Hi, I’m Kimberly. I love words.
I’m that nerd who loves word scramble games. I get a giddy feeling when I hold a book over a thousand pages. All those beautiful, beautiful words! Actually, I get a giddy feeling when I hold any book. One year when I was in college, I spent the entire spring break laying on the couch reading. I read The Count of Monte Cristo, two Jane Austen novels, and Jane Eyre. It was glorious.
There, now we know each other. This love for words gets me thinking about using the right word often. When I’m talking to my kids, I’ll sometimes use words like acknowledge or functionality or awkward or circumstance. No, they probably don’t know what it means, but they heard it in the right context, and well, it was the right word to use to express what I wanted to say.
Which brings me to my point. I’ve noticed a disconnect in my thinking lately about two important but very different words: good and easy. I’ve noticed that a lot of times they’re equal in my mind. I want to think that if something is good in my life, it is going to be easy. I want to believe that the easy days with my kids mean I’m a good mom. That the good relationships will be the easy ones. That my easy baby is my good baby.
Then one day I thought to myself, “This is so hard! There’s no way I am good at this motherhood thing!”
And it hit me! Good does not equal easy. The ease of our discipline, conversation, ability, and relationships does not determine if the outcome will be good or if we’re doing a good job in the moment. It’s the investment and usually the stinkin’ hard work that we put in that will determine the outcome.
Like a farmer, I can’t expect to have good product if everything about the tilling, sowing, and harvesting is easy peasy. Like an athlete, I can’t expect to be good if my practices are always just nice and jolly and happy. No sweat, no deep breaths, no pushing myself (or being pushed, for that matter).
Ok, so this is nothing new. Yeah, we all know in theory that we have to work for what we want. But when it comes to me and my perfectionistic tendencies and pressures from all directions to have perfectly behaved little people who always look great and who know three languages and who only eat organic foods, I start to feel a breakdown when I look around and think, ” this is so hard. I must not be good at it.”
When I’m in the middle of two children having meltdowns, and one is crumpled on the floor crying and the other is screaming so loud that her face is blue, it’s my tendency to stop and think, “this is so hard. I must be a terrible mom.”
When I’ve been trying to cook dinner for three hours because I’ve had a million interruptions from fighting or scared kids or potty-accidents or the dog has to go outside again or “watch this, mommy!” six hundred times, and I start to feel like I’m about to boil over, it’s natural for me to think, ” this is so hard. I fail at life. And I’m a terrible mom for being so frustrated.”
And though I know that good doesn’t equate to easy, I still somehow believe that when things get so hard, it means I am not good at being a mom.
You know, often parenting doesn’t come naturally or easily. We all have not-good moments. But I think a really important thing to realize here is that I (we?) need a word shift to remember that screaming kids, time outs, fights, frustrations, sleep difficulties, annoyances, power struggles, and all those other challenges do not mean that we fail at being good parents. It simply means that this season of life can be hard. Hard doesn’t have to equal good or bad. It can just equal hard. And that can give us freedom to step back, look at our situation and say, “this is so hard” without a judgment on ourselves.
Just like the farmer and the athlete, often the hard, hard investment can mean a good, beautiful result. So let’s rest easy, my friend, and remember that hard just equals hard, but there is good that can come from it.