Honestly, I thought to myself. This is ridiculous.
The fact that my children take no more pride than they do in cleaning up is ridiculous (to me, anyway). They are old enough to know better than to leave empty granola bar wrappers laying on the basement floor, and certainly old enough to hang their own clothes up in their own closets (and not leave them all over the floor of her closet, which is the habit of a certain someone...). It's probably mostly my fault, because it's easier to do it myself than to have them give a half-hearted "try". They don't want to, and I don't make them often enough.
They can be so frustrating sometimes.
So I was looking forward to having a few hours to myself to clean and do some chores around the house while my kids were at the movies with their Grandpa. I'll do laundry and change the sheets and clean the kitchen and it'll be nice and quiet, and then I'll go to the gym and I won't have to feel guilty about not spending time with them while I'm cleaning. We said our good-byes (Grandpa sweetly invited me to go along, but I was uninvited by my sweet little ones), and out the door they went. I walked back into my quiet house...and my quiet house seemed empty. No running feet, no Mama, will you play dollhouse with me, no idle chit-chat.
Dirty clothes on the floor, candy wrappers in the basement, toys strewn from one end of the house to the other...in the moment, I am exasperated and annoyed, tempted to speak firmly (a.k.a. yell, but we don't yell in our house...) to move them into action and to be aggravated at their procrastination, spending all our time at odds with each other. But as I moved some flip-flops to their proper home, and moved a toy back downstairs, it hit me suddenly how much I enjoy and value my relationship with my children, and how much I miss them when they are gone.
Parenting is hard. It's exhausting. It's irritating. It's joyful. It's fun. They bring a smile to my face and they make me laugh. It's the most important job I have. Bringing up kind, loving, responsible human beings isn't easy. It's a huge responsibility, and sometimes I don't feel like I'm up for the challenge.
That's when I have to turn to Someone whose shoulders are much bigger than mine, Someone who can love me so I can love my kids, Someone who can be patient with me so I can be patient with them, Someone who can take my mess and failures and turn them into good...Someone who can show me what being a good parent is all about.