parenting with grace //

Parenting with Grace

DenaAugust 5, 2015

parenting with grace //

parenting with grace //

I’ve written a lot about how well behaved Roman is, so in the spirit of full disclosure, I feel that I should talk about our recent challenges. At two years and two months, we’ve been thrown for a real loop. It’s been a perfect storm of sorts — a series of unfortunate events that have made this past month or so extra hard on our little guy (and on his parents, too).

First, we took away his pacifier a month ago. Since then, sleep has been really hard for him. He wakes up screaming multiple times during the night. Many days he flat out refuses to nap. On the days that he does nap, he sleeps three hours, which goes to show that he really does need those naps. It’s not like he’s missing out on a thirty-minute snooze. It’s three hours that he needs and doesn’t get. And, oh my, does it show.

Second, there’s the introduction of his baby sister. While Roman is absolutely the best two-year-old big brother we could ever hope for him to be, it’s still an enormous adjustment for any toddler to move from being an only child to having a sibling.

And finally, there’s the teething issues — four great big, molars have been slowly pushing their way into his mouth for ages.

These three big issues are piled up on top of all of the regular toddler, pushing-the-boundaries type stuff, and it’s been a true test of patience for all of us.

Next up, we have our little Marina and everybody knows about those issues. She cries all day unless she’s being held. She won’t fall asleep on her own. Once she falls asleep, she wakes up if you try to put her down. And the list goes on.

parenting with grace //

parenting with grace //

With all of this said, this post isn’t really about our babies, its about me — me as a mother. More specifically, this post is about parenting with grace. I’m not talking about parenting gracefully here. I’m not certain that graceful parenting is even possible, especially when there’s a toddler & an infant involved. This is not ballet. Rather, what I mean when I say, Parenting with Grace, is actively acknowledging God’s grace throughout the process of parenting.

Religion is something that I’ve always struggled with. A lot of it never quite made sense to me. But since becoming a mother, my relationship with God has never been stronger. When it came to religion and spirituality, I spent a long time trying to fit it into a box, trying to be like other people, trying to understand it. What I realize now is that, for me, it will never fit into a box, I will never understand it (in the way that you can understand grammar or a math equation), and I may never be like other people. And, most importantly, all of this is okay. I’ve learned to stop trying to “make it be” something that it is not, and to just let it be what it is.

God has always had a deep and powerful role in my life. There is no way that I can explain what God means to me. It’s not an old man with a white beard and a robe sitting in a gold chair in the clouds. For me, God is energy. God is all-knowing. God is all-powerful. God is nature. God is light. God is love. God is good. It doesn’t have to make sense to you, because it makes sense to me. But, this post isn’t about religion either. It’s about grace and parenting. I felt like all of this back story was an important piece of the puzzle. Now, on to grace.

parenting with grace //

parenting with grace //

parenting with grace //

Parenting is hard. It is the hardest and most important work that there is. The simple fact of the matter is that humans rule the earth and every human life has a vast impact in the world and that impact can be good or it can be bad. Much of what a person becomes is shaped by the way that she was raised by her parents. That amount of pressure, on a parent, can be overwhelming to say the least.

The very act of keeping your child alive is a feat in itself — feeding, bathing, protecting from the elements, and so on. Then, on top of this, there is the entire intelligence, emotional and spiritual development of the child at stake. When you are a parent, every day is a marathon — an intense, beautiful, terrifying, magical marathon. It is exhausting and fulfilling in a way that can never be put into words.

parenting with grace //

parenting with grace //

What I have realized about all of this — especially during these past few months, which have undoubtedly been the most challenging of my life — is that grace is key here. Grace is what makes parenting possible. Grace is what allows me to do it. Grace gives me the energy to keep moving forward when I am tired through to my very bones. Grace reminds me that my children are gifts that God has entrusted to me. That yes, my daughter may be the world’s least independent sleeper. That yes, there are days when my son will literally disagree with every single thing that I say. That yes, there will be weeks when I will cry myself to sleep every damned night. But still, God trusts me. God gave me these babies because I am the mother that was meant — and is able — to care for them. They are for me and I am for them.

As always, grace is key, and it tends to be the hardest to give it to ourselves. This is what I remind myself of, over and over again. God gives me grace. I need to allow, accept and embrace it. When things get tough, it gets dark, really dark. But eventually, I catch the smallest glimmer of light, hiding somewhere in the darkness. That is God’s grace. As I move closer to it, it gets brighter & warmer. It slowly covers my body until eventually, I am covered in it. I know that I will be okay.

parenting with grace //

I just love these photographs of our garden harvests. Roman finds so much joy in the garden. Working beside his Papa makes him so proud. He just loves to point out all of the different flowers and vegetables. He loves to pick the fruit of our labor and to collect it all in his little basket. When I look at his beautiful face, I see God’s grace. When I hold my little Marina in my arms, I feel God’s grace. It is all around me.

parenting with grace //

Parenting is the greatest work. Grace makes it possible. ♥

Comments (2)

  • Momista Beginnings

    August 17, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    Mia gave us a preview of the “terrible threes” or the “threeteens” literally on the day she turned 3. This was 11 days after adding Margo to the family. She was so easy and great for the most part, before then. I’d definitely have to agree that having a new baby around is a huge contributor to the change in behavior. But you’re also battling the teething and the paci issues, which are exactly that, issues all on their own. Taking Mia’s paci away was so stressful for all of us. We did it a few months after she turned 2. We actually cut a small hole in it and I told her that the dogs chewed it up!!! Hahaha, I totally threw them under the bus on that one. But, it sorta worked. She still wasn’t happy about it, but it gave her more of a concrete reason as to why she couldn’t use them anymore. It took a few weeks before she was over the paci. That’s when a particular stuffed bunny of hers “Mama Bummy” took it’s place as a sleeping aid. She falls asleep with that bunny every single night. THANK GOD we’ve never lost it! She’d be devastated. But I think the relationship she has with it is adorable. She kind of massages or rubs the bunny’s ears when she’s sleepy and as she falls asleep. Anyways, I feel your pain. I hope Roman feels better about life, soon, especially since you’re still dealing with Marina’s crying. With us, Mia has mellowed out a lot over the last 2 months, I’d say. And tantrums do take place more when she skips her naps. But, she’s still taking one most days of the week. Have you read any books on sleep for the kids? I just read one (as I’m sure you saw via IG) that is really helping with Margo’s sleep. If you’re interested (and my apologies if you’re not), it’s called “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.” I recommend it for sure. But I know how little time you must have to read it, so if you want I can email you with the basic principles and methods that it discusses. YOU’RE DOING AN AMAZING JOB, MAMA!!!! I truly do admire you as a mom. I know you’re not perfect (who is!?) and that you feel weak at times (we all do…a lot) but you truly do come across as parenting with grace. Those two precious babes are extremely lucky to be cared for and loved by you. So lucky and blessed. xoxoxoxo!!!

  • Thoughts on Motherhood: Nature vs. Nurture – Live, Love, Simple.

    June 19, 2018 at 10:10 am

    […] thing. As mothers, we each have to have faith that our way is the right way. I have to stop and give myself grace as often as I can remember to. I hold tight to my belief that God gifted me with my two babies […]

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