Friday, April 23, 2010

Just some thoughts!

Parenting is literally the hardest job I have ever had. It is a constant struggle within…how to teach, how to relax, how to keep them safe. I know just being around me is enough for them, but I am always feeling like I should be doing more. Are they learning anything right now? What else could we be doing? They seem to like this, let’s try this…or this…or maybe we should do something different. I’ve read that book sixteen times, they can’t possibly want to read it again. I am always trying to think of my next 6 steps with the kids. What time did we eat breakfast? Do they want a snack? What time should we do lunch? What should we have for lunch? How do I coordinate their nap with needing to go to the grocery store? Three kids rarely results in a simultaneous naptime (weekends are practically a lost cause with all four home), so making sure the eating and playing and resting and all of the above happen at just the right time is exhausting. Then there is the constant voice in the back of my mind telling me all the errands I could be running. What time can I fit those in? Could I do them when my husband gets home from work? Is that fair to him? When was the last time they had a bath? Gorgeous weather outside, should we play in the yard? Go to the park? Go to the zoo? Do I have sunscreen? Does laundry need to be done? (of course it does) Is the dishwasher ready to be run? (of course it is) Do we have soap? Toilet paper? Paper towels? Shampoo? Conditioner? Diapers? Diapers? Diapers?!?!?!?!? Have the kids had enough to eat? Have they had anything to drink? When was the last time I changed them? Is the bathroom door closed and locked? Kitchen gated off? Every time I use a knife I have to make sure it is put away from the edge of the counter…and the kids get taller…so you make sure the knife is put farther back. Then they figure out how to use chairs or stools or ride-on toys or boxes or ANYTHING to stand on and reach the knives. Attempting to have the kids help with every day chores has been a total bust for me. Laundry. They hate to fold, love to unfold. Love to put on everything that is “mine” (theirs). Putting away dishes – this is how plates get broken. Knives get discovered. Most things get licked. What is that? Put books back on the shelf. Yeah right. Books are apparently made to be scattered on the floor…who knew? Kids know.
I pray constantly. I pray for patience. I pray for guidance. I pray for them to go to sleep. I pray for them to sit down and behave and just give me a spare second to use the bathroom in peace! They want to be with me always. Sitting in my lap. Doing nothing. Unfortunately, I am not made of that kind of material. DOING is what I do best! BEING is tricky. Go, go, go. If we’re not going, we might as well be sleeping! Even when I’m sleeping I’m busy! Waking up, checking all four kids, going to the bathroom, getting something to drink, do I hear someone crying?, checking the thermostat, back to sleep…one hour later up going through the same motions. I wake up in a panic that someone was crying and I may have slept through it. Does the baby need to nurse? I think she may have been fussing? Covers check in the boys’ room. Shirt change because I’m leaking. Bathroom stop again. Kitchen for another drink of water.
I have often thought this would be easier if I could turn off my brain. Or just click it back 20 years. Okay, maybe 25 years.  If I wasn’t constantly thinking of a million different things, maybe I could just enjoy the time with them as they enjoy their time with me. If we’re in the living room, I thinking about cleaning the kitchen. When we’re in the kitchen, I’m thinking about the mound of laundry. When I’m doing laundry, I’m thinking of the mess in the boys’ room…or Zoe’s room…or the closets…or the bathroom. Or the boxes in the attic. It’s like I can never just chill. Just relax and live in the moment. Such a beautiful, romantic concept. I have the grass is greener syndrome. If we only had a bigger house, if I was working full time and only home on weekends, if this, if that…what? Would any of it make a difference? If I can’t enjoy my time with my kids, what makes me think anything is going to change that other than ME? My faith in the Lord is what I am trying to rely fully on. My trust that He has my best interests at heart, constantly. But I cannot turn off my mind.
My prayer. Father, please help me to live in the moment. Please help me to see opportunities when I can get things done and make the most of those times. Please be with me as I try to maintain patience through the tantrums, help me to be outwardly calm and ride the storm when there is nothing I can do to make peace with one of my children. Please guide me through each day with your perfect nature and I pray that you will allow me to make the most of all my time with my family. Whether it be something simple like reading a book seventeen times, or something complex like showing them how to draw. I pray for forgiveness for my harsh words and I pray that they would be removed from my vocabulary. I pray that you will guide me so I may be the best human role model for my children. I pray that you would help me to show them how wonderful You are. Help me to glorify Your name in their presence, so they, too, will come to You in times of need. Amen.

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