In his book Sacred Marriage, Gary Thomas asks the question, “What if God designed marriage to make us more holy more than to make us happy?” It is a question I have reminded myself of when my marriage inevitably goes through rough patches. I had rose-colored glasses about marriage, and I have recently discovered that I had rose-colored glasses about being a mom too.
Like an engagement, we went through a season of being so happy and excited about our “little bundle of joy” coming into our lives. Then he was finally here and all of our dreams of being parents and having this precious boy as our son suddenly became dreams I thought I might not be ready for. The honeymoon was over when we found out that parenting is hard.
Parenting is HARD work.
Before he was born I had imagined this cute little baby, sleeping so peacefully. I thought of playing in the back yard and going on trips together. I dreamed of the day he said his first words and could eat all by himself.
What I didn’t think of were the times when I wouldn’t sleep for days that never seemed to end. I didn’t think of his painfully loud cry in the middle of the night. What I never thought of was the fact that a trip to relax and have fun could actually become more stressful than a weekend at home. I didn’t think of the trying times, of the days when I might not have the energy to make it through without crying. I didn’t think of the pain, and the struggle, and the parts that made you question whether you were cut out for this parent thing after all.
I thought parenting was going to make me happy. But instead, I am discovering that my son is teaching me about myself and that the lessons are sometimes very hard. Having him in my life is pushing me toward becoming more holy, a better wife, and a better mother, but most importantly a better me.
I am learning. I am learning patience. I am learning to prioritize. I am learning to ask for help. I am learning unconditional love. I am learning to laugh. I am learning to have confidence in myself. Just as in marriage, each new milestone and every new stage will be a new lesson. I am not failing, I am learning. I am growing because like marriage – parenting is one of the most rewarding relationships we can ever experience, especially when we hit a few bumps along the way.
Don’t be discouraged with the hard times as a parent, it doesn’t mean that you have failed. Be encouraged that God is pushing you toward holiness and that you are being refined. The hard work will be worth it. What new lesson is he teaching you today?