One of the best pieces of parenting advice I have received to date is: “you aren’t doing anything wrong”.
I received that bit of advice, or maybe it was just a comment or form of encouragement, at our churches Vacation Bible School program. Our oldest is 3 and didn’t quite meet the age requirement to participate but they told us that if we were willing to walk around with him to the classes he was more than welcome to join in. Little man had never been in any kind of classroom or structured environment; I decided this would be a great first time exposure as there aren’t many requirements. That week was also in the middle of our potty training journey. We were fighting an uphill battle.
Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,
As the kids were in the opening session of VBS I sat next to someone I know, a wonderful mom of three. She had told me at one point, many years ago, that it wasn’t her intention on having kids-at least when they started coming. I related to that remark completely. Anyway, we caught up a little bit and exchanged typical parenting pleasantries when I confessed that we were struggling with potty training. As a parent I think its normal to just assume if something isn’t working right then you are, in fact, doing something wrong. This was exactly my thought-I am doing it wrong. I didn’t confess that thought but through motherhood ESP she must have sensed it. She immediately said “you are not doing anything wrong, keep doing what you are doing. All kids are different and it takes some a bit longer. You are a good mom”. I melted with a sigh of relief and her words enveloped me like a hug.
In the moment I didn’t need criticism. I didn’t need suggestions. I didn’t need advice. She didn’t pry. She instantly encouraged me- this struggling mother of two rambunctious boys. She-the mother of three rambunctious children (her youngest was taking her clothes off at that moment)-doesn’t has everything all figured out. She wasn’t boasting or judging. She knew the struggle and she knew exactly what I needed to hear.
Why can’t we all step up and be encouraging? From one mother to another or even one parent to another, we have a choice and that choice is to not condemn but to lift each other up. As parents we are all fighting a similar battle. Some parents fight a battle that others could never withstand. Every single parent struggles at some point. We all have our good days and our bad days, and some days aren’t even worth mentioning.
1 Thessalonians 5:11a Therefore encourage one another and build each other up,
We are still, weeks later, fighting an uphill battle with our 3 year old about potty training. I don’t think he inherited any of my stubbornness. But one thing I know for sure is that I know I am not doing anything wrong. I am being consistent and he and I are both growing through this process.
Yesterday, today and tomorrow I will offer myself grace for losing my temper. I will offer my son grace when he has an accident or doesn’t quite make it to the potty on time. He is only three years old after all. He is not perfect and neither am I. and guess what- you aren’t perfect either and that’s what makes us all similar.
If you are on a potty training journey I do recommend this travel training seat. It conveniently folds up inside a bag that you can carry in the diaper bag while on the go. It has come in handy more than once.