The Presumptuous Ladybug

A blog about Faith, Family, Life....and Anything else

Tag: parenting

I’m Not “Enough” For My Kids And Why It’s Okay

I am not enough.

The truth resonates through my whole being.  It cuts to my core as I stare into the mirror.  I know the truth no matter what they say and no consoling or absently reassuring me with fluffy unsubstantiated reasoning will convince me otherwise.  “You’re enough” is a popular attempt to appease the wave of uncertainty that every parent feels at one time or another, but is it always true?

As I stare into the mirror I see everything that is good and everything that isn’t.  What I know, absolutely, is that I am not strong enough or good enough or capable enough to always be the person and parent that I want to be.  But the truth that comes quickly tumbling to the forefront of my soul with my next breath is the realization that I don’t have to be.  The truth is refreshing.  No matter how broken I am, or how many meltdowns I have, I don’t have to keep up the façade of being enough when I know that at the end of the day I could fill a book with my failures.  God never asked for me to be a parent by my own effort or my own enough-ness.  God never said, “Don’t worry, because you are enough and that’s all you have to be.”

My ability to be enough is not enough.  The gaps of enough-ness are deep crevices I can never fill.  What if I believe that I’m enough and it turns out to be untrue?  Will my children prosper anyway or will they need counseling later?

You see, I’m impatient and I lose my temper, I make 2 star meals, I swear when I’m angry, I’m immature, I fail to properly discipline my children at times and over discipline at others.  I get caught up in gossip, I complain, I get dissatisfied, I yell, I can be selfish, and I’ve lied.  Life can be overwhelming and the ugliness of my internal struggles can erupt and mistakes get made and then what I want gets in the way of my ability to love them enough.

Inside I feel conflicted.  Is what I want more important that what they need?  Am I really a “good Mom?”  Life is messy and complicated and can’t be controlled but it doesn’t stop me from trying when I feel overwhelmed.  My kids aren’t perfect either.  They are tiny people learning how to manage the world and navigate relationships. I don’t want to control them or force them into a quiet obedient state because we learn from the messiness and the chaos.  And yet…sometimes…in public, I can feel it rise up.  Can’t they sit still in church?  Can’t they listen?  Why are they running wild?  Why aren’t they always well-behaved angels?

At home there are other struggles.  My son has no volume control and is always making noises, my daughter has executive function issues and toileting struggles due to her battle with Epilepsy, and the littlest one wants to get her way all the time and wails when she doesn’t.  Between monitoring seizures, dirty diapers, soiled underwear, the loudness of constant noise, and a tight living space I can feel the threads of control and an element of peace begin to unravel, all the while my emotions start soaring and my patience disappears.  “Quit shouting!”  I shout before I walk to my room and shut the door for a quiet moment.  It doesn’t last.  They seem to know I’m about to lose my mind so they follow me and bang on the door, push each other for the knob and begin to fight.

I am a sinner.  And, no, I am not enough.  Regardless of my best social face and appearances, I know I fail regularly, as we all do.

The good news is: I don’t have to be enough because I know Someone who is enough.  God didn’t create me to be enough, he created me to rely on him when I’m not enough.  God didn’t fully equip me to handle being a special needs parent, a cop’s wife, or a good person because if I was enough on my own, I wouldn’t need him.

I do need him.  I need him because I am not enough.  I need him to fill the gaps in my life and in my parenting and in my relationships where I fail.  I need him to infiltrate my heart with his love.  Love that overcomes and perseveres and finds peace in the chaos.   We learn through our mistakes and the more I realize I am not enough, the more I rely on God and the more he is able to fill the gaps until what is lacking in me is much harder to see and much harder to perceive.  Not because I have done anything good, but because the Author of all that is good is at work in me.

I can’t make myself a better parent or a better person.  I’ve tried.  Telling myself that I‘ll do better next time doesn’t work.  The darkness within me always comes out eventually and the depth of my selfish heart is ultimately revealed.  I know I am not alone either because…

“All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

Thankfully, God isn’t done with me, just as he isn’t done with you.  God has been at work within my heart and soul for years and he hasn’t given up on me.  No matter how big of a spoiled punk I can be, he keeps up the hard work and keeps molding me into the parent, wife, and woman he created me to be; the woman I want to be.  I may not be enough, but God at work within me is enough.  He can fill in the gaps of my love, my parenting, and my relationships.  God isn’t trying to control me, he is trying to shape me into something beautiful.  I’m going to stumble and fall and fail, but I trust and pray that God will come along side of me every step of the way; and while he guides me and grows me, he will clean the slate and bless my family and create “enough” where “enough” is lacking.

