Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Danger of Believing the Lie

I gazed out my kitchen window as the kids happily shoved their faces full of mac and cheese with hot dogs.   I took another bite of my Funfetti cupcake complete with green garland icing and snowflake sprinkles as I watched a women jog by, her breath puffing out in tiny clouds in the 18 degree weather.  Munching on my cupcake, I thought, "I'm a failure."  

A couple years ago, during a particularly difficult season of parenting with my middle son, I vented on my blog about how the kid was driving me crazy.  As in, straight up want to go on a bender, hide under my covers, drive to town for milk and never come back NUTS.  I was completely over it and at my wits end, so I wrote about it.  I was frustrated, angry, and defeated.  A little while after I pushed "Publish," someone commented that clearly my children would be better off being given up for adoption because I was being a terrible parent.  She pointed out that I should never have had a third child because clearly I was unfit to even take care of my first two.

So how did I respond to such harsh words from a total stranger?  I'm ashamed to admit that I had the craziest, stupidest, most ridiculous response to the comment.

I believed her.

All the hugs, kisses, and "I love yous" in the world weren't enough in that moment.  Suddenly I was convinced that the sleepless nights, the struggles to breastfeed, the hours I spent making baby food, the poop I had cleaned from butts, sheets, walls, faces, and bathtubs.....none of it mattered.  I was an unfit parent.  A failure.  I was doing everything wrong and my kids were clearly suffering because of my incompetence and I would forever be indebted to this complete stranger on the Internet for pointing it out to me based on the thirty seconds she spent reading my sleep-deprived rant because she would be the rescue my children so desperately needed.

Did anyone else just throw up in their mouth a little bit?

I mean, COME ON.  I believed this garbage?  How could I have even for a second given those hurtful words even a second thought, let alone allowed them to take over my mind and convince me they were true?

I'm a great mom.  I might not be a great mom every day, but even on the days when I am struggling to put on pants correctly without a cup of coffee, I'm still the one my kids will turn to immediately when that bump on the head stings more than anticipated, when the kid on the bus hurts their feelings, or when they just really need a good snuggle.

I lose my temper, get frustrated over insignificant things,  and spend what can only be described as an unhealthy amount of time in my pajama pants.

But I heard the little saying recently that "Having a bad day does not make you a bad mom."

Now that's some truth right there.  Even if that one bad day turns into three bad days and that three bad days turns into a very real and very discouraging and difficult season of life, it doesn't have to define us.  That season with Micah was HARD.  Very hard.  I thought he would never sleep again and that I, in turn, would never sleep again.

He sleeps great now.

He also poops his pants several times a week, constantly has his finger in his nose, and got in trouble at school for trying to throw a chair at his teacher.

But none of those things really matter all that much.  What matters is that I love that kid like crazy and he thinks I'm pretty great too.  And I'm choose to put far more faith in what that stubborn little pooper thinks that what any random Internet commenter has to say to the contrary.

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