I have always loved kids. I always wanted to be a Mom. I always wanted to be a teacher. So when we decided to homeschool our children, it really did seem like a natural fit for me. However, after 4+ years of homeschooling, I think it’s safe to say, “I was a much better Mom…before I had kids.” A friend of mine said this on her status on Facebook the other day and it really got me thinking.
I loved the show Little House on the Prairie and wanted to be just like Caroline. She was always so calm, put together and the best mother to her kids. She was just amazing to me. She cooked meals from scratch in that tiny kitchen and never complained. Her kids obeyed her most of the time without too much complaining. And I just knew someday, my life was going to be just as wonderful. The world of wonderful motherhood possibilities awaited me.
Let’s be real, before I became a Mom, I knew everything there was to know about raising kids. They need love, structure and discipline. If I gave them all those things, life would be blissful – just like Caroline’s.
I could not have been more wrong. Now don’t misunderstand me…I am blessed to have four amazing kiddos, but they are just that – kids. They have struggles and issues that need worked on just like anyone else. So in the nature of full-disclosure and so you don’t go thinking I have it all together – here is our real life.
- My 9-year old has mastered the fine art of back-talking
- My 5-year old has frequent meltdowns
- My 4-year old has a sassy attitude about almost everything
- My 3-year old colors on the walls…frequently
- My girls don’t like to wear those super cute hair bows that I dreamed of them wearing all the time
- My boys hate vegetables. Like seriously despise them
- My Littles refuse to stay in their own beds at night
- None of my kids walk through the house, despite daily (and sometimes hourly) reminders that we don’t run indoors
- All of my kids have tablets and spend WAY too much time on them (we’re currently working on this one)
- My 9-year old could eat his weight in carbs every day
- My 5-year old only likes pizza, chicken nuggets and french fries
- My 4-year old doesn’t like meat and frequently trades her nuggets for french fries
- My 3-year old would eat all day long…if I let her
- Their rooms are rarely clean, unless I clean them
- They do not think the “clean up game” is fun and like a “Spoonful of Sugar”
- They do not willingly or cheerfully do chores
- The laundry spends more time on the couch than in the closets
- Despite several attempts – cooking is not my favorite. I don’t know if I thought this would magically change once I got married and had kids, but it didn’t.
- I am not a morning person, so of course the Lord gave me early risers
- Discipline is tougher than it sounds. It takes hard work, consistency and perseverance. All of which I struggle with.
- Building and teaching Biblical character is even harder!!
So there ya have it. Our life is a mess. My kids are kids and we are working on things little by little. But, they are still kids. I am sure many people judge me as we go out in public, because I was once that judgmental person. I had all the answers for parenthood. I knew how to be a better mom than they did and “if they only…” crossed my mind many times.
I am so thankful the Lord has helped me see the error of my ways through the blessing of mothering my own children. It makes me stop and pray for those dear moms going through the tough time at the store or through the humiliating, gut-wrenching meltdown in the restaurant over green jello instead of red jello.
SO next time you see a sweet Mom struggling with her kids…
*Pray for her – right then and there, just say a pray for her
*Encourage her – Say a few encouraging words to her that let her know you care and you’ve been there
*Smile at her and her kids – Don’t make her feel like more of an outcast by staring…she gets enough of those
Just these small simple actions will do more for a mom of littles (or bigs) when she’s down and weary.
This post is part of the Marriage & Motherhood Mondays series. To see others in this series, simply click the image below.