Succeeding through the chaos

Photo by Ana Elliott

Photo by Ana Elliott

On Easter Sunday, I sat on my front porch with tea and a book in hand. One child was laying down for a nap while the other quietly played. This was the moment I envisioned when I decided to be a parent. The moment where your cup is full of joy (and a little caffeine) and you’re able to slow down enough to notice and enjoy a spring breeze. When your household is moving along the same current of life. Not choosing between one child swimming up river while the other is rafting away down stream, torn between who needs you the most at that very moment… all while you’re still trying to hold on to your tipped over canoe.

That juggle has been my common moment in recent months. Striving for harmony but settling in chaos. On the rough days where I feel everyone swimming in different directions, I feel ashamed and defeated by the “lack of _____”, lack of knowledge, lack of patience, lack of control… exhausted with my thought of, “someone else could do this better”. No matter how prepared I’ve felt for a situation, my children usually bring me something that pushes me to my edge. Challenging me to stay firm and breathe through it. This constant notion of adapting as a parent is simultaneously exhausting and stimulating.

The days that seem the longest have brought me the most growth as a parent. It is impossible to grow and change with out being challenged. Until you can accept being uncomfortable and vulnerable with yourself and your children, you’ll be stuck in the state you’re in. In Brene Brown’s book, Daring Greatly, she states, “The real questions for parents should be: "Are you engaged? Are you paying attention?" If so, plan to make lots of mistakes and bad decisions. Imperfect parenting moments turn into gifts as our children watch us try to figure out what went wrong and how we can do better next time. The mandate is not to be perfect and raise happy children. Perfection doesn't exist, and I've found what makes children happy doesn't always prepare them to be courageous, engaged adults.” Once we expose our vulnerability with our children, we’re able to swim the current with them.

Parenthood will provide you with circumstances and experiences you have never dreamed possible. The amount of love and strength that runs through you is unimaginable. But we owe that strength and love to the moments that challenge us the most. As parents we’re in the ring… we’re bloody, worn out, and tired. It’s not the easy moments, drinking tea with quiet children, that allow you to expand as a human (those are just the moments that allow you to reflect). It’s in the ones that make you want to crumble and disengage. It’s the lowest and most difficult moments that the heroine experiences rebirth and emerges from her ashes.

“The willingness to show up changes us, it makes us a little braver each time… “ Brene Brown states. Because of this, I’m no longer striving for harmony but settling in chaos. Now, I’m striving for harmony but succeeding in chaos. And I can’t wait to see how I grow from it.