Chase turned two in December and it was like he automatically became “that” two year old. In fact, I’m pretty sure that if you turn to the dictionary definition of “the twos” then there will be a picture of my little monkey staring right at you!
**** Today I found him in my room pouring dish detergent all over the floor. I guess it needed a really good clean.
**** Yesterday he thought it would be an awesome idea to tip all of my shower gel into his bath. He was super dirty!
Chase has always been my mild-mannered child. The one who took two naps a day until he was 18 months, cries whenever I leave him with someone other than…erm….me, and in general is about as laid back as they come. Isaac was into everything from about 6 months onward and I can’t say I really noticed a real change in him around 2. I was used to him climbing a chair to get into something and anything liquid was either locked away on too high up. But Chase? He’s had me puzzled, annoyed, frustrated and in tears.
Tim and I lived in Thailand for 3 years away from both sets of parents, both cultures I already knew and instead was in a very different culture eating strange and wonderful things and without a clue of the language but ya know what? Thailand had nothing on having kids.
It both shocked me and propelled me closer to God.
Here are three things I hope help you the way it comforts me in the midst of trials and hardships with my amazing kiddos:
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Hey, I’m not a perfect Mum and I’ll admit, sometimes it’s really hard to choose joy when there’s dish soap on your floor, someone is asking for a-nother snack and you turn around and find toothpaste on your sink and it’s only 8am.
I mean how in the world do you choose joy instead of ranting and raving and disappearing to a corner with a bar of chocolate?
There’s a key word in there: choose. My kids can’t choose it for me and however much I love him, Tim isn’t going to bring home joy in a gift wrapped box. Instead each morning when I rise I ask God to give me joy.
The kind that can’t be found in chores and errands or at the bottom of a Dove chocolate bar. Real, unfathomable joy from a God who understands what it’s like to have kids because we’re His children and we get to call him Daddy.
Think your kids messed up? Just look at the kind of crazy things you did yesterday and remember: God shows us grace so it’s up to us to show it to them.
Yeah, I’m not gonna lie: this one is a toughy. I’m usually running around making meals, running errands and getting “stuff done” that when someone stops to pull on a shoe or take off a coat I find myself annoyed but recently I’ve been trying to do some really practical things to slow down:
a) Let Chase walk.
I know it sounds silly but sometimes it feels like he moves at snail speed. I mean he’s a lallygagger and it drives me c-razy! But, I’ve started to allot myself enough time in stores for him to be out of the cart (which he loves) and toddling along next to me. I slow down, he feels happy and it’s a win-win.
b) Warn Isaac.
Isaac (5) is more like me and is constantly on the go. Asking him to hurry up is not a big deal except he’s uber independent. So instead of just rushing I prep him ahead of time and use prompts.
“Buddy, we don’t have long to run this errand so I need you to listen when I talk and obey right away so we can get in and out quick and then back to playing,” has really worked. It prepares him ahead of time and lets him know what’s expected.
3) Faithful in Prayer.
Each morning Tim leaves the house at 6am and wakes me up. The kids don’t get up until 7am so some have questioned my sanity in this move and for me it’s simple logistics: I need God and coffee before talking to the kids.
My kids are “all on” the moment they wake up and I’m not a morning person. The hour before gives me chance to make coffee, read the Bible or a Devotional and pray. Pray for patience, pray for my husband, pray for my kids.
I have found that this simple step is vital in my walk with God and my ability to be a better Mum.
On the days when I don’t rise early I can find myself crabby and irritated by late morning.
Being a parent isn’t for wussies and God certainly didn’t say it would be easy. In fact in John 16:33 he guarantees hard times for Christ-followers,
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
It’s the “take heart” part I’m clinging to. The part that comes from a God who knows my fault and loves me just the same. If He can do that then I can learn to have patience with my kids.
Take heart today, friend, and know you’re doing a great job!