Thursday, January 31, 2013


par·a·dox \ˈper-ə-ˌdäks, ˈpa-rə-\
          a statement that is seemingly contradictory or opposed to common 
          sense and yet is perhaps true
1.  It is a paradox that computers need maintenance so often, since they are meant to save people time.
par·ent·dox  \I need one of my genius speech path friends to do 
                            this part\                                 
                            \Kelli & Gretchen are laughing right now\
the daily experience that is parenthood; seemingly living life in contradiction
1.  It is a "parent"dox that I am exhausted pretty much all day, but the second my head hits the pillow, my mind starts remembering all of the random things I need to do and I am instantly wide awake.
2.  While cooking, I find is "parent"doxical that the more time it takes to prepare a meal, the less of it my children will eat.  For example, a hot dog takes 25 seconds in the microwave, and my kids will eat the entire thing and ask for seconds.  Wild rice and chicken casserole, which requires 35 minutes of prep work and is made entirely of things they love to eat, will elicit only the one required "taste bite" and my children will carry on as though I have asked them to cut off an appendage.  
3.  Why does my 7 pound newborn baby require that I take 200 pounds of stuff with us in order to leave the house?  Hmmm...such a "parent"dox.
4.  It seemed as though my heart was completely and entirely full and could not contain another ounce of love or joy when my son was born.  What a "parent"dox that my love and joy was multiplied exponentially the moment my daughter was born.  My family and my capacity for love both grew that day.
I have come to realize that from the moment you sign on to become a parent, you also sign on to live the remainder of your life in a "parent"dox.  You are filled with excitement, trepidation, joy, and worry beyond words.  From there on out, at any given moment, on any given day, you will most likely experience some sort of "parent"dox.  It's not good, it's not just is.  Here are a few I've experienced in my very short tenure as a parent...

Trying to clean the house while there are real, live, actual children living in it is an ongoing "parent"dox I face each and everyday.  I attempt to _____ (fill in the blank here...fold laundry, do dishes, clean the bathroom, pick up the living room...) and as soon as said chore is complete (or even partially complete for that matter) I have an equally large (or larger) mess waiting for me.  

Laundry is folded?  Great!  Every book pulled off the bookshelf...not so great.  Bathroom cleaned?  Super! All shoes pulled out and strewn throughout the house...un-super.  Dinner made?  Awesome!  All sorted and organized toy boxes (that job in and of itself had  been traded in for another mess, no doubt...) dumped out and mixed together in the living room...less than awesome.  

The other thing I love about cleaning with kids is the illusion of ever actually finishing a chore.  The floor is mopped.  For a total of 5 seconds.  Because before the mop is actually put away, graham cracker crumbs have already been scattered across the formerly clean floor.  I am also totally convinced that dirty laundry somehow multiplies while it is in the basket.  I throw a pair of socks into an empty basket (wait...who am I kidding...the basket is never empty...but stick with me on this one...), come back 8 minutes later, and the basket is overflowing.  I get that whole "matter can neither be created nor destroyed" bit, but I think dirty laundry supersedes this law of physics.  

The e-card below makes me laugh every time I see it, and totally sums up this "parent"dox.

Bedtime is one of the most well-known "parent"dox moments around our house.  Doing the dance that is bathing, pajama-ing, and teeth brushing a preschooler and a toddler is not without frustration, distraction, negotiation, and flat out HARD WORK!  But the immediate follow up to that is cuddling in bed with both of them while we read stories, talk about the day, pray, and just spend some all-around quality time together.  It is both my most dreaded and most anticipated time of the day.  

That is not even the most "parent"doxical part to me, though.  The part that never ceases to amaze me is after a day filled with longing for the time when I will have a few minutes to myself, I find myself missing them once they are finally asleep.  What is that?  All day long they whine, argue, demand, make messes (I suppose there is some good stuff sprinkled in there, too...) and then when it is finally calm and quiet, I miss the heck out of them?  Why is it I just want to hear their little voices and giggles? Without fail, I will be seeing them soon, when they will be up much earlier than I am ready for the next morning...or in the middle of the night...but for whatever reason, I do find myself missing them at some point during that sacred window of time I spent the majority of the day looking forward to.

We are so very excited for our kiddos to grow and learn and reach milestones.  They are such celebrations and special family memories! From crawling to walking to teething to talking,  we wait in eager anticipation of these events.  At times is seems as though our kiddos are just on the verge of being able to do something, and then they make us wait just a little bit longer.  Sometimes it can be the anticipation of a skill that will seemingly make life just that much easier.  "When she just starts sleeping through the night..." or "When he can finally feed himself..."  All too soon, though, we find ourselves realizing they are growing up much too fast.  We want to freeze time, to keep them little just the tiniest bit longer.  The "parent"dox of eagerly anticipating the passing of time, yet wanting time to freeze, is such a bittersweet one.  

