freetext. our spicy family (parenting roughhousing kids)

Ages two and four (and a half).

A sister and a brother.

Living with these two kids in the last year has been some our favorite moments of our life. That even though they are young and immature, they have the ability to bring joy and laughter, to grow us and change us. As tiny tiny humans they’re God’s loudest vessel to need Him the most.

God loaned us these two children for just a blink of time. These children were hand picked for us. (gulp)

Where are we at now?

40% of the time they’re purposefully pushing each other’s buttons. They’re fighting. They’re calling us mean parents and each other poopy-butts. They say “yes or no” to each other just because they know it’ll bug the other one. During this time I attempt to “parent” as best I can — character of the heart over behavior modification but often I mess it all up. These are the moments when I wish I didn’t need to be a parent. I never knew I could feel so much frustration and anger. I wanna quit. 

40% of the time they’re playing together well. They help each other. They wrestle and tackle and chase each other. They lay in a pile of giggles. They watch out for each other. They include each other. During this time, parenting equals me just being joyful with them. This requires no energy. These are the moments than I never knew I could love someone that deep or feel like my heart was literally exploding out of joy. I’ve never been this happy before.

20% of the time it’s the moments in between that it could go either way.

Parenting kids this age is so strangely easy half of the time and impossibly hard the other half of the time.

You guys. We are SO exhausted.

After five years of not being able to selfish whenever we want… we are exhausted.

We understand this is all on purpose. We chose to surrender to that whisper of the spirit, to have kids. We chose to learn the hard spiritual lessons of our underlying selfishness. Our self-centeredness.  But it doesn’t make it any easier to learn in the slow daily parenting routine.

Let me pause for a moment and share a video I took of Ethan and Evy this week. YOU GUYS. They did this for over 30 minutes. There is no “big brother” or “little sister” vibe with them most of the time. They treat each others as equals. As companions. And they are FIERCE. This is 40% of the vibe of our family culture. Our family is wee-bit spicy. 

 

I outrageously love that their default (either genetic or our family culture at our home) is running, screaming, giggling, adventuring, cuddling, exploring. I love that our kids will sit and read for an hour, sit and color pictures for kids across the world for an hour, that they help us in the kitchen and clean up their own dishes. I equally love that they dig for worms and play in the rain and want everything “faster and louder.” THAT is the 40% of family life that is social-media-bragging-beautiful. That’s what parents (us included) love to share and post and express to the world “this is our life.”

Rarely do parents really advertise the fights, the bad choices, the boring, or the mistakes of their families. That the other 60% that is never-ending big emotions from immature younglings living with you is terrible. I think sharing life with people who acknowledge openly the hard 60% is where community really lives. It’s where humility lives. Authentic transformation happens in the spaces of this form of community. We are speechlessly honored to say we have these people in our lives.

From what I’ve witnessed from parents with older kids – school age, teenage, college – the 60% of hard parenting doesn’t get any easier or harder. It just becomes hard in different ways. It just changes form. So. Send us some prayers for endurance. Because we’re about 1/30th done of a marathon and our muscles are already burning out.

Thanks for being here with us. For watching over us, encouraging us, and checking in with us. Bless. Breathe.

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Alicia

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