I absolutely love being a mom. But I have to be honest...I sometimes have trouble finding the joy in being a mom. I hope you're ok with me saying that out loud. And I am going to venture to guess a few of you may be nodding your heads in agreement.
I don't know about you, but I can get so bogged down in the whining and the nagging and the messes and the crying and the interruptions (sooo many interruptions) and the "why won't anyone listen to me?!?!"s. I feel like I'm constantly counting down the clock each day and wondering how much longer til bedtime, and I feel like I'm going to lose it if I hear "mommy!" one more time. It's draining.
I don't like feeling that way.
There are so many things I need to (and want to) get done in a day. I'm constantly in multi-tasking mode trying to balance all the things. I can fold laundry while they nap, I can paint while they are outside, I can watch my TV show while they watch theirs, I can read a book or write while they are playing in their room, etc. etc.
But at the end of the day I've been multi-tasking basically everything to the point where I'm just half-assing all of it, including my time with the boys. More often than not I am counting on them to be independent players or entertaining each other so I can get my to-do list done, whether it's a need-to-do (clean dishes) or want-to-do (watch this week's shows on hulu).
Yes, there are things that have to get done and my kids do not need my undivided attention from the time they wake up til bedtime. I don't want to create little needy monsters. But they do deserve my undivided attention at some points during the day. They deserve time with me without me also trying to accomplish something else. They deserve time with me without my cell phone in hand. And you know what? I need time with them, too.
So much of my frustration and my stress and my "overwhelmed" feeling in parenting is due to my own attitude, not my kids' (ouch). Am I really going to let an infant, a 3 year old and 5 year old's behavior dictate my day?! That's ridiculous. So what if Porter is on meltdown number 32 of the day? He's three years old. I can address that situation and then just keep on moving on. I don't need to turn it into my own meltdown (guilty). Yes it's frustrating, and frankly annoying, but that's just where we are at right now.
So? So I'm working on it. I'm praying. I'm being intentional with my time. I'm taking some things off of my plate that I don't have room for. I'm asking God to help me stop acting so self-centered (again, ouch). I'm owning up to my fonky attitude. I'm realizing I may need to sacrifice some things to make life flow a little bit more smoothly, as much as it can with small kids.
There is truly so much joy found in the little things, like reading a book, playing superheroes, tickling, pushing them on the swing, or playing a game. That's what I have been missing out on when I am too caught up in my own desires and expectations.
One practical thing I can do is be quicker to recognize when I'm having a bad attitude and to stop it in its tracks. To invite God into whatever emotion I'm struggling with and trust Him to live and work through me. To look for the opportunity to trust Him instead of my own "abilities". Cause I'm pretty sure Jesus wouldn't yell at a 5 year old to stop whining. I'm pretty sure He has a lot of grace with us. And so that means I can have a lot of grace, too, because I have Christ in me (hallelujah). I can discipline in love and not in frustration. I can love my kids and those around me well because I am loved well.
Honestly I am a constant work in progress as I'm trusting God with this parenting and life thing.
I hope my out-loud-processing and over-sharing can be an encouragement to you that you aren't alone in whatever you're walking through, even if our circumstances are totally different. So what's God been teaching you lately, and what is an area in your life you could invite Him into? I'd love to hear from you in the comments.