Getting time away from my kids is one of my favorite things. Now, don’t get me wrong . . . I love my kids, but for the sake of my well-being, I need time away. And when it comes to getting away, my favorite way to get away is to travel is with my husband. It’s amazing what a few days away from your little people will do for your soul and relationship. No matter how much you think you like being around your kids, you really should flee the scene and enjoy some time away.
However, it never fails that upon arrival back to reality, life will be difficult.
And usually, for us, it’s the kind of difficulties that make me wonder why we ever left town in the first place. You wonder if getting away was actually worth it (the answer will always be YES no matter what!) After our getaways, our kids (even though they always have an amazingly time with grandparents) treat us like we neglected them. Like we left them on the street to fend for themselves and eat trash. I completely recognize that this is in response to being off schedule and missing us, however, I can never fully understand the drama.
After one of our trips, my oldest threw an epic meltdown lasting for nearly two hours. Would you like to know what sent her into utter craziness? It wasn’t the assumption that I left her or didn’t feed her or removed all fun from her life; it was because I bought her the wrong chapstick. At one point, she tried to hit me on the head with an umbrella that was in the backseat of the car. I can’t even begin to explain how that happened, but I have since learned to remove any potential “weapons” from the backseat.
As I was thinking about it the next morning, I had this thought:
LEAVE IT ON THE FIELD
Even as an athlete growing up, I was never great at leaving something on the field when it was over. I thought about what I did wrong, what they did wrong, how I was cheated or what I could have done differently. But any coach would tell you that the best thing to do is to leave it on the field.
So let’s apply that to parenting.
When it comes to raising kids, we must learn to leave it on the field. Walk away. Don’t let it change your feelings toward yourself or your thoughts toward others.
I didn’t do that well in sports and I honestly don’t do this well in parenting. If I am offended, I tend to carry it with me. I don’t easily shake it off.
In those moments, I tend to see myself as failure and focus only the worst version of my kid. Usually my daughter will have moved on, but I’m still grumpy, upset, and wounded.
“I’m the worst mom.”
“She doesn’t love me.”
“I can’t do this thing called parenting.”
Yet, I need to leave it on the field no matter what happens. Here are two things to remember when leaving it on the field.
1. Refuse to take it personally
I think leaving it on the field starts with refusing to take it personally. I was handling that melt-down well for the first 30 minutes, and then I found myself melting. I have a hard time not taking it personally. I know she doesn’t mean what she says, but I still don’t fully understand. You just experienced great fun with grandparents. You went to see a movie. I just spent almost 2 hours with you at a playdate. I just rewarded you with chapstick. So, WHY? I don’t have an answer. I may never understand why. But I do know that I need to learn to leave it on the field.
Proverbs 19:11 says, “Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.”
2. Overlook the offense
And second, it is your “GLORY” to overlook an offense. Just let that one sink in for a minute. I need to practice not being offended by others’ actions. Can you imagine how different your world would be if you didn’t get offended? How different your response to your kids would be if you refused to be offended by them? That is my challenge today for myself—and for you.
Play hard. Fight the good fight. Love well. And then, when the game is over, and things didn’t go like you hoped, leave it on the field.