“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 1:6

 

Author: Jacqi Kambish

Parenting is Expecting the Unexpected

Author: Jacqi Kambish

Being a parent is the greatest and most adventurous life mission.  You say things you never dreamed you would say.  You do things you never dreamed you would do.  The unimaginable and unexpected happens every single day.

Recently, my 5 year old son woke me up at 3:30 a.m. to tell me his bottom was itchy.

3:30 in the morning!

I laid there for a moment in groggy silence trying to process an appropriate response to that.

I’m positive he thought a century had gone by so he repeated his dilemma as loudly as humanly possible.

“Mom…My butt…”

”Shhhhhh.  I heard you.”  I cut him off.  I didn’t want him to wake the entire house.

There were a lot of things going through my mind.  None of which were right and good.  I wanted to go back to sleep.  I wanted to stay in my warm bed.  I wanted to tell him to go back to bed and we would deal with it in the morning.  But, apparently it was so emergent that the discomfort had woken him up.  Here he was, standing over me, with insistence.  No… going back to sleep, any time soon, was definitely out of the question.  As parents, sleep is a privilege we frequently miss out on.

I imagined for a moment what could possibly make him itch enough to have woken him up from a dead sleep.

Maybe he wasn’t really sleeping that well….

Maybe it was poop.  Had he pooped that day?  I don’t know…That must be it.  Unless….

My mind pulled up every horror story I ever heard or read.

Was it some, absolutely, gut turning nasty parasite?

I read once about a type of worm that lives in your intestines and at night when you’re all toasty and sleeping, it crawls out of your bottom to lay eggs and is itchy when it does.

See? 

Horror stories!

I swear, google it.  Wait…maybe … don’t google it.

I gaged a little and terror welled up with in me as I started to crawl out of my warm bed.  If he has a parasite, I am going to lose my mind…

It’s not a parasite.  It CAN’T be a parasite.

My skin started to crawl as I followed him to the bathroom.

“Did you poop today?”  I asked hopefully.

“No…maybe…”

That wasn’t the positive reinforcement I needed right then.

I helped him in the bathroom.  Sure enough, he hadn’t properly wiped.

I explained proper hygiene…again.  I’m sure it went over his head…again.  I shortened it to, “Let me know next time so I can help you get clean.  That’s why you’re itchy, you couldn’t reach.”  He looked at me with doubt in his eyes.  “Every 5 year old needs help with some things.  This is one of them.”

I think that was still too many words.

He nodded absently.

As I helped him back into bed he gave me a hug and a kiss.   He fell asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow.

I wasn’t so lucky.

I was still shaking off the parasite theory.

If parenting has taught me anything, it is to expect the unexpected.  Life doesn’t fit into a beautifully wrapped package.  Things don’t go as planned, dreams don’t always come true, and sticky fingers sometimes smudge up your best ideas.  Sometimes, crap hits the fan and everything seems to fall apart.  Sometimes…you get an itchy butt…

That sleep I so desperately need, that deadline, that perfect meal that just flopped onto the floor…

That flat tire, broken washing machine, and exploding soda…

The sick baby, unemployment, loneliness, anxiety, sorrow…

In life there often are unexpected turns and difficulties threatening to overtake us.

Life can be a pile of itchy poo that is relentless and persistent.  That’s just a fact.  It can be so uncomfortable and painful to deal with.  I’m convinced, though, that the sun always comes out to dry up the rain.  Eventually, things get better.  We can get to the source of our discomfort and, eventually, the fog that has poured in, will lift.  Life gets messy and overwhelming and sad, but there is good too.

I’m trying to remember to focus my attention on the unexpected joys and pleasures rather than the difficulties, no matter how big.  The good is there, even in the middle of gray skies and life’s storms and… an itchy bottom, and no sleep…I promise, it is.

Sweet baby kisses, kindness from a stranger, a loving spouse…

Kids that learn to share, a surprisingly thoughtful gift, an encouraging word from a friend…

Hugs, impromptu dance parties, laughter…

Unexpected moments of joy that remind me to hold tight to hope when things are tough or I’m just having a bad day.

Can I remember to cling to the happy moments, and let go of the irritations and inconveniences?  Can I trust God with the big stuff, enough to keep it from becoming overwhelming?

I can.  I just have to remember in the moment to fix my heart on the good.

Even when it’s 3:30 a.m. and I’m sleepily helping a little boy who still needs me.  One day, this boy may not need me anymore, but in this moment, he is sweetly and wholeheartedly, mine.

Unexpectedly sweet moments are a thing to cherish.  If I remember to check my heart…I won’t miss them.

