This has been the weirdest May of my existence and it definitely doesn’t feel like Mother’s Day to me. Or my kids.
Last night, we ate another dinner outside to vary it up and my kids were shocked that Mother’s Day was this weekend. Good thing homemade gifts are my favorite.
Mothering in the middle of the global pandemic takes motherhood to a whole new level.
In the last 8 weeks, we’ve become school teachers, nurses, prison guards, outdoor wellness coaches, chefs…oh wait. We are mothers, we were already all those things. We just had more help.
My first baby rarely slept and as a result, neither did I. (She just finished her sophomore of college at home and she’s got the sleep thing figured out!) By the time she was 7 or 8 months old, we were both exhausted. I will never forget sitting outside her bedroom door wringing my hands–my husband nearly holding me down, as she cried herself to sleep for the first time.
It nearly killed me.
She finally slept and every night after, she cried less and slept more. Within a couple of days, we were both new people.
It was the beginning of countless lessons that have taught me this truth: Moms need grit. The kind of resolve that helps us dig deep and do what’s best for our kids even when it’s hard on us.
Parenting with grit doesn’t mean we don’t feel compassion for our kids. It means we love them enough to step aside so they can step up. Sometimes we have to let them fail miserably, so they can figure out how to get it right. And sometimes we simply cannot stop the waves of disappointments, and real losses they will face.
Grit is something our culture with its “I want it now” and “I deserve it” mentality doesn’t always understand.
Raising grateful kids means parents have to grow up, too. Motherhood has taught me I can’t give in just to keep peace. I can’t heal heartache or prevent heartbreak. I can’t eliminate or alleviate bad days. I can’t protect my children from every day life or apparently, pandemics.
Oh, I can try, but if I always rush to protect my kids from struggling, I might also prevent them from growing.
My daughter came to me with a problem that has arisen during this quarantine. It was one of those things I simply can’t fix no matter how hard I try.
“Honey, I wish I could do something to help you. But we both know I can’t fix this. Ask God to help you through this,” I answered. It wasn’t a spiritual platitude or an empty answer–it wasn’t just good advice–
It was all I had.
Because isn’t this what we want most as parents– To see our kids problem solve, stand on their own and when they waiver and wobble and wonder, turn to the One who is with them when we can’t be?
If we want to raise kids who persevere and refuse to give up when the going gets tough, kids who persevere, we’ve got to parent with resolve.
Here are 4 ways we can do so :
- Be Quiet |Sometimes the best thing to say is nothing at all. Complaining, whining, arguing. It’s so easy to react to our kids when what they need is our response. And often that response is listening. When they complain or struggle, they don’t always need us to intervene.
- Be Consistent | Grit is sheer determination to finish what you start. Our kids wants us to be consistent. They long for us to follow through–it’s another way they feel loved and supported by us. But it takes strength to be consistent and do what we say we are going to.
- Be Brave | Parenting is hard. It takes guts to lead your family upstream against cultural norms. It takes courage to do what’s best for your kids even if it’s different from what others are doing.
- Be There | Our kids want to know we are there for them–in the highs and lows. When they let us in, it’s usually not so we can fix the hard situation, it’s so that they don’t have to face it alone. We can be there without being everywhere.
While I can’t erase the bad days or disappointments, my kids know they aren’t facing this alone. And sometimes, that’s exactly how they get through it. It’s how we get them through it. Together.
Moms, we’ve officially done it all, including mothering through a global pandemic with grit.
Happy Mother’s Day,.