Ah, the joys of being a parent. This is me most nights.
I am the mom of two small children. But my two keep me busy, that is for sure. There have been some rough days and nights. A baby awake 5-10 times a night to nurse for months? I will quote the Staples commercial and say....yeah, we got that. Monumentus, severely embarrassing tantrums? You bet your bippy. Being pregnant and in the middle of trying on clothes when my two year old escapes the dressing room and runs away? Yep. Having two children at my feet crying and hanging on me while I am trying to fix dinner? Of course. Seeing my two year old yell "NO!" at my me when I tell her to sit in time out? Oh yessiree. I could go on for days.
Then there are good days. Dance parties in the family room. Screaming with excitement when my son scores a goal. More trips to Longwood Gardens than you can count on both hands and both feet. Family book reading nights in bed. Child prayers. Preschool teacher praising my child's great knowledge of God and faith. Weeks at the beach playing and swimming. This list could go on more than days.
But I do struggle with two children to raise. It is hard. A few months ago, I went into a depression, a funk. I got some counseling from an AMAZING Christian woman at my church. She taught me that life is all about perspective. Easy enough, right? If I dwell on the things on earth that cause me to struggle, it will sink me fast. Worry about my kids' futures, condemning myself as a mother, wife, human being. If I dwell on those bad things, it will cause my heart and mind to go into a deep, dark, hopeless place. For example, there was a time when I watched the show "I Survived' on the Biography channel. Crazy real life show about people telling stories about the crazy stuff that happened to them when they almost died.....think of the most terrible fear you have (home invasions, shootings, abductions, etc.) and these people lived through it and for some reason it was fascinating to me. Because of watching this show, I noticed that I started to become more fearful, worried and tense. Chad had to make me stop watching it. I was filling my mind with these stories of terrible things and my mind became consumed with it and I became fearful. switch the topic to Pinterest. It is cool, but I do not pin anything having to do with crazy cool gigantic houses or crafts I can't do because I will covet, not be content and beat myself up that I am not as crafty as I should be. I see families of more than four and it makes me a little sad because I want one more child, even though I cannot handle the two I've got! But another child isn't in the cards for us. The point is, be careful what you fill your mind with, what you are looking at on television and online. This is when faith needs to step in.
"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward." -Psalm 127:3
I have two AMAZING children. I am bias, of course, but I still feel that way. These children of mine are a reward. I don't have to raise them, I get to raise them. I have a boy and a girl, they are healthy and happy (and adorably cute!). The above verse is hope for me. Tough days, shmough days. My perspective shouldn't be worldly, comparing myself and family to others. My children are awesome and a incomparable gift from God. I am thankful EVERY DAY for them. Constantly in fact. God gave them to me and He doesn't make mistakes so I am meant to have them and to raise them.
"And He said unto me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness..." -2 Corinthians 12:9a
If I turn my perspective to Jesus, He will be my strength when I am weak. A few months ago, boy was I weak. But I learned if I keep filling my mind with God's promises to me and praying to Him for strength, He will give it to me and he has. The bible is filled with God's promises to us and it sits there, waiting to be opened...devoured. Instead of filling my mind with things that will make me fearful, I needed to fill it with things that make me hopeful!
After all that craziness, I have one last thing to share: children are a roller coaster. Some people don't have children nor want them. I know a few people in that category. But however you choose to live, children are a wild ride and we need to enjoy it! There are days when I feel like I have to step back and remind myself to enjoy it. But I know I will be one of those old ladies that stops a young mom and tells her to enjoy every minute because those days will be gone forever in a heartbeat, a blink. I am sitting here with tears in my eyes just thinking about it because I don't want my kids to grow up. But they will and they do. Some of the hardest days of my life so far have been because of or with my children and those days have challenged me, taught me a lot about myself and how selfish I am. Before kids, I judged that mom in the store with her tantrum throwing kid. After kids, I feel for her. My heart breaks for her. Because I am her. Hair disheveled, wearing sweats, no make up, bags under my eyes. But I wouldn't have it ANY OTHER WAY.
Here is a clip from a movie called Parenthood. It was made in the 80's and now that I am parent, I now get a lot of the humor and heart. But my favorite scene is this one at the end of the movie. Sums up parenthood pretty nicely....and wait for the end, because it is funny.