Sometimes I fall into a trap. Its a trap that I set up for myself by looking at parenting blogs or peeking into others lives. I see that their grass appears greener and I try my hardest to keep up. Did you see the curtains she made herself?! Look at how organized their school room is! Their kids sound so brilliant and obedient. I scrub the floors a bit harder, try and make extravagant meals by 5:30 every night, and try to micromanage my childrens behaviors, especially in front of others. Sure, my kids are asking me for the 100th time to play a game or snuggle on the couch but kids, I am busy cleaning for you! I will be right there, reallly, I will. In the end I just feel like I can't keep up and have failed.
In the end, no one will notice (or care) how often my floor has been scrubbed. My family will not starve if we don't eat until 6. But the time I invest in training those little lives means everything. That is my job. I may have to sacrifice my free time. Put down the book. This stage doesn't last forever and I need to make the most of every minute I am given as Sophia and Liams Mama. When I am investing the time in eternity, I feel like a parenting failure much, much less of the time. Because, its worth it. Is it easy? No. Is it pretty? Sometimes not. But, it is required.
Here is an excerpt from "Loving the Little Years" that really spoke to me.
" Dry erase boards and chore charts are all well and good, but it does not change the fact that what you have on your hands is children, not an organizational problem. When Scripture says to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, it is not talking about finding the most effective way to organize them. This is a very easy trap to fall in, because the more children you have the more difficult it is to keep them clean and clothed and fed. Just the basics of life are a full time job. It is also easy for parents to fall into this sort of lifestyle because cleaning and sorting makes you look and maybe even feel like you have your act together,even if you seriously don't. What you are doing is finding a way to contain your children, control them, and keep their sin from making you look bad. But you are not actually dealing with anything....
The more children you have, the more you need to be pastorally minded. Look to each of their souls and their needs. If you are focused on upkeep of the house and the schedule, as long as your child is not interrupting that, you don't worry about it. If you are being a parent who is pastorally minded you will stop whatever it is that you are doing to go see how your daughter is doing up in her bedroom.Be a pastor to your children. Study them, Seek them out. Sacrifice the thing you were doing to work through minor emotional issues. This is why you may have known families who seemed to have it all together. Everyone to his own bunk. Dinner from the crockpot at 6:00pm on the dot. Family worship in the living room. Children quietly doing dishes afterward. Then as the children hit their teen years, you start to see that alongside of all that organization was some serious neglect and hurt. It is possible to organize your children right out of the church. So while your children are little, cultivate an attitude of sacrifice. Sacrifice your peace for their fun. Your clean kitchen floor for their help cracking eggs. Your quiet moment for their long retelling of a dream that a friend of theirs allegedly had. Prioritize your children far and away above the other work you need to get done. They are the only part of your work that really matters."