If I can be real with you for a moment, I want to tell you a truth about parenting so far:
It is the hardest thing I have ever done.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my little Levi. I happen to think he is one of the cutest and smartest toddlers I have ever met. I love when he reaches up for no reason at all and says “I love you Mom.” I love when he snuggles into me while we read books. And I love watching him discover the world and words to describe it. Being his mom is amazing.
But it’s also really hard.
On days when I’m at home with Levi, I sit back after he’s in bed and sometimes think – I don’t know if I was cut out for this. While naive, pregnant Julia pictured parenting as mostly the snuggles and learning and fun – parenting is mostly, well, work.
Being a parent is literally teaching a child how to be a good human.
That’s hard work.
Most of my day isn’t spent snuggling and laughing and saying “I love you”, but redirecting, talking about what’s good behaviour and what’s not, working through tantrums, trying to keep my cool and trying to figure out what to feed this very picky toddler – all while wondering – when is the last time I got a good night’s sleep?
Parenting is hard.
And it gets overwhelming.
If I’m being transparent, I didn’t expect it. I heard other people say parenting was hard… but really? I have a Master’s degree, I work with kids full-time, I am a multitasker extraordinaire… how hard could it really be?
Turns out – harder than they ever let on.
While parenting is hard, it has also been one of the greatest lessons in clinging to Jesus that I have ever experienced.
Most mornings as I lay in bed, with Levi saying “Can me get up now?” while wishing I could just roll over, I find myself in half-consciousness thinking, “God, I cannot do this with you.”
In so many moments throughout the day, I find myself turning to other things for escape – social media, coffee (pregnancy is making this crutch harder to hold on to), a novel to get lost in, a TV show to blare out the noise – and hear a quiet whisper in my heart – “That’s not what you need. It may help, but I am YOUR HELP. THE HELP.”
And over and over, moment after moment, I hear the words of Jesus, recorded by Paul, echoing in my heart –
My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in your weakness.
The truth is this – parenting is really hard. I can’t do it on my own. But it is in the hard things – like raising a toddler – that God shows up alongside me time and time again. So while it’s hard and exhausting, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.