“We’re right where we need to be” I calmly and quietly said to my husband.
That statement rightfully earned me a confused glance, an eye-roll, and a judgmental chuckle.
You see, he did not think that the floor of the entrance of Target with two toddlers melting down was really where we needed to be at that moment.
Was he right? Probably.
But, was I right as well? Absolutely.
Parenthood causes both mothers and fathers to run the gamut of emotions all in one day; sometimes all in one hour or a twenty-minute span. Being a life raft, an emotion coach, a leader, a provider, and a good example for one or more pint-sized individuals is freakin’ hard work, and it can leave you feeling exhausted, anxious, depleted, and confused.
Far too often, us parents complain — to anyone that will listen — about the challenges that coat our every day, and whether or not we voice it, we regularly find ourselves thinking:
“Life is not supposed to be like this.”
“Parenting is supposed to be easier.”
“I’m doing so much wrong.”
“Why is he such a challenge?”
“When will this stop being so hard?”
“This is not where I should be.”
Well, let me tell you, hun, and I’m talking to myself here just as much as the rest of you, we are all right where we are supposed to be.
Life is not always comfortable, and humans were not made to be simple. Therefore, the stressors that we encounter each day are in place so that we can reach our full potential; so that we can be the entirely complicated and imperfect but unique and impressive beings we are meant to be.
You may think that the checkout line at Publix with a baby that just had a diaper explosion is not where you should be, but you are wrong.
You may think that in the driver’s seat of your car that was just involved in a fender-bender is not where you should be, but you are wrong.
You may think that being late for work and stuck behind slow-driving Grandpa is not where you are supposed to be, but you are wrong.
You may think that the principal’s office to discuss your child’s mistake is not where you are supposed to be, but you are wrong.
You may think that mid-argument with your husband of many years is not where you are supposed to be, but you are wrong.
You are misguided if you think that things should never go wrong.
I cannot tell you just how often something going wrong can lead to something right.
Every single “bad day” or “bad moment” that we have is meant to happen, and although less-than-pleasurable moments test your will, patience, and faith, they are without a doubt crucial for your self-growth.
That exploding poopy diaper you are extremely pissed about reminds you that you have a healthy child; one that can eat food and process it. It tells you that you are adequately taking care of your baby’s gut. It reminds you that no matter what you have going on — like loading a conveyer belt with fridge items — your child, and their needs, should and will always take precedence.
That little accident you were involved in when the apologetic, rushed lady behind you bumped your bumper, reminds you that life is short and therefore must not be wasted. This accident, well, it could have been much worse, but thankfully it wasn’t. It reinforces to you just how necessary it is to slow your roll and take your time, whether you are driving or in the presence of those you love.
That meeting that you are running late for due to your unfortunate timing and Grandpa’s driving, it’s still going to happen, or maybe it’s not. But, guess what? Life will go on. Maybe your co-workers will take it over for you and rock it, or perhaps they won’t. You could lose your client due to your tardiness, or possibly they will be running late too, and you will bond over your dual-misfortune. Maybe while you are stuck behind the slow-driver, you will come up with a revised grand plan for your meeting and hit it out of the park. Point being — life keeps moving and so will you; with or without that job.
You may think that the principal’s office to discuss your child’s mistake is not where you are supposed to be, but you are wrong. Your kid made a mistake, and you shouldn’t be embarrassed or ashamed. Your child’s lousy choice only reinforces to them the importance of making smart decisions, and maybe it will shine a light on how you can improve as their caretaker.
You may think that mid-argument with your husband of many years is not where you are supposed to be, but you are wrong. Mid-impassioned discussion with someone you love means that you are both still willing to put in the feelings, energy, and time it takes to maintain a partnership while parenting. Kudos to the both of you.
Listen, as I write this, my children are bickering, my house is a mess, the dog just farted, and I just remembered I forgot to send an urgent email, but, as it turns out, I am right where I need to be.
I will merely take another sip of my watered-down coffee, chalk it up to appropriate kid and dog behavior, having “mom-brain,” and hold steadfast to the notion that everything that happens to or around me has a purpose.
Okay, the dog toot that smelled like rotten eggs…it is a bit hard to find the purpose of that.