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The Witching Hour(s) & Feeling Like a Failure

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There’s that time with babies they call the witching hour. (And they use that word “hour” quite loosely.) But what they don’t tell you is that the particular hour of the day might change but the concept doesn’t. For us, it’s the hour right before nap/rest time and the hour before Matt gets home. (Cue meltdown central and Momma hiding in the bathroom.) My friend told me her hardest hour is the homework hour. (Cue nails scraping chalkboard.) And, of course, the wee morning hours which you get to visit when they’re teeny tiny. (Cue extra caffeine. Cue oh-wait-not-too-much-because-you’re-breastfeeding anxiety.) And again when they’re not so teeny tiny. (Cue ten-minutes-past-curfew paranoia.)

Last Saturday, we had a rough day. At one point, all three kids were crying so I just decided to join them. The mailman rang the doorbell to deliver a package, and upon my answering it he told me, “Glad it’s you and not me.” Thanks for that, sir.

I know it’s a season. I know I’ll miss it one day. I know they won’t be little long. I’ve read all those FB posts about “What Empty-Nesters Want to Tell Parents of Young Ones.” I hear you, and I know there’s much wisdom in your words. But it’s still hard. And maybe we could just stop telling parents to cherish every moment and instead give them a high five and tell them, “It’s hard, but what you’re doing matters.” Or maybe give them a hug instead of a stare. Or better yet a nap and a cookie.

If I’m being honest, there are a lot of days I feel like a failure. And from talking to other moms, I know I’m not alone in that. Between you and me, I just finished apologizing to my oldest. We were leaving a friend’s house, and I was corralling muddy shoes and lunch boxes and the infant carrier when she started crying hysterically because I said she couldn’t have a snack. (Mind you, lunch had been 30 minutes prior.) I was frustrated and embarrassed, and by the time we got to the car I wasn’t quite yelling but I had that I’m-not-yelling-but-my-teeth-are-clenched-and-I’ve-dropped-an-octave voice going on. Not my best moment.

So, there’s my messy heart splayed open today. I want to be a truth-teller with my writing, and the truth is parenting is hard. It’s really, really hard. Not just because of fits or tantrums or how they push my buttons but because of what those circumstances reveal about me and my own heart. My kids have much growing to do, but so do I. Maybe some moms have it all figured out. But this one is a hot mess in need of piles of grace. The very same thing my girls need from me.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

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