Parenting can completely exhaust me.
I won't lie.
I try diligently to always be authentic; and this is authentic.
My children, sometimes, suck the life out of me!
Yes, Yes, Yes.... I will be one of the first to say and agree that your time with them is fleeting and you must cherish every moment. I totally get it and I have spent countless hours, days even, feeling guilty for failing to do that very thing.
Our children are truly gifts from the Lord and though exhaustion may taint this truth at times, in my heart, I never forget it.
As I have had a recent spell of "Mommy Malaria" I have prayed each and every day for God to; A) take it from me and B) show me where the exhaustion stems from.
He has faithfully spoken.
My exhaustion does not come from the day to day parenting and mothering I am called to do. I delight in raising my children and I feel humbled and honored that God has entrusted me with these precious lives.
My exhaustion comes from..... ME.
Yes, me. My unrealistic, worldly comparison expectation of being a "good" mom.
When I forget the basic principles God has taught me through His word on what HE expects from me as a mother, I begin to unravel in a fury of exhaustion
I CANNOT possibly keep up with the expectations I put on myself as a mother to these four children.
Here is my shortened list:
So... there is my ridiculously impossible to achieve, exhausting list!
Oh, believe me, I know how ridiculous those expectations are and now that they are written down for me to see, they look even more absurd!
But, truly, these are the thoughts I go to bed with and wrestle with every day.
I will tell you from my personal experience, the more children you have, the more your parenting journey evolves. Different seasons call for different strategies and activities. I was able to do far more things with my children when there were just 2 or even 3, than I can with four. I am also much older now than I was when I first started having children and my home and prep time needs much m ore attention than it did with 1 or 2 kiddos.
I spend half my life making food and washing clothes. And I am ok with that, truly, but the struggle and exhaustion comes in when I allow myself to feel guilty for doing those very things, rather than spending intentional time with my children.
When you scroll through your FB newsfeed or surf the net, there are countless I mean COUNTLESS articles talking about the time you are wasting with your children. To put down the broom and go to the park. That you are going to live with regret your entire life if you do the laundry rather then do a craft.
And while YES, it is absolutely important for us to spend quality time with our children, that was never the focus God gave us in His word.
As a parent....
My Purpose.... Is to Teach Them Their Purpose.
There you have it.
I have to root myself back to God's calling for me as a mother. And while He wants me to be patient, loving and attentive to my children; nowhere in scripture does he tell me to entertain, be perfect, sacrifice to exhaustion, never be real, place my children above all household duties or give them a top notch flawless education!
Those are MY expectations, not God's.
Here is the thing. God has a purpose for my life and He has a purpose for my children's lives. He knew their purpose before He created them. My children may have no clue, what on earth their purpose is and why God placed them here. And though, I may not be totally aware of God's purpose for each of my children, I am assured of this.... it was to use the gifts and talents He gave them... to serve Him.
That's it. That is their purpose. And my job as their parent is to help them recognize what those gifts and talents are and help to build them and nurture them so one day, they can and will use them to serve the Lord.
My job is to train them...to live a life... glorifying to God.... not to live a life full of self focus and self indulging.
By me, completely exhausting myself to serve my children, I am teaching them they are the focus of my life.... not God.
By retreating to my room at night, for some much needed quiet time with God and to rejuvenate my soul for the next day of service, is not neglecting their needs, it is teaching them their needs are not number one. That other's have needs as well and they need to be sensitive to other's needs.
What happens with me, is I give to the point of exhaustion, let guilt consume me and inevitably become the "ugly mom." The cranky, exhausted, discontent, barky mom, even I hate!
By replacing my ridiculous expectations with God's purpose and desire for me as a parent, I become the intentional, loving mom God created me to be. A mom that uses every day activities to interact with my children. I can have a meaningful conversation with them on the car ride to school or while folding laundry and that is just as meaningful as a planned date.
Removing the Pressure.... Reveals my Purpose. And my purpose.... is to teach my children.... their purpose.
I pray today... for all the parents that struggle with self defeating guilt. You have to shut out the world is you are going to raise your children God's way.
Our world is self focused and very much self indulged. I think we can see the consequences of that in our current generations.
Our children are not here to be served.... but to be trained to serve others.
And THAT... is what will make them successful.
Peace and Blessings