We don't see them grow... That's the problem. We know they grow, but they look the same every (early) morning.
So does our to-do list.
So does our mess.
The same activities making the same mess requiring the same (stinky) work.
There's no deadline to motivate procrastinators. There's no clock out time to count down to. There's no measurable outcomes to mark off...
Just a juggling routine on a tight rope with no audience.
What's the right balance between no schedule chaos and over scheduled exhaustion? What's the sweet spot of alone play and being an active mom who makes memories? When is the right moment to intervene in sibling arguments? How much work outside the home verses in the home? What's the right schooling option for this family? How much responsibility is enough for all their ages?
What is the answer? We're all just making this up as we go...
The sheer amount of things that need done combines with the knowledge that you're just going to have to do them all over again, further fueled by the feeling that no one cares if it even gets done can make it very easy to spiral into parental depression... Losing sight of the vision of a unit of life and settling for surviving until the next benchmark.
They are growing... We just can't see it.
The repetition of our daily existence leads us to look at our ability to arrive somewhere on time as the utmost in success. That's something we can accomplish. That's something we have a goal and a plan and a deadline to meet. Except we just canNOT actually achieve this. We can not get all the socks and all the shoes on all the feet with all the zippers zipped all the way up with all the last minute poops taken with all the things packed in all the bags and all the bottoms in all the right seats with all the buckles clicked and all the traffic planned for to meet the deadline with success. Never. It doesn't happen. So we regularly feel like failures... As if the messes and bickerments and lost tempers weren't already chanting loudly enough in our ears...
We don't see the big picture unless we fight to see the big picture.
We need to heed the awed exclamation of the survivors of toddler years, and grade school growers, and teenage phase warriors... "It goes so fast".
We need to battle to grasp the truth that the repetition tries to hide... They are growing... We just can't see it.
We need to find a strength beyond our own to enable us to repeat the same action, and correction, and conversation, and instructions over and over and over with grace... Knowing that it's not lasting forever.
We need to seek a rest in our weariness instead of seeking to avoid that which leads to weariness and forgiveness for all the times we fall...
For if we do not fight these fights, we will have many years of repetitive longing... Longing for a moment to return to the repetition that we feel so very trapped in this moment... Longing for the benchmarks we wish to arrive now to have taken some more time... Regretting...
Instead, let's be so present, so real, so engaged in this time that we can let it pass with more peace. Not because we do it perfectly, but because we parent deeply.
They are growing. This is changing. This is hard. But it's so very worth the repetitive battle to dwell presently in this time. This hard, sticky, trying, emotional, time... Believing what we aren't clearly seeing.
Press on warriors. We are parents. And they are growing...
"Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.Take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30