How often do the days sort of blend into one another? It seems like a continuing day sometimes at my house. There is no break from the grind. No, I am not talking about the work grind, that is different story in itself. I am talking about the constant grind of parenting.
Yep, parenting. Now, don’t go getting all in a huff because I said parenting, let me explain. I love my kids more than anything else, so that isn’t the approach I was taking. I meant that as a parent there is never a slow moment that you can relax. Doesn’t that make sense? Okay let me break it down a bit further for you….
1.) You can never take your eyes off of your kids, not even for a moment, especially little ones.
“You jest, surely!” you mutter. (I heard you). Never ever, not for a moment.
For many reasons: candy at the checkout line, loose grapes in the produce section, crayons and carpets, screws and light sockets, dirty diapers and nimble fingers, hand soap and little eyes, magic feet and stair banisters, cars and the parking lot, crazy strangers in Wal-Mart, blankets and a flight of stairs….oh, the stories I could tell! lol
I firmly believe that is why most young women are the mamas, they simply function better on less sleep and the constant go, go, go of little people.
2.) You can never give in…well, sometimes, maybe, but just Maybe!
“Give in? Me? Never!” you exclaim, (again, I heard you).
Kids must learn that as Mom (or Dad) that we are the rule makers, not them. Therefore, no one is allowed to not follow the rules, including Mom and Dad. Rules are for the benefit of all involved, that’s why they are there in the first place, right? Well, of course, but as everyone knows, rules are also meant to be broken, but only if Mom and Dad say so. At my house rules are very important and I enforce them when warranted.
* No hitting is a big one. Siblings are to keep their hands to themselves on most occasions. Parents are not allowed to hit, ever (discipline does not qualify under this rule).
* Being kind is always the best way to go, regardless of What your Sibling Said or Did! This is a tough one, as we all know that the sinful nature of humans is to be selfish and greedy. This is a hard one to help the little ones learn, gosh, some adults haven’t even gotten it yet!
* Cleanliness is next to godliness….this one seems almost harsh, but the rules must be enforced!
Wash you hands before you eat, wash behind your ears, brush your teeth, don’t stick your fingers there!, put your toys away, stack the books on the shelf, put on clean underware. The list goes on and on and on…
These rules are imperative in learning to survive on your own, each child needs these rules, and I mean every rule. Weeelllll, okay, most every rule. Except on the occasion when Mom and Dad let a rule slide, because as parents, it is a right and a duty to break the rules. Why? you ask, because it shows the children that life is also a little bendy. Bendy, I’m not sure that is even a word, but I use it in the place of flexible. Each child needs to learn to be more flexible.
In my house, daddy works some odd hours, therefore, when he is home, we go and do when we can. Be it on a Monday one week or a Thursday the next week. Schedules are great and I do my utmost to abide by them, but again, being flexible or bendy is important. This also goes along with cleaning up the toys, sometimes the clean up ranks lower on my list than the play time we were having before bed. The time to clean up will always be there, but not the play time with my kids. Or the reading time, or the quiet snuggle time, on these occasions, the rules get broken, because I Know How to be Bendy.
3.) Discipline stinks! No matter if you are the disciplinary or the one receiving the discipline.
The hardest thing about being a mom for me is the discipline that comes along with being a parent. As I have watched my kiddos grow over the years their discipline has aged with them……sounds screwy doesn’t it? Well, it took me a while to realize that every situation did not garner the same punishment. For example, hitting a sibling IS NOT the same as sneaking a piece of candy. So, I have come to not simply react to the issue itself, I need to step back and evaluate the how, what and who in each instance. Yea…..I so do not always handle myself with grace….Thank goodness God still loves me!
4) That God designed each one of these little people for a purpose; who am I to know better?!
I am still on my knees a lot with how to raise these precious children. As the Bible says in Psalm 127:3, “Children are a heritage from the Lord.” Blessing, heritage or not, I struggle with what they should know and how to raise them. I then remember that the Lord has already set out His plan for their lives. As a mama, it is my job to pray for them, and lift them up to the Lord, each and every day…..my desires and dreams for them are nothing to what the Lord has planned for their lives. Jeremiah 29:11 says it well, “For I know the plans for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
As a mama I yearn to hang on as tightly as I can, even if my little ones wants to grow and stretch his or her wings. Why you ask? Simply, I know that one day they will leave and head out into the big bad scary world and I do not have enough time to teach them ALL that they will need to know. May God bless my little loves as I can only do as much as He allows me to do. Prayers, prayers and then some more prayers are uttered, muttered and called out to God…….hang on, because as teens it only grows more of a need to call out to the Lord……or so I hear.
As I grind my way through everyday life I have come to the point where I hang on and “bend” as much as I can in some situations and stand ram rod straight in others. My God has seen fit to place three very fine children in my home and sometimes in the middle of whatever may be, I step back and think…”Holy Moses….what in the world was I thinking?!” Then I feel a gentle tug on my heart when some little one runs over and says, “Mama, mama, mama…..” “Yes?” I reply……waiting for the inevitable tattled tale or complaint……”Love you!” and off they run. Oooooh yea, that’s why I am still hanging on to the grind stone, because each of those moments fills me with such love, I know that it is so totally worth every minute of my time.
Be encouraged today and know that you and me, yep, we are in the same boat. Hang on though, it will be a rough ride but so totally worth it in the end.
Last thing……I remember someone saying to me a long time ago that no matter how much effort you think you putting in and try teaching your children “right and wrong” they will end up doing whatever they want in the end. Let me tell you, that was a really long time ago and for years I wrestled with it….not until recently did I realize that was a moment placed in my life by the Lord. I was so unsure of my abilities as a new mama, that I yearned to hear encouraging words for those I held in respect as parents. I took all of the advice from the parenting magazines, I listened to talk radio, I asked my sisters, etc….I now know, looking back that it was just one more moment for me in my walk with the Lord. As I drew closer to him, the remark made so many years ago has been flipped around in my heart. I once was concerned that no matter what I did, I was going to fail my child. Now I know without a shadow of a doubt that the following verses are true:
Proverbs 22:6 could not be wrong, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Or Deuteronomy 6:7, “And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk to them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”
Psalm 105:4, “Seek the Lord, and his strength; seek his face evermore.”
That those words spoken so long ago do not hold the truth of parenting, as I now see for myself. My children need a firm and solid foundation of Jesus Christ. That even in the midst of a season of sin, that every child raised to believe in the one true God, will come to call on Him in their times of trouble and need. I am living proof that it happens…..I would not be here today if not for a loving mother that instilled the word of God in my heart and a loving, forgiving and mercy filled heavenly Father that loves me without fail.
Again, be encouraged, even in the midst of those that think they know best…..We serve a Great and Powerful God, and He never fails.
Be blessed today,