1. The more I accept my reality the more I can love the reality I am in.
The biggest thing parenting teaches me is dont sweat the small stuff. I have learned life right now is just going to be crazy. Most mornings I am going to be woken up anywhere between 5:30-6:30 am and sometimes earlier. I do not have the time I used to have, and I have to make the time to do what used to come naturally. Our house is going to be chaotic, and I am going to be in a constant state of picking up because I have two mighty warrior boys who love to throw, run, jump and make a mess. This is just my life. It is where we are, so the more I accept my reality, the more I can really love the reality I am in. My reality is I will never have my boys little again, so I can either complain about the season or choose to love and embrace it in spite of the craziness.
If you have small kids who are running laps around you and you seem to be in constant stress or turmoil, let me share one thing that has helped me- take a moment, look at your kids and thank God for them. Look around at the mess and say, this is just my life right now. It is not forever, but it is where I am at this time and I will choose to love, choose to teach, choose to discipline and choose to love the season I’m in.
2. The work you do now will prevent work you might have to do in the future. (By: Ashley Hawk)
Our first born is an amazing kid! Our prayer for him has been that the Lord will make him a mighty warrior for Him (Judges 6:12). I dont know if we fully knew what we were getting ourselves into when we prayed this prayer because the Lord has answered this in abundance. For as fun-loving as Landry is, he is also very determined, independent, and stubborn, wanting to do his own thing 90% of the time. We have to keep reminding ourselves these are the traits that will make him a phenomenal leader in the future, but for now, it’s just downright hard! All day long is spent saying “no”, reminding him to listen, disciplining him for not listening, and reteaching him the meaning of “obey”. Chances are were not the only ones who is experiencing this with their 3 year old. What has helped us is setting clear consequences out for him. He knows when he does not listen, he goes to his room for timeout, and he knows when he is defiant that Daddy gets the orange spoon. It’s hard! I never fully understood what my mom meant when she said, “this is harder for me than it is for you.” But it’s so true. You have to be consistent and discipline even when you’re tired and just want to let things slip by, but then your child listens just one time and it feels worth it. It is worth it because you are raising young men and women, and the work you do now will prevent work you might have to do in the future. Disciplining your children is some of the most heartbreaking moments of parenthood, but it is also a sweet and tender time as you get to model the grace, mercy, and forgiveness that Jesus give to us. And aren’t children wonderful? They love us in spite of our imperfect disciplining. There are times when I think I have just secured Landry’s need for future therapy and he comes and wraps his arms around me and tells me he loves me. Set clear consequences. Stand firm. But above all, love.
3. Dont miss the season in front of you because you want to get the season youre in behind you.
You are busy. You are tired. You are stressed. It seems it will never stop and yet there is so much JOY in this season! The little laughs, the little smiles, the first steps, all of these things are so amazing. Dont miss the joy in this season! I am determined to push through. I am determined to enjoy, smile and laugh with my kids even among the mess of my life and the busyness of planting a church, raising two young kids, and loving my neighbors. I am determined to look back at this time with joy in my heart knowing my boys are growing up too fast in front of my eyes. I will never hear that little laugh again or see those first steps. One day I will move on from telling my boys NO don’t touch that to teaching them the even bigger NOs of life. The self-suffienct, more sleep years will be on their way soon enough. Get the rest you can, be even more intentional with your calendar, save some money for a little more childcare, but lets not rush this season away. Lets not miss this. Dont miss the season in front of you because you want to get the season youre in behind you.