The balance of discipline and grace in motherhood has confounded me, in different ways, through various stages parenting.
My youngest daughter was about 3 or 4 when she decided she didn’t like food. She didn’t exactly discriminate against all food, just most of the things I served up at meal times. I still remember the day she walked into the kitchen around dinnertime and innocently asked, “Mom, what are you making?”
“Dinner”, I replied nondescriptly.
“But I don’t like dinner”, was her honest and immediate reply.
And she was right. She didn’t like dinner. And she reminded us of that fact quite frequently.
In the heat of our early food battles I complained to my own mother about how hard parenting can be. But the problem with complaining to your own mom is that she will begin to clearly remember her own struggles with a picky eater. And that picky eater just may have been…you.
Oh yes, that. How had I forgotten?
There were many times when I didn’t like dinner either. I didn’t like peas or potatoes, especially the scalloped variety. And one evening they both appeared on the table at once. My mom laid down the law quickly, “You must eat two bites of each or you cannot leave the table.”
I weighed my options carefully and made a decision; I simply didn’t need to leave the table. Ever.
My family eat cherry pie for dessert that night and I knew better than to complain. Peas and potatoes weren’t worth it. Exercising my 7 year old resolve, I spent the entire evening on our hard wooden dining chairs. And at bedtime I retired to my bedroom.
But around midnight my stomach woke me. I was hungry. Really hungry.
Quietly, sheepishly, I tip-toed to my parents’ room and told my mom my stomach was growling. This was unchartered territory for me – midnight hunger, waking up mama – I had no idea how this would play out.