June Cleaver had two sons. June Cleaver wore high heels around the house. June Cleaver served her husband tea on a silver platter in the afternoon. June Cleaver's hair was beautiful and her house was immaculate. June Cleaver was perfect.
I however, am NOT June Cleaver.
I have four children. I don't think I even own a pair of high heels anymore. I make coffee, but Dave pours his own cup. I rarely get time to do my hair let alone brush it and my house is, most of the time, far from immaculate. I am not perfect. Now, in my favor they didn't show how June handled it when Beaver and Wally were toddlers, but I can imagine it was much of the same.
I know that June is a fictional character, but even my Grandma who is 85 and had five children has said, "Taking care of the house and the kids wasn't hard. You just did it. That's what you did." I, on the other hand, have not come to the place where I can say this gig is easy.
The previous four days as focused as I have been to parent from the Fruit of the Spirit have been probably the best four days I have had in parenting in a long time. For the most part the kids have really responded well to my new approach, I have a better attitude at the end of the first week and discipline hasn't needed to be such an ever present guest this week. As good as all that may sound, this week has been grueling for me. I have not been able to be lazy in my parenting. I have had to constantly keep myself in check and scrutinize every word, action and reaction that have come from me. This has been hard. And my house is a mess.
So, just as I was feeling optimistic and pretty proud of myself, Dave had today off. I love when he has a day off because my best friend is home, and there are two extra hands to help tie shoes and button shirts. But honestly I must admit, I was frustrated today.
I'm doing something here. I'm trying something new. I have my new routine. The kids have started falling into line. And here he comes with all the excitement he brings from being home to play with the kids and my kids get hit with sudden amnesia and all is forgotten. They go back to whining. They go back to fighting. They go back to screaming and arguing. I'm still focused on the task I set before me and am concentrating on loving them with patience and encouragement. Yet, I was anything but encouraging and patient with my husband today. I snapped at him. I rolled my eyes. He just wasn't doing things the right way.
Then I had a reality check. He's my co-captain. I'm not the coach and he's not my water boy. But I think it's so easy to fall into that trap as a stay at home mom. This is my turf. I have a routine, a schedule. I have rules. I, I, I, me, me, me. And I find myself getting frustrated with him because sometimes I feel that he is almost encroaching on my territory. But that's not the way God intended it to be.
We are supposed to be a team. We are supposed to be the coaches, working together, figuring the best plays for our family so we will succeed. And, when I try to do this thing on my own I am going to fail. If I try to change our whole course of parenting without him being on the same page, it will not be a success and I will end up parenting through yelling and frustration just like always. We have to do this thing together - and I have to yield some of my control when he is home.
Dave isn't like me, thank God. He doesn't see things through the same minds eye as I do. He attacks problems differently than I would. That's why God brought us together. Together we make a great team. Yet, I have to admit, I have forgotten that when it comes to our parenting. I don't even give him the chance to play in the game because, well, he might not do it exactly the way I would. I am with these monkeys every day. I know what works, and instead of letting him discover it, I don't even give him the chance to learn.
I was just reminded this afternoon that God blessed me with Dave to travel this road of life together. TOGETHER. And because we are bound together first and foremost by our love for the Lord, we are a "cord of three." I need to become better at allowing myself to be a part of that three cord strand instead of trying to be a single thread. I was reminded of this verse today:
It's better to have a partner than go it alone.
Share the work, share the wealth.
And if one falls down, the other helps,
But if there's no one to help, tough!
By yourself you're unprotected.
With a friend you can face the worst.
Can you round up a third?
A three-stranded rope isn't easily snapped.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (The Message)
So, I suppose I should add "team-player" to my challenge...because I think we might get more wins out of it.