Welcome to one of the phrases most commonly heard in my home.
It starts out with one of my children asking for a drink, a hug, a mediator, assurance, a potty-partner, etc. "Mommy, _______?"
Me: "Just a minute."
With three little ones, each just two years apart in age, I'm constantly dealing with the most-demanding/pressing child first.
Other phrases uttered/yelled/blurted:
"Let's go. Today."
"Hands are not for hitting." (Feet are not for kicking, teeth are not for biting, etc.)
"That's unaccectable." or "That's not appropriate."
"That's one. That's two. That's...three. Corner."
"If you cannot listen and obey me, you are not going to _____, because I know you won't listen and obey your teacher there either." (Fill in blank: hip hop class, gymnastics, Sunday School, preschool, a friend's house.)
I used to read a great blog (that is no longer being written, because the mama is homeschooling and parenting three very young kids---and is a bit, well, busy), where the mama suggested creating a family purpose and parenting goals, because choosing not to do so means you are pretty much just winging it every day without knowing what you are creating, heading towards, or establishing in your children's hearts.
But, as with all-things-parenting, it's easier said than done.
Some days I feel like a complete failure as a parent. Why? It comes in many forms. Maybe it's because someone posted a picture of their kid on Facebook doing something my kid, the same age, cannot yet do. Or maybe it's the fact that I haven't read my children a book in three days (something I highly value doing). Or maybe it's that I'm giving my kids scrambled eggs and an apple for dinner AGAIN. Or maybe it's that I feel like I just cannot catch up, and I can never, never get ahead. Or maybe it's the fact that I just cannot sit down and speak to my husband for five minutes without someone demanding a drink. Or it could be that I let my child watch more than the one hour of recommended time of television that day.
But I'm trying to fill my mind and heart with good stuff. Peaceful stuff. Affirming stuff. Because there are a lot of things out there that are trying to tell me to do more (not better, just more), to move away from my motherly instincts and instead invest my mental energy in comparisons, and to be really good at everything (to have it all)---which, we all know is a total myth. Impossible. No one has it all and has all that together.
Something has got to give.
Every day. Every minute.
I was talking to a mom the other day about the fact that we always feel stuck, always a bit chaotic, always a little bit guilty. But the truth is, our kids are probably doing really well. They are blossoming in their own ways in their own seasons. They have great parents. They are talented and beautiful and creative and smart.
They are ok.
I recently wrapped up a study of Sally Clarkson's book Desperate. And in one of our study sessions, we were talking about how hard it is to be a "good Christian lady" (whatever that is) when we are so buried in the demands of motherhood. I said that I'm not the woman who lights a candle while sitting in her cozy chair and sipping hot tea at 5 a.m. (before everyone is up) and pouring over my Bible and humming old-school hymns. I'm not the Christian many of the books say I'm supposed to be. And one of the mamas said, "You know. Don't you think God cuts us some slack? Don't you think that we might be doing the right thing right where we are?" And I thought, whoa. She's right! I mean, if we are always worried about LOOKING and APPEARING right, but aren't ever really just being us and staying focused on the few things that matter the most, does it really matter what our Jesus-time looks like? My real Jesus time is a mental prayer when my children are driving me up the wall or someone cuts me off in traffic or someone says something nasty about me or asks an annoying and intrusive adoption question...and it goes like this, "Jesus, help me right now, in this moment, to do the right thing."
My motherhood is my ministry right now. Even when I do tell God, like I tell my kids, and my husband, and everyone else who wants just a second of my time, "Wait a minute." Those minutes are sometimes just minutes. But sometimes they are days. Sometimes they are hours. But I'm working on that. Embracing the moment. Listening to God's whispers throughout the day as I cuddle, discipline, encourage, guide.
As the holidays approach, routines will be upset, food will tempt me to fake-forget my diabetes, my kids will be spoiled with gifts and will likely say many wrong things and the wrong times to relatives, and my home will be turned upside-down and inside-out with planning and preparation and partying.
I'm going to say, "Wait a minute" more times than I want to admit.
But I'm going to work hard to give those precious minutes to who matters most. And I'm going to try my best, with the help of God, who is always with me even when I tell Him to "wait." Thankfully, He doesn't listen. He gives me what I need, when I need it, no matter what.
During the craziness of the upcoming holidays, it's easy to slip into ineffective discipline practices with your children. Check out this post on creative ways to correct your littles.