A few weeks ago we had lunch out with some friends. Our typically well behaved toddler did not act typically.
**Enter me pulling out every trick in my bag, literally. Meanwhile I was trying to play it cool so that the sweet couple across the table: a. didn't think we have a terror of a child or b. that I am a completely incompetent mother or c. both.**
My husband and I have a rule that if we're eating a meal our son sits in a highchair. We started that at 6 months and it's always gone really well, except of course for the Thanksgiving that I forgot to bring one but that's another story...and this specific lunch...
So, I'll just try to paint the picture for you. Our good highchair sitter pretty much all but climbed out three times before the meltdown where I actually just had to take him out of the highchair and to the car to change his diaper and pants that he'd spilled ice water all over. Before the spill he'd eaten a squeezie applesauce from my bag, several crackers (that actually were a true Mom-Fail because I had accidentally grabbed the cracked pepper instead of plain and they were too spicy for him), a second applesauce and some goldfish. I usually try to just give him a few goldfish at a time but he wasn't having it that day....so I poured out like some ridiculous number (probably around 30) of them onto the table to make him happy. He ate a few and then went full on swinging arms clearing everything off the table within reach which included all of the goldfish and his ice water which ended up drenching him. Hence the new pants and dipe. Oy.
You may wonder why I'm going into so much detail, and the thing is...that was only about 10 minutes of our entire lunch and the rest went somewhat better once the food came. Then after he was done eating (oh and he ate on my lap, did I mention that?!? He wouldn't go back in the highchair...of course.) he wanted off my lap and just to *literally* run around the restaurant. It was awkward to say the least...
5 Lessons I learned from that lunch:
1. You can't control your kids, or any other person for that matter. I mean, I don't even have the best self-control, so why do I think that I could or should control someone else?! As parents we are shaping and shepherding our children which is very different than controlling them. You know who is in control of everything though? God. So this is something I've been praying more about as I've come to grips with the fact that I can't control every scenario. I can plan and pack for the 'worst case scenario' and it still will not be enough.
Train up a child in the way he should go;
2. Sometimes you have to bend your rules, like the highchair one (not laws). Now I'm a rule follower through and through, just ask anyone who has known me for any amount of time or has worked with me. So this one is hard for me, but most of all we must love our kids and meet them where they are. Sometimes that means bending or breaking one of the arbitrary rules we've set up.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
3. Others may not (will not) love my child as much as I do. My husband and I love and cherish our son more than all the other kids we know, and that's how all the other parents are too. I have to be ok with people, even family, not loving my child as much as I do. They don't have to think he's the smartest, cutest, sweetest, best kid in the world because he is to me. He's my world, as he should be. He's mine! (aka, it's ok when he acts up in public or when out to lunch because he's a kid and I know the real him!)
Children are a heritage from the , Like arrows in the hands of a warrior Psalm 127:3-4
4. Don't worry about what other people think. My husband, and likely parents, have been telling me this for years. So what if they think I'm incompetent? So what if they think I gave him too many snacks before lunch? So what if they don't agree with every parenting choice? No one, not even my husband--the man I married--agrees with everything I do all the time. And I live with him, and said yes to him, and well, do life with him and have become one with him....so if we can't even agree on everything....there is not one person on this earth that will agree with every choice i make in parenting or otherwise. And that's ok. I do what I think is best for my child and our family. So that's that. (Remind me of this when I get insulted from mom shamers and stuff....k?:)
5. Kids will be kids. This ties right back to the first one above. Kids will act however they want, whenever they want, wherever they want and however they want. Much like adults, right? (haha!) Tantrums will come in the middle of a busy restaurant while not sitting in the highchair but instead completely sprawled out flailing over the *likely dirty* floor for all to see. I think the real question is, or the real thing I learned is.... How am I going to handle it?
Parenting is great. Parenting is 24/7, especially when you're the mama. Parenting is also tough and I only have one child who is a toddler. I already know that there are harder times, and easier times to come. The question is, how am I going to handle it? With lots of prayer, lots of studying of God's word, lots of love, loads of patience, lots of support and lots of grace. In the end, it's always, always worth it. We are helping build the next generation. What an honor and privilege! We're going to make mistakes. We are going to be harsh instead of loving. We are going to need to extend extra grace to ourselves too. But let's do our best and let's do it together!