Just a word of encouragement for all the other great mommas I know out there, and all the ones I don’t know, because I know many of you often go to bed feeling the way I felt last night – tired, and a little discouraged, maybe even with a headache.
I got up yesterday morning really excited to have a great family day with our kids (you know, the day we always talk about having, but then something else comes up and it gets put off). And we did – sort of. We went to the park, ran around, played with bubbles, had lunch at a pizza restaurant, shared a family ice cream, came home, played with the balloons the kids got at the pizza place, did a few other things, then dinner, kids’ bedtime, etc.
We had lots of smiles and laughs – fun family moments. But each one was also accompanied by toddler tears – when they couldn’t put the bubble liquid in their mouths, when the pizza took too long in coming, when we tried, unsuccessfully, to get them to go down for their nap – and by impatience on our part at their toddler woes.
I don’t think I’m the only parent who gets doubly frustrated at my own impatience, because even while I get aggravated at toddler behavior, I know they can’t help it and losing patience makes the situation worse, not better.
So I climbed into bed thinking about our wonderful, but not perfect, family day, wishing, at first, that it could have been better – you know, no glitches or upsets. That’s when I realized, though, that we DID have the perfect day.
It’s IMPOSSIBLE, at least in this life, to have a day with no “downs”, and that’s not what we should aim for. The healthy, wholesome family isn’t the family that has no faults – it’s the family that uses its faults to come together more closely.
Forgiveness, patience, teamwork and compromise are all part of a healthy family life. It’s impossible to learn or grow without some tears and mistakes. “Down” moments are times for both us, and our kids, to gain new strengths that, without our faults, we would never have.
Our mistakes, whether on the side of the parents or the kids, bind us together. We learn to forgive and love each other even more. We learn how to be forgiven and to be grateful. We learn to work together better to avoid the same difficulties next time round. We bond, we embrace, we grow. The healthy, close and growing family that knows how to deal with the normal ups and downs of life IS the perfect family.
And, 20 years from now (and even next week!), we won’t remember the tears from the popped balloon, but we will remember the togetherness, the laughter, joy and love.
So the next time you climb into bed with mixed feelings about the tough parts of your day, be patient and forgiving with yourself AND your family. Yes, think honestly about what you can do differently next time (be realistic, please!), but also think of all the VIRTUES you have grown in because of the tough moments you’ve been through together, and of all the great experiences you have together.