Why is this week different? Because I've been helping out lots more with the three grandchildren.
I have a few thoughts that might help some of you younger mothers to get a long term perspective on mothering and childrearing.
Sometimes doesn't it feel like your children are sucking the life out of you? Crudely put but true. They take all you have to give and then need and want more. They are our greatest creative projects. Let me say that again...our children are the greatest and best creations we'll ever make.
Not that we are totally responsible for their outcome. God, environment, siblings, relatives, strangers, etc. all come together to make our children what they are. But the mother, by far, has the biggest influence on her children. In my case, it was especially true because I had them with me all the time by homeschooling, and their father was traveling a lot with his job.
The thing I like about making something like a dress, pillow, framed photograph, knitted hat, etc. is that after it's made I can look at it for a long time. The clothes I made for my children are now being worn by my grandchildren. I get a good feeling every time I see them.
With children, you sometimes don't see the fruits of your labor for twenty or more years; sometimes never. That's so discouraging to me, and that's why rearing children is an act of faith. Faith that God will take your feeble efforts and make out of that child a better person than you are. Faith that God is making them into the person He wants them to be.
Parenting isn't about instant gratification. There are times though, by the grace of God, that you get glimmerings of the person you're helping them to become. Your heart fills with hope and love and you have an 'ah ha!' moment. Everything looks rosier, and then they scream at their brother, push them down...you fill in the blank, and your hopes are dashed.
Mothers should spend a great portion of their time in prayer. I believe that if I had prayed more when mine were small, I would have had more self-control and less anger.
You also have to become somewhat emotionally detached--in a good way. I remember being surprised and shocked when my children did something wrong. Was I expecting them to be perfect or something? I must have. It was a personal affront to me. I knew they were sinners, but I didn't act like it, or I wouldn't have been so surprised.
So I had to emotionally back away from them and myself and try and view them like any other children and then rationally deal with the situation. I'm still having to do that with my adult children when they don't do what I think they should. I turn them over to God and pray that He'll enlighten them and help them see things as they really are.
My main point, which I haven't even gotten to yet, is that when you're busy helping to create a new person, you don't have enough time or energy to do much else. And that's as it should be. This is your season for that. They'll be plenty of time to be creative in other ways later. And if you find time to do both, then praise God for his blessings! But don't neglect your little ones to pursue your own selfish pleasures. Your time with them is short compared to the time you'll have without them.