#thirstythursday / the hardest night of parenting we’ve had in 9+ years

the daily Starr thirsty thursday

Parenting is hard stuff. Can I get an amen??

New parents think the exhaustion of middle of the night feedings and sleep deprivation are the absolute hardest and may never end this side of eternity. Add on diaper blowouts and kids that spit up on every single outfit you own – theirs AND yours – and well, it can be physically draining. Been there. Done that. Got a spit-up t-shirt x3.

Then, that phase closes and you roll right into the terrible toddler tantrum throw-downs. Oh, wait – you didn’t have those? Maybe it’s just our family. Maybe not.

We thought this phase was gonna be short and golden until we had that second toddler who threw us for a loop and decided to continue into the 2s, 3s, and 4s with the tantrum throw-downs. And I thought to myself, “Wow, this part of parenting is not for the weak and I might not survive.” 

I found myself sitting outside my 3 year old’s room one day – holding the door shut as she screamed and cried and beat on the door – all while I bawled my 8 month preggo eyes out asking Jesus to help me because I couldn’t do this parenting thing any longer.

All throughout these tough seasons I’ve had those with more experience tell me, “Oh, just wait for the teenage years. It’s an entirely different level of emotional exhaustion.”

To which I secretly rolled my eyes and thought, “Yeah, but you actually get SLEEP!!!”

HA!

We aren’t there yet – our oldest is 9.5 years. But last night, I’m pretty sure we got our first dose of this new level of child-raisin’ that is to come.

It was by far our hardest night of parenting and y’all, it was so awful.

When a child breaks your trust in a big way and then has to face the consequences for their disobedient actions, it’s hard to process. It’s hard to know exactly how you’re supposed to react. It’s hard to suddenly and terrifyingly realize that you’re the one in charge and you decide the consequences for the broken trust.

You remember that this is the reality of humanity – we make mistakes, do things we aren’t supposed to do and get into trouble.

All of us have sinned. I remember that being one of the first Bible verses I ever memorized at church camp as a little girl.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23

Now that sin is showing up in real life as you watch your oldest child walk through a series of bad decisions that were against the rules and it breaks your heart in two.

Kayla has been dishonest with us related to something at school and it’s been happening since August. AUGUST, I SAID. I feel like mom of the year for just now figuring out her divisive plan. 

You struggle between shock that your child could do something like this and guilt that you should have been watching more closely to keep it from happening.

You get torn between being too hard on them and breaking their spirit while at the same time knowing they need to be disciplined and learn a lesson from their actions.

I’ll be honest – my initial reaction was harsh. I was angry, mad and more frustrated than I’ve been in a long time. I wanted to ground her for 10 years and totally cancel summer camp. But, oh wait. I’ve already paid summer camp deposits, so scratch that idea, hahaha!

She ran upstairs crying like the world had ended while Brian and I stood trying to gather facts and exactly what had gone wrong. The more we dug, the angrier I got.

Brock and Kylie just observed in shock. Poor kiddos. I don’t know they will ever make this same mistake with what happened at our house last night.

Remember that scene from the Christmas Story, “Daddy’s gonna kill Ralphie!!”

Oh, yes. But it was more like, “Mama’s gonna kill Kayla!!”

We both calmed down enough to end the night as a family sitting in the girl’s room like we do almost every night that comes.

We talked about why her decisions were not okay and our reasons for her actions being against the rules. We explained that God trusted us to raise them to the best of our ability and that it is our responsibility to teach them right from wrong.

We laid out the consequences of how things were going to be very different over the coming weeks (or MONTHS in my opinion lol) and set expectations for her behavior.

We explained above all that we still loved her wildly and incredibly. We wrapped our arms around her and embraced our bubbly first-born girl.

Whew.

And then I ran across the street to talk to my own mom and dad to make sure I hadn’t ruined my child…

This parenting thing – there’s no road map, there’s no easy button. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer.