This quote rings with so much truth for me when it comes to this "parent"dox...
"The days are long, but the years are short."  ~Unknown

I experienced a different kind of "parent"dox for the first time just last week.  My son had completely fallen apart and was having an all out fit after he had been sent to "time out" for knocking down his sister's Lego tower for the second time. When one of these fits strikes, he is nearly inconsolable. Crying. Screaming. Completely irrational.  I have learned that one of the only things that can help pull him out of it is to just leave him by himself for awhile.  On the up side, he knows this, too.  He stormed right past the "time out" spot in front of the coat closet and into his bedroom.  After a few minutes, I went in to see how he was doing and attempt to process the situation at hand.  

He let me have it.  He was mad at me.  He was frustrated with me.  He didn't like me.  I was the trigger of this particular explosion, and even though I knew I would still follow through in the same way again, it still hurt and was still hard to see and hear him be so clearly upset with me. I wanted to him to know he couldn't destroy something his sister had worked so hard on, but had I somehow hurt him in a way I didn't mean to?  Had I reacted too quickly?  Spoken too harshly?  Missed something?  (Weird that he is so sensitive, right?  I mean, I wonder where on earth he could get that from?...)  Eventually, he was able to calm down and talk through the issue with me, take responsibility for his actions {with some prodding}, apologize to his sister and get back to his serious work of playing Legos, helping his sister rebuild her construction and flying Lego cars around the living room.  

Here was the flipside of that "parent"dox.  That night, in the midst of praying for our food and our family at dinner, he threw in "...and thank you for moms who help us when we're crying..."  My husband and I looked at each other.  I could hardly believe it.  A situation that hours earlier had been frustrating, exhausting, and also had me beating myself up pretty good, had amazingly turned into a sweet moment I will never forget.  Where earlier he had been so upset, so mad, so emotionally out of control, here he was now verbalizing tenderness, kindness and thankfulness.

I know we will encounter many more situations much bigger, much deeper, much more complicated than this one.  I know 99.9% of the time I will never hear a "thank you" of any kind after being the bearer of bad news or the enforcer of consequences.  So this is the "parent"dox I will tuck away, I will hold on to, I will try to remember, when I find myself in the midst of the next one. 

When you are feeling the worst; when it hurts the most; in that moment, THAT is when You are a Good Mom.  

When you are agonizing about how hurt he is because you followed through on a consequence, that is when You are a Good Mom.

When you stick to your decision, and she "hates" you because "Everyone else is!", that is when You are a Good Mom.

When your daughter has hurled a string of insults at you, and topped it all off with "And you're ugly, too!" as you are helping her to learn the life skill of not saving a big project until the night before it is due, that is when You are a Good Mom.  (Yes, the eerie accuracy and detail of that last one does indeed mean it took place in my childhood home...)  

And ultimately here is perhaps the biggest "parent"dox of them all...they are worth it.  All these crazy, goofy, bittersweet "parent"doxes are worth it. Ask any parent, and they will tell you, without a doubt, that being a parent is worth it.  When it comes down to it at the end of the day, I am grateful that I get to experience these "parent"doxes.  I am blessed that I have these tiny little clothes to wash, trucks and Legos to step over when I walk into my bathroom to brush my teeth at night, kids to wrestle with at bedtime, milestone memories to treasure and remember, and glimpses of seeing my kids learn lessons as they go through life.  

The good stuff far outweighs the bad stuff.  Delighting in the amazing stuff far outweighs enduring the tough stuff.  We bear the burden of heartbreaks, frustrations, sorrows and disappointments, but we are given joys, celebrations, happiness and pride beyond our wildest dreams.  

Weathering the hard times, celebrating the good times...that is when You Are A Good Mom.


  1. This was great, Carrie! Thanks for your parenting insights. The whole bedtime and mealtime thing is really getting to me at this moment and mine is only 15 months old. Ugh - 'Parent'dox

    1. Hang in there, Laura! Those have always been the toughest times for me, too. I remember when the lunch time/nap time part of the day being absolutely crazy when my daughter was just born and my son was not quite 2. Someone always needed something and I could not get there fast enough. Ever.

      Here is what cracks me up... Can you imagine if someone prepared a meal for you and then told you to go lay down? Would that be like the best day ever, or what?!?! :) How things change from kid to grown up, huh? ;)

  2. What an awesome blog, Carrie Joy! You ARE a Good Mom!


site design by designer blogs