As we were planning out the weekly content for this month, based around bravery, Megan and I were brainstorming all the places women have to practice courage. As I was thinking through all of the areas of my life that require courage, “parenting” quickly bubbled to the top. It’s funny, because when the boys were younger, parenting required more endurance. Now that they’re entering their teenage years, I’m learning that love in parenting requires huge amounts of courage.
We took this picture at the beach in 2016.
The rest of the family had to leave but that year, I had a little more space in my schedule, and the boys really wanted to stay longer. So the three of us rented a tiny little car and cheap little (upstairs) motel room across the street from the water at The Sunshine Inn. We decided we would go on an “adventure”. As an Enneagram 7, adventure is my specialty. Each year, we typically stay in the same place, play on the same beach, and frequent the same spots, over and over again.
But that year, the three of us decided to get a map of the island and go explore it all.
With The Sunshine Inn as our home base, each day we would map out a plan, then load up our little rental car with food, water, towels and snorkeling gear, before setting out for our adventure. We had so much fun visiting crystal caves and eating at random roadside restaurants. We drove through mangroves to explore abandoned beaches looking for sea glass. We tried to snorkel from the shore of a public beach out to a shipwreck dive site that looked close enough to make, but after the wind picked up, that turned out to be a terrible idea. It took all the strength and courage I had to get those boys back to shore. Those few days, I thought I was a pretty courageous mom, and I was. But I had no idea what this next phase of parenting would bring.
Courage looks different in every season.
Sometimes it requires a different kind of bravery. Sometimes it requires stepping up to a different level of bravery or even practicing bravery in a whole new way. In this season, it’s not surprising to me that I need the courage to hold my ground on boundaries that aren’t popular among their friends. But it has surprised me that over and over, I find myself looking for the courage to put myself out there with unconditional love, in the face of a hormonal kid saying they don’t like me or want to be around me. (insert dagger to the heart) We were always going to be besties! How did we get here?
While I laugh at my unrealistic parenting expectations, I recognize that the need for bravery on this front is real.
It’s hard to continue to show love to someone who is openly rejecting you because of your boundaries, even when you know they’ll come back around by the end of the day. It scares me to think about how that gap will likely get longer before it gets shorter. It will inevitably get longer before it gets shorter. Loving my kids well, while holding firm boundaries, is likely about to get harder, before it gets easier. And that’s okay, because I’ve stopped hoping to avoid the hard parts of parenting.
Instead, I’m learning to practice courage in each step along the way.
Of course, I don’t do it perfectly. I fail at this one daily. But it’s the getting up, apologizing, and trying again that matters most. . . the boys learn more courage from watching me fail and try again than they ever would from me being a perfect parent.
The same is true for you.
If you feel like you’re failing at some parts of parenting or any other area of your life, take heart from the truth that failing, acknowledging, and getting back up again is building your bravery. It’s giving you the courage you’re going to need for what’s next. Courage looks different in every season. But guess what?
So do you.
to more love,
P.S. Today is the very last day to join us for the “Bravehearted Cookie GNO at Home” Livestream + Cookie Supply Pack for 4! Gather a few of your besties who need to be inspired by Christie’s bravery and learn a few skills to practice more of their own, together. Get yourself registered and invite them over!