Parenting

Real Mom Life – Part 1

Some days I have it together if I must say so myself. Other days, well, not so much. In this post I’m going to deal with the latter. Stay tuned for part two, which is a much prettier display of motherhood packaged with a little more sanity. 

Oh and spoiler alert…I’m now 2 days past the writing of this post and…I survived.

This morning my alarm went off more times than I’d like to admit and my quiet time was shortened significantly. Why do I do this to myself first thing in the morning?

I rushed around getting all three kids ready because it was a full day and Jake and I were going in different directions. I sent him off with our youngest while I wrapped up the last few morning routines with our two older boys before taking our oldest son to school.

We are in the middle of moving houses and I hadn’t been to the grocery store so my son’s packed lunch options were limited and he was less than thrilled about those options. I informed the boys that we were eating breakfast in the car because not only were we out of time but the bag of pop-tarts and cereal (don’t judge our well balanced menu) was left outside in the moving process. Only then did I realize that my keys were missing and breakfast was locked in the car. My thoughts, “If I don’t find these keys in 7 minutes, our son will be late for school.” I started a frantic search. Nothing. My panic started segueing into ideas of what we could do together if we couldn’t find them. Then we found them, well, Jake did. He accidentally took them and he wasn’t coming home for at least an hour. I called a friend who graciously came, picked up our son and took him to school. 

Problem solved. Now on to the next one. It was 8:15 and I found myself looking at our middle son who was smiling up at me, waiting for me to tell him what we were going to do. The only thing is that I had nothing for him to do (all of their toys and games were packed) and breakfast was still locked in the car. So I went into mommy mode of how I could make this an adventure. 

And so my day started…

In the midst of errands, packing, ministry, moving, meetings and office work, I’m “mostly” a stay at home mom. And with that comes a lot of refereeing, playing judge and teaching. Currently, we are teaching our youngest son not to hit and bite, our middle son to have patience with our youngest and our oldest son that he has to pay attention when we are talking to him. Sometimes I think I’m going to go crazy. I’m not sure how many times I’ve prayed, “Jesus, help me” in the past few days. 

I’ve had a kaleidoscope of emotions from anger to love to frustrations to “I’ve gotta have a moment of silence.” Just one, please! 

And then came that still, sweet voice of Jesus that always teaches me things in the chaos. 

Yesterday I was talking to the boys and wondering if they were even following me or if their stares indicated they were in another world all together. I wanted them to get along. To be kind to each other. To help each other out. 

In that moment, God reminded me that He wants that too. He wants them to know Him personally and while they, ultimately, have to choose for themselves, God has given these children to us to reflect His character to them. 

My patience, my gentleness and my kindness is what they are learning. This season is their classroom and no matter what I say, my actions are teaching them something. It’s a sober thought, but it leads me to pray, “Lord, mold my character to reflect Yours!” 

In the heat of the moment when everyone is calling my name at once, asking questions, telling stories, pulling on my shirt, I don’t usually feel patient and gentle.

Philippians 4:5 says, “Let your gentleness be evident to all…” It’s not too difficult to let my gentleness be evident in public, but “to all” includes my family. This is the class I’m currently taking. 

Now that you know what I’ve been ruminating on, back to my adventure. While, internally, I wrestled with my emotions for the next 12 hours, the day actually ended with sweet memories made. My middle son and I took a walk that ended with breakfast at a bagel shop, the afternoon was filled with more packing and responsibilities and that evening the boys and I had reading time while we ate chocolate drizzled popcorn. 

At the end of the day, these are the moments we will remember.

Stress is so normal in motherhood but we can’t get stuck in the attitudes it naturally produces. May we allow God to stretch us beyond our own abilities into the best moms we can be. And in the process, let’s enjoy every moment we have with our kids, come good or bad. 

Parenting

Parenting with Jesus

Parenting is one of my favorite (and one of the hardest) jobs I’ve ever had. It’s amazing to think that God would entrust us with the responsibility of raising and training little humans. This is not something to be taken lightly. This takes sacrificial love, tough love (aka discipline) and flat out hard work.

Several years back when we had two little ones I reached out to a friend, who had eight kids, and asked her for any parenting tips she would be willing to share.  She offered a variety of great advice but the thing I will never forget was this quote, “I offer God my best and ask Him to fill in the gaps.”

This is so beautiful. When we allow the Holy Spirit to be our teacher, He parents along side of us. Sometimes He changes our character to make us better parents. At other times, He protects our children in moments when we didn’t even know they needed protection. He shows us what each child needs in their own unique, God-given personalities. 

Everyone says that these years pass quickly, and I believe it. If you are a parent with kids still in the house, I challenge you to make the most of this precious time you have with your children. If your kids are already grown, never underestimate the result that prayer and love produces. 

There are many people way ahead of us on this journey (we are only 6 years in) but I pray that something God has shown us can be an encouragement to you. Whatever stage you are at in this process, it is not too late to allow the Holy Spirit to direct you in this responsibility.

The influence that we have within the home is extremely powerful. Our words are being processed. Our lives are being watched. Things we do consciously and unconsciously are being observed and repeated. 

I know at some point our kids are going to face the temptations of this sinful world, but I never want that door to be opened inside of our home. I want our home to be a safe place to talk and discuss, learn and grow. 

For those of you who are like me and enjoy reflection, here are four questions to ask yourself today:

  1. What have I done today to encourage my children in their gifts and talents
  2. What have we talked about today that would direct their thoughts to Jesus
  3. How have I responded to them (under pressure and in calm moments)
  4. Have I prayed for (and with) my children today

It’s never too late to start. It is my prayer that as we walk close to Jesus and introduce our children to Him, they will have a passion to know Him for themselves and they will be world changers. 

Go love your kids today. 

*Side Note

Shout out to my parents. I’m forever grateful for their example. They pointed us to Jesus and showed us by their lives what servanthood and unselfishness looks like.