Making Time for Quiet Moments

Author: Jacqi Kambish

I had a bad attitude the other day.  I felt worn out, overstimulated, and like things were out of my control; which I hated.  To top it off the weather was probably the worst of the season.  A few weeks ago we had snow and freezing cold temperatures.  Then the temperatures soared and the snow and ice began to melt during the day and then froze again at night.  A week or so of that and our yard was filled with icy, mud puddles and dirty snow.  Following that, we had a winter storm warning, but it didn’t snow, it sleeted.  Icy water pelted me in the face as life forced me to go outside.   I think the combination of sleet, ice, and mud at the same time is awful.

By the end of the day, I could feel my agitation growing.  The kids sensed it too.  That’s why they got into the car slowly, fought over who gets to buckle first, and asked for a snack every 5 seconds, even though they just had one.  I think they just wanted to stomp on my last fleeting nerve…. Or maybe they were just tired and sick of cruddy weather too.

Once home, I let the kids pick a movie to watch after dinner.  The wind picked up and a loose cord of Christmas lights flapped against the house in a sporadic rhythm.  Something was blowing in.  I felt it on every level.  My bones ached, my attitude spiraled, and the kids created chaos by bouncing off the walls and yelling at every opportunity.

Later, while the kids watched their movie, I sat down at the kitchen table.  Why was my attitude so crummy?  Was it really because the weather was bad?  Or was it because I was inconvenienced by the errors of the day which were heightened by the annoying weather?  Maybe it was the overwhelming feeling of endless tasks to be completed, the realization of bills I forgot to pay, the dwindling bank account, or the long week at work.  Maybe it was having to drive two hours each way in bad weather just to get supplies for Christmas events, parties, and celebrations…  At the bottom of my grumpiness and wrong attitude, I felt worn.  I realized that, in the busyness, I had neglected the most important thing in my life.  Rather…the most important person.  I’m not talking about me.  I‘m talking about God.

Those quiet moments I spend with my Creator are critical; but as my day fills up those moments get chipped away into nothing.   The thing that brings restoration and fills up my soul, dwindles away until my attitude is a swirling, whirling, sleet pelting, storm of misery.  I need time to be quiet and listen.  I need time to be still.

I realized, in that moment, that it’s time for rest.  It’s time for me to fight back against the mayhem and chaos by finding those quiet moments and anchoring myself to them.  The presents will get wrapped and the treats will get baked.  And if they don’t…is it really that important.  Must there always be cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning and pretty paper on every gift in order for it to be Christmas?  Does the house have to be spotless?  Do I really need all my ducks in a row to celebrate and worship Christ?

I woke up the next morning to find the yard covered in a few inches of fresh white fluff.  The sun glimmered off the snow in the best way possible.  It was beautiful, and everything was still and quiet and peaceful.  I sipped my coffee and reflected:

What if the storm of the night before hadn’t raged within my heart?  Would I have realized that what I deeply need is closer connection with the One who can calm the storm and bring peace to my worn soul?

The quiet doesn’t last.  The kids fight and yell and bounce off the walls.  They tattle on each other and beg for a snack 1.5 seconds after every meal.  I get overstimulated by lights, noises, people, and expectations.  The dishes pile up and laundry gets done, but never put away.  Messes get made and I get tired.  The endless scurry and hurry of getting everyone out the door in the mornings and off to bed at night are a revolving door.  Sometimes life just feels like a whirl wind of chaos.  The difference is, if I make God a priority and cling to him when life feels stormy and overwhelming, then I can have peace and rest for my soul…even in the midst of chaos.

I know it isn’t easy.  I have to work at it and set aside specific time in my day that I refuse to give up.  More than that, I have to change my mind set.  Prioritizing quiet moments with God isn’t just about setting aside specific times, but it’s also about allowing God to be a part of every moment and calling out to him when I am falling into the spiral of craziness.  It’s not delegating him to a corner of the day but including him in every moment.

Public Bathrooms and Small Children-Life Adventures

Author: Jacqi Kambish

bathroom

Bathrooms are a necessary and useful thing.  They serve their purpose and I am thankful that I have plumbing, especially on cold mornings in the winter when temperatures are sub-zero.  I get that they are a modern convenience.  I mean, thank the LORD we don’t have to use outhouses at the mall or grocery store.  Could you imagine that scene?  My nose wrinkles involuntarily just thinking about it.

While I am thankful for the modern convenience of plumbing, public bathrooms still incite a certain level of anxiety for me.  Oh, I wasn’t always this way.  Once upon a time I could use a public bathroom with little difficulty.  I had a routine of use.  It worked well.  I checked for the cleanest looking stall.  I check the toilet seat carefully for remnants of the last user and wiped them away when needed. (Side note:  Seriously people!  If you can’t get it IN the toilet at least do the next person a favor and wipe it away.)   I always carefully placed the toilet seat covers perfectly upon the porcelain throne. I checked for toilet paper on the role before sitting.  I was careful to touch as few surfaces as possible.   I diligently washed my hands and used a paper towel to open the door before leaving the facilities.  I had a perfect, streamlined routine with few upsets.  Maybe it took me a bit longer than my friends to get through my routine but,generally speaking,  going through the routine helped keep me sane in an environment I see as innately contaminated.

