* I am attempting to write without editing myself so often on here. I will leave more refined edited writing for a book some day...and here most of the time. My brain will not let me write without editing most of the time, but from time to time I know it is good for my brain to let it go as well.
Today is a hard day. It is a day I don't like myself and how my heart and mind feel. Social media is depressing (for a lot of reasons) because it has come to be the place you put up all the best things about yourself. It is polished and it lays a foundation for unlimited comparison. What is the quote you have probably pinned before; "Comparison is the thief of joy"? We get online and we watch other people's lives and then wonder if they have ever felt the sting of our day to day.
It is also terrible for parents. It is easy to see the pictures and interactions I share on my page and assume what I put on there is my day to day. Sometimes it is! Most of the time it is not. My girls (all three) are my world. My heart longs to love them with all I can muster, and most days I do that well. Many days, I do not. Today I don't!
Lately, Bryleigh (5yo) has been answering our instruction very poorly. Both of my daughters have begun the stage of life where they just stare at you when you give them an instruction...several times. Then there are the moments I simply yell, "GO! Do the-thing-i-asked-you-to-do-before." Typing this hurts my heart, and I can only hope that normal parents read this and are encouraged that there is another who just gets to a point where its...too much.
The most difficult for me right now have been the things Bryleigh says when she gets frustrated. She is trying to express her feelings and thoughts, but she has begun using words she likely hears at school. In the last couple weeks the words "FAT" and "UGLY" have begun to be used, and nothing angers me more with my girls (all three of them).
In case you glossed over the details above; my 5 year old talks about being fat and ugly.
The first time she said "fat", I pulled the car over to the side of the road as if she had said the F-word you likely thought I meant by the title of this post. I pulled to the side of the road because that is what you do when your child says something so terribly inappropriate and hurtful.
"Bryleigh, I do not want to hear that word come out of your mouth again. Do you understand me?"
I realize that self-image is going to be an issue for the rest of my life as I raise girls and live in a house full of them. I understand, to some degree, this comes with the territory.
I also understand how much of that trouble comes from the way the environment of my home is facilitated. I also understand that a father/husband's words mean a universe to my girls.
I hate these words. It angers me to hear them in my home from the mouths (and hearts) of my girls. Today was not a good day. In an escalated debacle about the clothes she WAS going to wear to school today, in response to the outfit I chose for her, she said, "No! People are going to say I am ugly. I am going to be ugly if I wear that."
"Bryleigh," I yelled, "Stop! I am sick of hearing those words come out of your mouth right now."
Now here is the thing, I realize I could have navigated the moment far better. I DO navigate those moments better a lot of the time. But this time, I realize my escalated voice and emotion did NOT serve her well at all, and probably did more harm than good. But again, I said today was a bad day. Here is my daughter who is explosive with beauty, strength, and boldness using words that should simply not be allowed.
I don't have a big nice bow to tie this post up with. I only want to share that today was not a good day. How often do you read that on social media? I write this with hopes of grace and encouragement being found in a fuzzy but honest picture of a father's heart and actions. My hope is that YOU find yourself here somehow...not just as a parent...not just as a person who struggles with self-image...not just a person who reacts to situations in a shameful way...but as a person who stumbles and frequently falls, someone who has endured lapses and relapses, and still kept coming back to Jesus (or wherever you go) to find grace and courage.