I’ve been doing this thing lately where I dread excursions, no matter how excited I am about them, because I’m nervous about how my kids will act. I have to say, my kids happen to be my favorite 3 and 1.5 year olds on the planet. This goes without saying, of course. But I still felt I should. They are genuinely very well behaved with hearts of absolute gold. That being said, I don’t know if I’m the only one but I figured out recently that my kids try out different things they normally wouldn’t when we’re in a new environment. I have to say, it started to eat away at me.
It doesn’t affect me whatsoever when my friend’s kids have an all out tantrum, throw their food or have a hard time sharing. They’re kids! Of course that happens! But when my kids do the same, I completely lose focus and all hopes of me feeling present and enjoying the moment are lost.
If they ignore me (it’s happened.) if they talk back to me with attitude (happened for the first time last week.) if they kick someone (it’s happened.) if they lean over their friend, shoving them into the ground (…take a guess.) Rather than thinking of their needs and an opportunity for teaching and growth, I am scared of what their behavior says about me.
This is a normal feeling. It’s natural. But it’s not right.
I had to remind myself the other day the truth. My kids were not created to be robots-doing everything I say. My kids weren’t created in my image, to bring me glory. My kids were not created to reign in our home, following whatever whim and want they come across. My job as a mother isn’t to strive for perfection, pride or indifference. It’s to reveal to my children their need for a savior and introduce them to the love of Christ.
This also brought up another thought in me-if I’m not alone in these feelings and struggles, why do so few mothers talk about it? On social media we’re so eager to stay “surface close.” We’re sure to give our support in the form of likes and comments. We reach out to ask things like “where did you get that outfit!?” or “how do they like that snack/toy/book?” but when it comes to really supporting each other in stewarding the hearts of these children entrusted to us, it can be pretty quiet.
The more I’ve opened up to dear friends of mine with littles of their own about the difficulties of the current phases my kids are in, I’m so comforted to know they’re often in the same place. The isolation I experience can be so brutal I often forget I created it myself. So here I am, extending the same freedom to you.
I’d love to hear how I can pray for you in whatever season of motherhood you find yourself in right now. Whether it’s finding grace to survive endless sleepless nights with a nursing baby, guilt and stress while navigating the unpredictability of your toddler, a strained relationship with a teenager or even with your grown children.
I’m working on re-centering my focus, removing it from me and even from my little loves and placing it back on the Lord. The weight of the world was never meant for my shoulders, it rests light as a feather on His.