Last week I mentioned we had a rocky start to 2018. I had surgery and was in recovery mode all of January. At which time, the kids went through a destruction phase (which is when we donated about 70% of their remaining toys), a defiant phase, a teething molars phase and finally a potty-training regression phase. I have been asking God for a double portion of grace each and every day. At long last, I feel that we are getting out of the weeds and I am happy to report we are all alive and even healthy. Yay! It may sound dramatic, but lets be honest: being a parent of young children makes surviving each day feel like a personal victory.
For those of you who have entirely forgotten the physical and emotional demands of parenting young children please just give us a hug and a gift card to Starbucks and refrain from encouraging catch phrases. It is too easy to look back and only remember the nostalgic feeling of having little tots sitting on your lap. Which I do have lots of precious moments of. Although more often than not my little tots spring onto my lap like goats and with as much grace manage to head butt me right in the nose. That’s about the time I start pushing them off my lap and checking for blood.
Brian and I have brainstormed our parenting trials and it is our conclusion that more one-on-one time would do us all a world of good. Personally, in the midst of chaos I forget how cute they actually are. So when I am with just one they take my breath away. Suddenly they are beaming smiles and giving hugs the entire time. We used to take them out for dates, but it resulted in too many toys and treats and a “Gimme Gimme” attitude. It was hard on the budget and our schedule. A great idea in theory but not sustainable when trying to cycle through 5 kids.
Somehow I heard of a better strategy and we are implementing it. Here’s what we decided to do: Each kid has their own special night every week. Esther has Mondays, Micah has Wednesdays… so on and so forth. They get to stay up an extra 20 minutes with one parent on their night (next week is the other parent). We play games, we color, we read books. If any of the kids causes problems on someone else’s night they lose their turn. The other parent puts the rest of the kiddos to bed and oddly, this hasn’t affected the usual bedtime at all. We still manage to make it down stairs at the same time we always did. Win. Win. Double win.
Oh – side note. You have to actually tell them this is their “special time with mommy/daddy” otherwise they miss the obvious… because that is what kids do.
Pray for them
Over these last few months, I have been praying that God would give my kids obedient hearts. This is a prayer I highly encourage! The Holy Spirit is just as powerful in the heart of a child as He is in an adult. There is no child-sized Holy Spirit!
Lord, you have instructed us to obey those set in authority over us. I pray that (Name) will “obey [his/her] leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over [his/her soul], as those who will have to give an account.” May (Name), “let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to [him/her].” In your Name I pray, amen. – Hebrews 13:17
Book Review: I Will Not Fear
For Black History month, I read I Will Not Fear: My Story of a Lifetime of Building Faith Under Fire by Melba Pattillo Beals. This is an autobiography of a woman who was selected at the age of 15 to be one of nine black students to be integrated into Central High School of Little Rock, AR in 1957. This story impacted me in a way that forced me to shift my previously held assumptions. Never have I been so happy to challenge my beliefs and broaden my understanding.
Click here to continue reading the full Book Review: I Will Not Fear.