Saturday, December 20, 2008


I had the opportunity to go to a baby shower last weekend for one of my college friends. I hadn't seen most of the girls since the last baby shower two years ago. My crazy fun roommate was even there from San Diego.

Most of my friends didn't start having kids as early as I did or have as many. So it seems I'm a few years ahead of them in this journey. It was a really good reminder to me of the mission of mommy-hood. They are all in that stage of infant and toddlers running you weary all day. Their sentiments all echoed the same frustrations: You long for a shower, hope to leave the house, feel the need to provide constructive things for them to do, make play dates and actually play with them.

I remember how miserable some of my days were when we had 3 kids in diapers and lived in a little trailer house. I felt as if my life had somehow come to a screeching halt. All I did was change diapers, do dishes (yeah - no dishwasher), do laundry, make food, clean up messes and change diapers. People would tell me how they have such fond memories of those years and just wait until they are teenagers. I always figured at least teenagers leave sometimes!

Now that we have 3 kids in school it seems like I am past that stage. But when I got home I realized I am NOT past that stage. I guess I forgot on the two hour drive that I still have a toddler and preschooler at home. This week I have been literally running frantically between them. Maren wants to sit on the toilet and have me sing to her, she takes off her poopy diapers, she dumps all the stuff out of the pantry and opens some Christmas presents. Annie wants to watch a movie, have a piece of gum, have a story read to her, help me in the kitchen and so on.

I think why it feels different now is the perspective that comes from seeing how fast that time really does go. After getting through it three other times I can laugh more when things go wrong. I'm more laid back about schedule, outings and wearing clothes. I don't try to make things perfect. If they dump out all the flour it can be cleaned up. If they want me to play or be held or read to, I can put my other stuff on hold. It's still frustrating, but it's just not the end of the world.

I've learned that these precious little ones are ours for a short time.

When we go to school or get a job we learn to be outcome based people. What's the result? Where's the profit? It just doesn't happen like that in mothering. At the end of the day we won't necessarily feel like we've accomplished anything. That's hard to accept, especially if a year ago you were getting your masters and working at a challenging and satisfying career.

Teaching kids to love and live like Jesus takes time and relationship. That's what we are building day by day. I'm starting to see a few of the outcomes with my older kids. We have spiritual conversations. I see them being loving to their friends or helping me without being asked. There's a long way to go but now that I have a taste of the results of my painstaking effort, it makes all the little stuff a lot more manageable.

I want to encourage you, especially during this Christmas season, to forget all the hustle and bustle and enjoy the little ones God has given you. After all the whole story of Christmas is about relationship: God sent Jesus to earth so we could have a relationship with Him.

Take time to make cookies together, watch a Christmas special, and play in the snow. When I take time to step out of my "outcome based" mentality, I can truly find the joy in being a Mommy!

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