Parenting Through Challenges
Kids are gross little creatures.
But oh, how they are cuddly!
As a mom to four, I have many days that I feel overwhelmed, out-numbered, and, straight up, over my head. There are days where I feel that I have this parenting thing down: I’m organized, well-rested, well-balanced meals are served, and no one cries, not even me. Then there are other days when the house is topsy-turvy; no shoe has a mate, there are no clean socks, meals consist of whatever doesn’t smell in the fridge, and everyone cries, especially me. I try to do my best, as a mom, to keep my darling children, three boys and a girl, happy, well rested, clean, well fed, and disciplined, but life is simply not a well scripted black and white episode of Lassie.
As I type this, my two oldest sons are at school, and I’m highly suspicious that one of them may not have brushed his teeth before we left. My third son is in his bed yelling for me. My only daughter is in her high chair eating cereal (read: throwing it on the floor) and every few minutes yelling “Mama” just to make sure I look at her! On the agenda today is six loads of laundry as I’m playing catch-up from being sick. This is real life.
I was talking with a friend recently who is in a different stage of parenting, with her youngest being the same age as my eldest. She faces different challenges with two grown children and two school-agers, but she still has challenges and she has joys.
If parenting has taught me anything, it’s that it is challenging! Every year and stage has a new set of challenges and, just as we feel comfortable, things change and we are presented a whole new set of challenges. I struggle with anxiety quite a bit, most of it related to parenting: making sure they are healthy, developing appropriately, happy, and well behaved. When my kids aren’t behaving or are sick, the anxiety level spike! Philippians 4:6-7 states, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
There’s a balance in parenting that I have found helps: praying (asking God to HELP! when I’m overwhelmed) while also being thankful (Thank You Jesus for these messy, noisy creatures that call me Mama!), and in doing so, He gives me peace and it guards my heart and my mind! This is truly the way I find peace from day to day, no matter the circumstances. I recognize that I’ve failed to do this when my anxiety is high and I’m a wreck at parenting.
Today, Mamas, while you fold laundry (or throw it into baskets–no judgment!), change another dirty diaper, or review homework, read a bedtime story, pick dirty clothes off the floor, or watch your baby drive to their own job, I challenge you to give it to Jesus. Ask him for help and praise him for your blessings, and he will bring you peace!
Lord, we live blessed lives and often don’t even realize it or take the time thank You for it. Today, Lord, we say thank You and ask that You would continue to keep our minds and vision on what You put before us. Help us to set our priorities and remember that You are the One who has given us life and the strength to continue doing Your will while here on earth. Amen.