Parenting ruts

October 15, 2012

When your children are very young, it's easy to think that you're going to do everything better than your parents did. When your baby is only a few months old, those ideas are all new and fresh in your mind. You're going to be the Best Parent Ever.

But as your kids get older, parenting gets tougher. Way tougher. Throw in the pressures and routine of school, friendships, activities, illness and fatigue, and suddenly you find yourself in ruts, just like your parents trudged through when you were little. Ruts that limit your thinking and negatively impact the relationship with your children and your spouse.

For example, earlier this autumn, our daughter asked (okay, it had been many months of requests) to move out of the room with her brother where she'd been sharing a bunk-bed with him for several years. Everybody else is in the family was okay with the proposed move except for me.

It wasn't until I grudgingly agreed to set up her bed and let her decorate her own room downstairs that I realized I'd been in a rut. I wasn't ready for her to grow up in this way so I dug down and didn't listen to or respect her wishes. Now, more than a month later with each kid in their own room, she's happy and her brothers are happy, and all is good.

August, September and October have been rough on me. In between all of the things we've been doing, busy days at work, sickness at home and then having a friend die, it's been a hard road to travel. That said, I believe God uses difficult circumstances to bring us closer to Him. He also uses those moments as wake-up calls. This is something that I've believed for a while, but it's in times like these that I really see this as truth.

Frankly, I find it embarrassing to discover and then have to admit that I'm in a rut. But pride sucks. I'd rather be given the chance to recognize and fix a personal issue than ignorantly wander through life throwing away months and years with our children; months and years that I'll never get back.

If you too find yourself in a rut, be glad that you recognize it and then do whatever you need to do to dig yourself out. Life's too short not to take action and make what you have, better.