The article is a guest post from Sarah West.
They say your true character is revealed when crisis hits. If this is true, I am pretty sure I am miserably failing at this parenting thing….
Sunday morning, I walked into our hallway and noticed a puddle of water on our newly refinished wood floors. I opened the bathroom to find my son had overflowed the toilet. (And they say women use a lot of toilet paper!)
If this particular crisis revealed my character, I must tell you that I am a psychotic, foul mouth, over-stressed mama that did not take too kindly to wadding about in fecal matter. I wish I could tell you that I calmly searched for the plunger (which we apparently did not own) and evenly directed my kids on how they could help me advert this crisis.
I did not, however, do anything of this calmly.
Instead, I yelled. I barked orders for them to get me towels- towels that just so happened to still be washing in the washing machine. I bellowed a string of expletives that I don’t think my kids thought I knew. I am not sure I did either.
On my way to the store to purchase a plunger, I text my husband at work: One of the kids overflowed the toilet again. Can’t find the plunger. Headed to the store.
My husband’s response: LOL
I choose not to respond because I did not find anything humorous about fecal matter. I did not need this crisis to reveal further character flaws by my response to him. Therefore I remained silent. My mom raised me to believe if you couldn’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.
After the toilet was fixed and the mess cleaned up, we managed to make it to church on time. From the outside, we looked pretty put together. No one knew about the volcanic eruption of the toilet. No one could see how stressed I was but somewhere deep down I felt like I was totally failing at life in that moment.
When services concluded, a sweet man walked over to me and told me what great children I had. He
told me their character was the result of great parenting. As he walked away, I stood, watching my children in the distance smiling and playing.
I didn’t know what else to do but sob.
In my moment of self-perceived failure, someone else saw the fruits of my parenting. It is not about being perfect. Somedays I feel all I am doing is keeping my head above water. The great thing is that each day brings new opportunities to improve. And sometimes in our monumental failures, there is an opportunity to share a life lesson, sometimes at our expense. If we always thought we rocked at this parenting thing, I suspect we wouldn’t be doing what we were meant to do as parents.
Parenting is hard and sometimes it sucks, but that does not mean you do.
Sarah West is a homeschool mom, freelance writer and first-time author of Walking the Talk: A Parent’s Guide to Intimacy and Healthy Relationships. Formerly, she served as the Director and Youth and College Counselor for Crisis Pregnancy Centers in Mississippi. Sarah writes for various online and print magazines on matters of faith and family, and believes in strengthening family relationships and reconnecting parents to their children. You can connect with Sarah and keep up to date with her writing through her blog at A Life Inspired.
Find her book, Walking the Talk: A Parent’s Guide to Intimacy & Healthy Relationships in the Amazon store.