I guess I don’t need to mention that I am a bit of a germ-a-phobe.  I try not to be over board about it.  I bite my tongue and suppress my inward cringe when a friend laughingly explains that her child, who is now sharing the same bowl of pretzels with my child, is finally recovering from a nasty stomach bug.  My inward panic button starts screaming’ “What the heck?” while the more subdued reasonable side of me realizes that it probably ran its course already and then mentions to her that maybe the kids should have their own bowl of snacks just in case and… a warning next time would be appreciated.  When I get home, I scrub the children’s hand vigorously and then douse them with a heavy bath of essential oils…just to make me feel better.

But, back to bathrooms….

Oh the days…..The glorious days of using a public bathroom all by myself.

Fast forward 8 years:

I now have an 8 year old, a 5 year old and a 3 year old in tow and my safe routine is constantly being stomped on and thrown to the wind by small people who have no concept of germs and cleanliness.  Take for example a recent and very real bathroom experience I recently had:

 

We are in a small dirty gas station bathroom with one stall.  My oldest takes her turn first.  “Make sure the seat is clean,” I state automatically.  “It is,” comes her reply, much too quickly.  I have my doubts but I am trying REALLY hard not to let my fear of public restrooms surface and take over.

My five year old is next.  He bounces into the stall and slams the door shut before I can intervene.  “I can do it!” he chirps a bit too positively.

Oh my stars!!

I can hear the toilet seat clank as he lifts it.  Curses!  I just KNOW that the rim is a festering bacterial feeding ground.  Little micro somethings are eagerly waiting for an opportunity to attach themselves, like ticks, to my son.

It is my turn.  I look all three of my kids in the eyes with piercing seriousness, “Do NOT touch ANYTHING.”  I’m a bit stern.  They smile and nod.  I’ve had this conversation before…many times.  They don’t care.  They don’t care AT ALL!  They are perfectly happy to lick the walls, hug the toilet seat, and play with the tampon box.  My sanity is hanging by a thread now.  My anxiety is creeping up as I click the stall door shut.  I’m acutely listening to their every move and every word. “Just pee and get out.”  I tell myself.

 

I can hear laughter and the hair rises on the back of my neck, “What are you doing?”  I yell out.  “I said don’t touch anything.  Just stand there.”  I can’t really see them.  I don’t know what they are actually doing.  I just yell it out because…somewhere in recesses of my heart…I know.  I. Just. Know.

I walk out of the stall and take it all in.  They aren’t looking at me.  They are giggling and pointing at each other.  My son is rolling across the putrid floor, my 3 year old daughter is kissing the floor length mirror with a look of delight.  “Look Mommy, I’m giving me kisses.”

My oldest is doing God knows what, but her mouth is open and against the filthy wall.  I can hear her laughing.  My anxiety soars to Code Red.  She looks at me and smiles. “I’m a Sucker Fish!”

She is laughing.  I am not.

I am not sure who to address first.  My mind is reeling.  Dirty floor! Dirty mirror! Dirty wall!

“For land’s sakes!!  What is WRONG with all of you?!”

I can’t stop myself, the words are flying out.  I’m turning in circles and looking at each of them, unable to focus on just one child.  Their giggles stop.  They looked surprised.

Why do they look surprised?  We had this conversation last week!  Why on EARTH do they look surprised?

“What’s wrong Momma?”  Bubba looks bewildered.

“The bathroom is dirty, everything is dirty!  People POOP in here!” I say with exasperation.

They are just looking at me.  I know they know I’m losing it.  They are waiting for the insanity to run itself out. “Don’t touch anything and especially DO NOT put your MOUTH on anything in the bathroom.  Do I really have to say, ‘Don’t lick anything?’  Do NOT Lick ANYTHING!  And do NOT put your mouth on anything.  Not the wall or the mirror or anything!?”  In my hysterical state I am suddenly overcome with the humor of it all.  I get an image in my head of them with their tongues frozen to the faucets like the kid, Flick, in The Christmas Story who got his tongue frozen to the pole.  In that moment a woman walks into the bathroom.  I know she heard my rant because she gives me a knowing look of sympathy.  When our eyes meet a laugh begins to bubble up into our faces.  I realize it is comical, at the same time I am horrified.  I’m not sure which feeling is strongest but somehow the laugh finds its way to my lips.  The Lady starts to laugh as well.  I’m ushering the kids out as the laughter takes over.  My son is looks at me and asks, “What’s so funny?  What’s funny Momma?”

“Life.”  I respond, “Life is funny.”