January 15, 2015

Slowly Mothering

I read this quote yesterday, and I loved it.

"If a little child picks up a sharp object, sometimes a foolish adult will grab for it, frightened for the safety of the child. Instinctively, the child will grip it more tightly and perhaps be injured. The wise parent will trade him for it—some equally appealing, but harmless object, given in exchange, so that he lets go willingly and without tears."

This is from a 1973 talk by President Boyd K. Packer.

He says, "Keep that in mind when you have a problem with young people and their music. To change it may take some time and require inspiration."

President Packer was talking about teaching our kids to edit their music.  But I believe this principle is SO universally true!  We often want a quick fix.  To really change things we need TIME AND INSPIRATION.

Good kids don't just happen.
Everything good takes work.
Sometimes we forget the work because hard fades in our memories. 
The best parents are beautiful exchangers.

My cutest cousin has three young toddler boys.  She posted a cute picture on Instagram of her laying in bed with a very awake little fella asking for some naptime advice. She eventually concluded that she did not have 45 minutes a day to spend trying to get him to take a nap.  She is an amazing mom!

My heart just smiled.
I know!!  I know!!
We've ALL been there.
Nothing is more frustrating than a little boy who will NOT go to sleep.

We don't have 45 minutes a day helping an active boy take a nap.  We don't have hours a day to clean again and again and again.  Piano lessons take money and so much stinkin work.  Sports practices-- can I tell you I have probably spent a complete month of my life looking for a lost soccer cleat.

Oh- video games and 6th grade girl drama.  I'd almost rather put a feisty boy to bed than sit and listen to a 14 year old tell me about his clan wars.  Except, I love 14 year old boys.  I am NOT a drama girl.  Listening to 6th grade is like listening to someone cracking their nuckles or watching them touch their eyeball.  But clan wars and girl drama are tunnels into the souls of my children.  I want to be in their souls so I can love them and teach them.

Can you believe I have insisted on a set table for 16 years? For 16 years I have had to remind my kids to fold the napkins and place them under their fork.  They NEVER do napkins the first time.

Sometimes I wish mothering was fast.  
I wish we could say "Share your toys" once, and have toddlers who always share.  (Spoiler alert-- if you think this is your child, wait a few months or have another baby.)

Why didn't God program all children to just magically fall asleep when we say it's bedtime?

As I'm typing this Eve is trying to put together a puzzle and Ben is "helping" her. Eve would be done so much faster without Ben, but oh the lessons she is learning as she navigates life with a brother. 

My teenagers just started coming into my room at night.  My girls especially, get chatty and emotional 30 minutes after I think they should be in bed.  Grrr.  I LOVE my time alone at night.  My friend says this time with her teens is her best time.  She says almost every good conversation they have happens at night.  She says these night chats are magical.  
Darn it.  

I want children who talk to me, so I must invest by listening to them.
I want children who eat healthy food, so I invest by spending hours and hours and hours of my life flying airplanes of spinach around their tightly pursed lips.

Sometimes  I try grabbing away the knife. I yell.  I insist.  I learn again that being harsh and rigid just doesn't work.  I don't want children who have been broken, who are angry or afraid.  I want children who CHOOSE goodness.

Sometimes I ignore their naughty, harmful behavior.  I often surrender a battle even as I continue the war.

Sometimes I take TIME.  I seek INSPIRATION.  And, I see miracles.  My firm, strong, naughty child melts before my eyes.  They become sweet and compliant.  And then, I find the next problem I need inspiration to overcome.  

I will be an old lady who says "My children were all excellent nappers."  
And they were.  Because some days I spent 45 minutes (that I didn't have) convincing them that they LOVED taking naps.

We all have different parenting styles.
Me, I teach.
I potty train my kids around age two.
It takes a lot of work as they try to figure things out, but it is SO worth it.

My kids all take naps.  I love naps.
Sometimes I choose not to fight the nap war, but I 100% believe in naps.
Teaching my kids to sleep has taken time and effort.  Too much time- but it is SO worth it.

I teach my kids to eat things they do not like.
I help them navigate friendships.
I teach them their letters.
I read scripture with them and teach them my religious beliefs and standards.
I work hard teaching them to work hard!  To do their hair, to wipe their bottoms (this is a really hard thing to teach), to not wipe boogers on the wall.
I'm tired every single night.  
I love the irony that I am a non-working mother.
Oh man!  

Every single parent I ever heard who described parenting as a need to be strict, constant, firm, exact-- they had kids that were unreal.  Absolutely perfectly behaved children, kids who ALL rebelled as they got older.

Every single amazing family I have ever seen, has had absolutely high standards and has taught them gently, with humor and perseverance.  These amazing families ALL have had kids who were WAY hard to handle.  Most of the time outsiders would look and see a saintly mother with a beastly child.  In time, we have all seen that beast tamed and transformed into an absolutely fabulous adult.  

Sometimes you can't see the hard, but it is there.  Good families take a lot of work!!
Clean, organized homes take a lot of work.
Good, strong marriages take a lot of work.

I don't have time for a lot of things in life.
I don't have time to get my nails done.
I don't have time to watch The Bachelor (I still read Reality Steve every now and then for his spoilers).
I don't have time to write a book.
I don't have time for Girl's Nights Out (I prefer spending my free time with my favorite man or my kids).
I don't have time to finish my 1000 hour cross stitch (just a few stitches some nights).
I don't have time to heal everybody, teach everything, do it all.
But, I do have time to love this one.
Even Christ only did one thing at a time.

But, I have time to teach, to trade, to invest...
Mothering is slow and eternal.
Isn't that great?!
Life is good.

This is the winter wonderland outside my front door.  Isn't it lovely?!
Unfortunately the inside of my house isn't quite so lovely.
Time to change into my Cinderella clothes.  Ha!  
I LOVE CLEANING MY HOUSE (with toddlers)!!

1 comment:

Sallie said...

This was so wonderful to read. I have two small children and I get caught in wanting an instant behavior fix all the time. And hoping that if I clean everything good once, I'll never have to do it again. Motherhood can feel like groundhogs day, perhaps so we can try to be better at it again tomorrow.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...