There’s only one thing I know for sure that will work for me and you: prayers to a God that is bigger than any of our mistakes. He knows our faults, failures and shortcomings – as parents and as children. And yet, He still loves us wildly and incredibly too.

the daily Starr blog Starr haigler 6

On the good days and bad days we can remember the love we’ve been shown by a good, good Father.

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. 1 John 3:1

 

the daily Starr blog Starr haigler 7

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14 comments

  1. Omg goodness! I wish I could say things get easier, but you know those wiser more experienced parents say we are are have more to come. Every kid has a challenge, every year has a challenge. I miss parenting with you! I just cried through your blog, parenting is soooooo hard!!!! And I do the same after Brian and I get done- call my mom! Did I just scar my kid? Is he going to the psychiatrist later? But then I pray and know that they will make, we did. Keep up the good work. Pray. Pray. Pray. We are raising GOOD kids that love the LOrd. Hope this made sense.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, girl. Total sense. It’s so hard to watch them make mistakes and do things that make us go crazy!!!!! Thank goodness for our sweet moms 😘

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  2. Try not to over react to your reactions. We parents have expectations of our kids, especially if we love the Lord and want to guide them in His way. Consequences are a must for breaking rules. I learned that the punishment should fit the” crime.” Balance and love and PRAY. God knows before you ask.
    I wonder how He feels when we mess up?
    Hang in there Brian and Starr. God knows your heart.
    Oh and you and the kids will survive and thrive.
    Love you.- that’s my two cents for what it is worth.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Pookie! We worked to stay calm as we talked through this situation last night with her. I love the part about making sure the punishment fits the crime. And what a friend wrote about an example of grace is beautiful. Love you, second mama!!

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  3. Oh sweetie!!! I wish I could say it will get easier…but it’s can’t. Each stage is hard. You just have to do what you feel is best in each situation. And PRAY!! LOTS!! And always love them through the rough times. Always remember…this too shall pass. It will be painful, but oh so worth it. I live you!!

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    • Thank you, Aunt Nette!!! It is so hard. Loving them unconditionally – that’s what Jesus does for us. And thank goodness, this too shall pass! Love you!!

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  4. Wow! Have you had a secret window into some of my moments? Described each phase so perfectly. One thing I learned that I used with Lauren once to help her understand grace. She was in trouble and I needed to punish her, but it was killing me with what I had said I would take away. SO, I told her like Jesus offers us grace (thru salvation) and doesn’t give us the consequences we deserve (death for our sin), I was giving her grace and not giving her the punishment she deserved. Mostly because I wanted her to understand what it meant for God to give us Grace. We still talk about how that lesson helped her really get it. Now, with that said it wasn’t for a serious offense, but it’s one I kept in my pocket for the right time. What’s funny is the next time she got in trouble she begged for grace again 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I absolutely love your response here, friend. Thank you for this. Definitely a great way to teach her about grace. So thankful for you and your family!! And tell your hubby I’m working on the Easter Eggs!!!!! 😂😂😂

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  5. Girl…I was the baby of 6 children….you have no idea what I learned from my older siblings making bad decisions…Stand your ground…as much as it breaks your heart…it will make a difference…it did for me

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  6. You are so blessed to be a Christian mama and to have a Christian husband by your side. That and prayer will see you through. I think every :”phase” our children go through is the hardest at the time. haha. Just stay the course and walk hand in hand with Jesus, he will never fail you. Thanks for sharing the good and the bad, I have been there but no one to share with. This has lifted so of the guilt I have been carrying.

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  7. Starr, you are a great mother. Kids will make mistakes. It is our job as their parents to show them one no mistake will ever cause us to love them less or God to love them them less and 2 mistakes have consequences and that is how they will learn. I promise you are not going to screw those beautiful children up. You and Brian are doing awesome. Remember PRAY always and listen to the Holy Spirit he will help guide you. Love and miss you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, friend. It’s been a tough week of parenting, but I know this too shall pass. Thank you for your encouragement. Love you and miss you too, friend!

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