the battles

Around here we are in yet another of those constantly changing phases in child-rearing.  It’s been somewhat of a battle. More and more phrases such as “I want…”, “I can’t…”, “Why do I have to…” are being said.  As we talk and assess the issues, the realizaton that all this is completely my fault starts to come to fruition.

In motherhood, I want what’s best for my children.  I want them to make good, great, even perfect decisions.  I envision a household full of love warmth, attentiveness, cleanliness, order, godliness, encouragement and fun.  I want to create a relationship with my children that is open enough for them to come to me for anything– even admittence of mistakes, yet maintain authority so they don’t become uncivilzed kids (Lord of the Flies).  I am trying to maintain a hope and goal of perfect parenting.

Although I understand this is an impossible, unattainable thought, I can’t help but have it.  What I have been struggling with in this house is loosing battles.  What battles are worth fighting and which are not?  Is making the bed in a timely fashion something to hold them to, or is not important right now?

I realize that I don’t want every part of every day to be about control.  Eat faster, get dressed, do your school work, hurry up, look at your paper, time to eat, hurry up and finish, go potty, get ready for quiet time, pick up your toys, put your clothes away, time for dinner, finish up, do your kitchen chores, get ready for bed, hurry up so we can pray, give me a kiss, go to bed, stay in bed, don’t come out of your room….and around and around we go.

If I were them I’d be fighting against me too.  The constant burgage of requests and duties doesn’t seem fair.  I don’t like hearing myself talk day after day.  However, how do I teach them responsibility if they have no responsibilities?  *head is now spinning out-of-control*

More than making beds, more than doing things faster, more than getting it all done, I want them to love.  I want them to love each other, to love others, and mostly to love Jesus.  That’s what’s important to me.  Nick has been saying to them “I think you need to learn to say these three things more.  ‘Thank you’, ‘I’m sorry’, and ‘I love you’.”

As a parent we all know that our little ones are repeaters.  They repeat what we say and do.  I guess that means I have to go first. Tomorrow I will lead by example…

Thank you– for being such helpful and fun kids, for teaching me what forgiveness is by forgiving me so wholly.  Thank you for hugging me for no reason, for wanting to spend so much time with me, for flattering me when I wear anything that isn’t pajamas, for missing me when I’m gone for 30 minutes, for telling me you love me at random and unexpected times, for saying I’m the best mom.  Thank you for being truthful about every thought you have.

I’m sorry–  For rushing you through every day, for getting frustrated because you don’t do everything perfectly, for raising my voice and hurting your feelings, for being uptight and no fun most of the day, for not letting you make enough mess, for expecting too much too soon, for failing to teach you by trying to control you, for trying for conform you instead of cultivate you.  I’m sorry for not letting you make mistakes.

I Love you–  so much.  I love you no matter what you do or say, all the time, completely, enough to trust you more, in a way that makes me want to protect you from everything.  I love you, and because I love you I want you to have a long and happy childhood.  I loved you the second I felt your tiny body moving inside me, and I won’t ever stop.  I love you so much it hurts.

I pray these words will be unforgettable to them.  I know they will keep me accountable.  Humility is a learned and honorable possession. I have much to learn.  As always they are continuously teaching me more daily than all the curriculum I can shove into them yearly.  What a blessing and honor to watch a child become a person.  Tomorrow is a new day, and for that I am grateful.

 

“Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.”

Lamentations 3:22-23

 

Mondays

Some people complain about Mondays.  Today I’m one of those people.  I didn’t want to get up.  I heard kids.  They were already having problems as soon as Nick left the house.  I got up.  I had to.

Before breakfast was made, one child had gotten a time-out and was screaming, “Noooooo!” Sort of like a slow-mo movie moment, only with much more anger than anticipation. Another had gotten talked to about glaring at me and had just struck Josie.  Yet another had pooped their pants and was in the shower.  This was a potty-trained child!  I was sure that every part of this day was going to be a disaster.

By nap time the time-outs were continued with the above child, and the glares kept coming from the other, and yes…another shower from another poo.  There’s no way this day was getting any better.  I resolved to make a pumpkin pie and freeze it for Christmas dinner.  I didn’t have enough shortening to make all the crust I needed.  One pie would have to do.  It turned out to be the ugliest pie ever.  We ate it with dinner.

Do you ever just have a day that no matter what, nothing is enjoyable or smooth?  Maybe it’s just me.  Maybe it’s just how I view the circumstances that makes it worse.  Maybe some days are just hard.  What ever it is we all have them.  Whether you have kids or not, some days you just want a do-over.

I am so glad that God gives us a whole life do-over.  When I became a Christian ten years ago, that’s what I got.  A second chance.  His mercies are new every morning.  No worrying about Monday’s problems.  Soon Tuesday will come with a fresh outlook and happy hearts.

all you need is a little patience

Sickness struck our house a couple of weeks ago.  Nothing too bad, just some long-lasting colds. Sickness usually means very irritable kids, which in turn leads to much quarrelling and a general unhappy atmosphere.  To avoid all the arguments I go against my belief that they shouldn’t watch much TV.  When they’re sick they basically watch TV all day.  It’s bad, I know, that why I try to pick shows for them to watch that are actually good for them to see.  Veggie Tales, Leave it to Beaver and Dora the Explorer are the go-to picks.

Recently, they have discovered that they love to watch the Duggars.  What?   You don’t know the Duggars?  They’re a family of twenty.  A reality show into they’re lives.  Yeah, and you thought you had your hands full.  18 Kids and Counting has been playing episode after episode in our house.  We’ve gone through two seasons already.

Why am I talking about this?  Well, for one thing they are a Christian family (Baptist I believe), and they home school.  I think it’s good for the kids to see we’re not the only ones.  While they are a bit more legalistic then we are in they’re convictions, I really appreciate them showing the world what it is to live for and love God.

What strikes me about this family is that the mom (Michelle) is so patient and kind in everything she does.  Not only does she always praise her husband when the interviewer tries to subtly imply he’s a goof, but I have never once heard her raise her voice or make an angry or disapproving face to her children.  In turn, the children do not act that way to each other or their parents.  All 18 of them are well-behaved, kind, and practice self-control.  They show spiritual maturity to boot.

Amazing right?  Some days I feel like me and the five I have are holding on by a thread.  I have heard– and believe– that the women sets the tone of the household.  I was o encouraged and stirred up by this TV mom’s example of a Proverbs 31 women.   I realized the need for this change in our home. After all, I never hear the voice of my Lord yelling at me, scolding me, making me feel like he doesn’t approve of me.  I don’t see in my mind an image of Jesus crossing his arms and giving me the stink-eye every time I say or do something unpleasing.  Or every time I talk when I should listen, interrupt, leave the house messy…you get the picture.

Rather, I hear a gentle whisper of correction, I feel a loving embrace.  I see– through scripture– a picture of a gentle presence.  I love him because he loves me.  No matter what I do or say or think, I know that I am safe in his arms.  I am not afraid to come to Him.  I know there is correction to come, but I know I’m forgiven before I’m embraced.

I have been dwelling on these thoughts for days.  As a parent, I think we all want what is best for our children.  I know that as for me, I do the things which I ought not, and don’t do the things I should, all too often.  Lord change me from the inside, out.  I want my kids to know by my actions and words and body language, and expressions just how much I love them.  No matter what they do or say, children should always feel safe in a motherly embrace.

We imitate those we love most.  Let us be imitators of Christ.