarding job.

Because after a weekend of re-teaching and re-training, I get to enjoy the benefits of some really great kids who absolutely rise to the challenge and who exceed my expectations in some very surprising ways.

And I get the benefit of playing Link's Crossbow on the Wii with my daughter who came in from a meeting, worn out and tired, but who wanted to spend some time with her drill sergeant.

So my booty will stay here in the frozen tundra, doing what I've been called to do. The view may not be so great some days, but the rewards are so much better than five minutes with a frothy drink.



  1. Thanks for that honesty and encouragement. I know that post will stay in my mind for many years and I enter this parenting phase.

  2. Just keepin' it real, H. I know you'll do great.

  3. Great post, Shelly. Thanks for the encouragement to keep going and doing what I know to be the right and best thing, even when I don't feel like it.

    And I personally can vouch for the fact that you and B. have done a GREAT job!!!

  4. Parenting is the ultimate act of "dying to self"...but the rewards are eternal!

  5. Yeah, I totally get it. Totally. Thanks for being honest here. It's refreshing to know our discouragement isn't solitary!

  6. Yep - been kicked around a few times this weekend in my own "bootcamp," and it stinks.

    ...but seeing other "grown up" kids whose parents (and kids) would have benefited from some good, old-fashioned tough love? Keeps me going when I want to give in.

    Good post -- great insights!

  7. Amen! Shelly I can so identify. I'm right there in the trenches with you sweetie, and I spent a lot of time barking out orders to kids who ought to know better this weekend too. But I so agree that I don't want to be one of the parents of teens who have just thrown their hands up in the air, because so many have.

    Let's hang in there and one of these days will celebrate those productive citizens (we shoot toward "well-adjusted adults" here - same thing) with that frothy drink!

  8. I love your comments, friends! They encourage me.

    Kay, in a few years we'll meet on a beach somewhere. Sounds good?? :)

  9. As always, Shelly, I'm so thankful for your honest words about parenting. (I hope your blog is still live when I get to the teenage years, so I can read these words again!!!)

  10. The emotional exhaustion is sot something you can begin to fathom until you do it. The weighty responsibility... I was impacted years ago to hear a Christian speaker who told of having a complete nervous breakdown in her late 30's while her house was teeming with children. She was hospitalized... it was bad. Her children all grew up to be amazing adults and she spoke of how how God can redeem anything we give to him. Othre moms "keeping it real" is great encouragement. Blessings of strength and wisdom to you!

  11. Thank you for this post. I say that a lot - I don't want to be a parent today. ARGH. And it would be SO easy to just give up. Some days I'm just tired and I feel like letting them rip each other's hair out. LOL. Thanks for the honesty and also the reminder that this is our job and we can not give up.

    Incidentally, I'd be curious to hear how your kids take to reading a post like this.