family pic

family pic

Friday, February 28, 2014

For the Unappreciated Mom

The past couple of weeks I've been challenged to show my kids unconditional love with no strings attached. I'm not gonna lie… it's not easy sometimes.

I think I get a chorus of amens from fellow mommies when I state that our kids just don't appreciate us sometimes! MULTIPLE times I've found myself walking into church with a child and a purse in one arm, my Bible & the boys' jackets in the other arm… then a child asks me if I can hold his iPod for him because he doesn't want to have to put it in his pocket. To which I respond:

"Seriously. Look at me."

Or those nights that I decide to do the whole good mom/housewife thing, making a home cooked healthy meal, and get asked "How many bites do I have to eat?"

There are nights when I try to do homework with 4 of them ALL needing my help at once. I'll be checking over child A's spelling, while child yells out "If sally has 5 pencils in 3 cups then gives two of those cups away then receives 4 times as many cups than she had to start with, and gives away 3 pencils from each cup… How many pencils does Sally now have? (while a child is yelling "How do you spell The Revolutionary War took place in America a very long time ago?").  Child D is hovered over my shoulder asking me repetitively "Can I be done now?". The night ends with at least one of them saying "Thanks mom so much for helping me with my homework. I know you don't have to do it, but understand that you do this because you love me so much and want the best for me." (I know my fellow mommies can catch the sarcasm in that statement… as I have yet to hear of a child thanking his mother for making him do his homework!!) No, my friends, after homework I usually end up with at least one child upset at me for making him do his work.

In these moments I'm tempted to get mad… okay maybe I do get mad from time to time… but I've been thinking about why do I do these things for the boys. Do I make them healthy dinners & spend hours helping with homework so they will love me even more? So they will compliment me and appreciate me? Or do I do these things simply because I love them and know it's what's best for them.

This is the weight of unconditional love. It means loving them and showing tough love even when there's nothing in it for me. It means loving them and sacrificing for them… even if they resent me for it.

I know. It seems a bit unfair at times, but what did Christ have to gain from ministering to people on this earth. He sacrificed all He had for what? Appreciation, Approval, Gratitiude? Those he showed sacrificial love to, forsook all to minister to, turned on him.

He came to earth to die simply because He loved us.

What a challenge for me to show my kids sacrificial tough love simply because I love them.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Thou Shall Not Use Pull-ups

I think I'm not alone in wishing that God included a book in the Bible called "Parenting 101".

Almost 9 years ago I became pregnant with my first son. I was young and had no clue what life would be like as a mommy. After hours of labor they placed him in my arms and I remember thinking "what am I supposed to do now…". I couldn't wait to get home and once I got home I wanted to go back to the hospital where I had "professionals" giving me instructions!

My firstborn son
 Since then I have become better at the whole keeping them alive part. I learned how to nurse my babies, treat their runny noses, change diapers, and even developed mad skills at tossing diapers into the trashcan from across the room. But I still catch myself thinking from time to time that I have no clue what I'm supposed to do as a mother.

For example, my oldest son was completely potty trained after a week of running around naked in the house without ever using a pull-up. I had it all figured out. Parent's who couldn't potty train their children were obviously using pull-ups and just needed to leave them naked… like I had done. So then my second son came along. It was time to potty train so I used my tried and true method. He peed on the floor for 2 days… and I threw the towel in after he peed… in his TOYBOX… while LAUGHING!!! At that moment I realized I had no CLUE what I was doing.

Potty training my 2nd born son.
(Convinced him that Batman uses the potty ;)
Potty Training my 3rd born son
(Naked, in front of the tv, with his favorite toys)
Now those thoughts are multiplied times 2 as I have added 2 wonderful stepsons to my clan of boys. We now have 5 different personalities, with different needs, and different tendencies. The Lord has blessed me with a husband to process those thoughts out with and is willing to lead our family, but we both have times when we just don't know what to do. 

During those moments I find myself wishing that God would have included detailed step by step instructions in the Bible on all different kinds of parenting scenarios! (Could you imagine turning to Parenting 101, chapter 5, verse1.. "Thou shall not use pull-ups. If thy child pees in his toy box, thou shall put superhero clothes on thy child and convince him that batman pees in the potty.")

But I've been realizing that if God had included step by step instructions in the Bible, I wouldn't be so dependent on HIS direction. Instructions would enable me to successfully parent on MY own. He wants me to talk to Him and seek His direction. He wants me to pour myself into His Word and learn more about who He is. As I learn more about who He is I'm drawn to love Him deeply. As I love Him deeply, I become more like Him. The more I'm like Him, the better example of Christ I can be to my kids.

So I guess I want to encourage my fellow mommies that it's okay… no I think it's actually GREAT, to feel insufficient as a mother. The key is how we react to those feelings. Do you allow those feelings to draw you to dependency in Christ, or do they leave you with guilt and cause you avoid problems with your children? The most important thing your children need from you is to see a real life example of what a relationship with Christ looks like.