Encouragement For When Parenting Feels Defeating

This journey is hard. There’s no question. When we signed up for it, we never knew loving children from hard places would take so much out of us. We didn’t realize that, even when we felt empty, we’d have to keep going. But that’s what real love is all about.

It’s a cold and dreary day in Central Indiana. I’ve got a little extra time on my hands so I decide to do something I don’t often do. Go to the gym. I need it. It’s been a long and harsh winter, with plenty of sitting around and waiting for the weather to clear, plus I pay for a monthly membership fee. I cringe even as I type those words.

As I darken the doors of the fitness center I press my earbuds into my ears and begin to scroll through Spotify for the perfect workout mix. My usual thought-provoking and mellow music won’t do on an afternoon like this. I’m stressed, overwhelmed, and feeling out of the mood for exercise. I need something with extra volume.

Nirvana….added! Chili Peppers….added!

I find my usual Arc Trainer, step up, adjust the settings, and begin. It’s painful. It’s hard. It’s been a few weeks!

After a few Curt Cobain anthems, an unfamiliar song comes across my playlist. Usually, I’m not paying attention during a workout, but for some reason, on this day, I am. The song lyrics go like this…

I am tired, I am drained
But the fight in me remains
I am weary, I am worn
Like I’ve never been before
This is harder than I thought
Harder than I thought it’d be
Harder than I thought
Takin’ every part of me
Harder than I thought
So much harder than I thought it’d be
But empty’s never felt so full
This is what love (this is what love)
This is what love
Feels like
This is what love (this is what love)
This is what love
Feels like
Poured out, used up, still givin’
Stretching me out to the end of my limits
This is what love (this is what love)
This is what real love
Feels like
This is what love feels like poured out
Used up still willin’ to fight for it
This is what love feels like
Yeah, this is what it feels like

(Feels Like, 2015, lyrics by TobyMac)

“Poured out, used up, still giving, stretching me out to the end of my limits.”Parenting can often feel defeating. For those of us who are parenting children who have experienced trauma the weight of all we need to do can feel unsurmountable. When we have a child who pushes us away with words and actions, we can end up feeling poured out and empty.

Yep, that’s me. That’s this journey.

We often feel stretched to our limit, but we have to keep trying. We may feel empty but we need to keep pouring.

Parenting a child from trauma may be harder than you imagined, but if you are reading this, you are searching for a better way and that’s good. You are seeking support and that is vital. Hang in there. Pour yourself out freely but don’t forget to take time to care for yourself so that you can be there for your children. They need you, you can do this! Your efforts are not lost, you are not truly empty.

Question: Have you felt gutted on this journey? Share your story with us in the comment section below. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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