I've been arrogant at times when it comes to parenting...breezing through with an easy-to-parent son and years and years of nanny experience...infants, teenagers, triplets-heck, even a family with ten kids. I was ready to take on the challenge of parenting head on and do it with ease until one little girl came into our lives and uprooted everything.
It's humbling to have a child who reminds you of all your most negative qualities. I have that and so much more in our little princess. She's our "strong-willed" child and I celebrate it...most of the time...because I know it means she'll grow up to be a brave woman with conviction and determination.
But then, there are days like today when I wake up and my first thought is "oh no, what is she going to do today?!" It's exhausting. Not just having a strong-willed, loud, sneaky, demanding child...just about all nearly-two-year-olds are that way. It's the way she's strong-willed, loud, sneaky and demanding that's exhausting because it's a reminder of all the areas of my own character that are less than stellar.
It's not that she's stubborn, I'm stubborn. It's not that she's loud and abrasive, I'm loud and abrasive. It's not that she's manipulative, it's that I'm manipulative. I feel like a hypocrite trying desperately to teach her not to be these things when I know my heart betrays me. I'm all these things and I've lived long enough to know that they're not good things. They make life more difficult. They make relationships more difficult.
I'm starting to realize that all I can do is parent the best I know how and let God do the rest. Which, if you've been paying attention, you know isn't easy for me because like my daughter, I want to control everything. But God wanted more. He gave me a child who is bringing me closer to Him. He's using her to show me that He wants better not just for her but from me and I'm listening.