Sometimes that's a hard question to answer.
Joe, being the good husband that he is, will ask me this question almost every night. And he wants the real answer, which is one of the million things that I love about him.
But sometimes it's just hard.
I would love to say "It was great! The children were angels. We did crafts and sang songs together. They told me how much they love each other while they helped each other with their chores. We went on an educational outing where they were all engaged and respectful."
But today? Not awesome. Today felt like constant whining and fighting. Today was complaining. Today was lots of striving with very little fruit. Today there was not peace in our home. And that sucks.
See, I always thought I would be a really good mom. I love kids. I like to teach them things. I don't mind a hard day's work. I have a pretty high tolerance for loud and messy.
But today I don't feel like a good mom.
Today I feel like I must be doing something wrong and there must be a better way.
And maybe there is truth to that. I am sure I could make a lot of improvements in my parenting.
But here's the thing.
Parenting is a whole lot of sowing and then a little reaping and then a whole lot more sowing.
Farmers don't sow and then reap and then reap and then reap.
There is always more sowing to be done. Why do we think parenting is any different?
Sometimes, in our society, we have this expectation that parents must "control" their children right NOW or they will disrupt everyone else and probably have to do some jail time eventually.
What a bunch of crap.
When you see a parent struggling with their child's behavior, you should applaud them. They are not failing as a parent because their child is misbehaving in this moment. That's what children do. It's the parent's job to take this child, in this moment, and teach them how to deal with their current circumstances/emotions/other struggles you may not even be able to see. This is a moment of sowing (or maybe pruning or watering) but it's a moment where that parent is knee deep in the dirt and doing the hard work that needs to be done.
Parenting is a constant challenge and it's even harder when there is an audience. When a parent is actively engaged with their child, they are doing the hard work of parenting, shaping that little soul right in front of you. So try to bypass the negative thoughts and/or comments and, instead, step out and encourage.
Parenting my specific kids looks very different than what I had pictured. And I wouldn't trade it for anything. But I can't say that today was great. It was hard.
And I think (I hope) that means I did some of it right.