Sometimes people say things to me like, “You must be so patient to have six kids.” My answer to that is usually a laugh and, “Not really, God just had a lot more refining work to do on me.”
My friends, I am sharing this story because maybe it’ll help you take the pressure off. I’m hoping you don’t have to get to Number Six before you learn to lean into Jesus. I’m praying that you don’t allow other people to be the judge of you and your mamahood.
First, let me stress to you that you are not God. You are not messing up your kiddo when you aren’t perfect.
Failing is inevitable. It teaches us that we need to do it differently next time. Trust Jesus to refine you as He is refining your sweet ones.
One of My Refining Moments
The other day I walked out of the mall carrying a screaming four year old over my shoulder. It wasn’t the first time I’ve had to do that, and I am sure that it won’t be the last time a howling preschooler will be carried out of a mall. I am six for six when it comes to child meltdowns at a store.
We have a lot of big feelings in our family and they are all expressed without concern of who might be around and where we might be. The circumstances and locations vary, and the meltdown level per child has varied as well, but the thing that remains the same is that they all have melted.
Here’s a reminder: kids act up, misbehave, and struggle. It is our job to love and walk with them. It is not our job to control our kids or what others think of them (or us).
Truth be told, it has never really mattered how stressed I was, how calm I was, or how loving I was (or wasn’t). When I got myself in a situation where I needed to tell my little human, “No,” the reaction became theirs and theirs alone. There have been times when my little humans handled “no” really well, and then there were times when they didn’t.
Today was one of those times when it didn’t go well. My little blue-eyed baby girl was tired from a crazy week and I chose to push my luck. All I needed was to run in to the store “quickly.” I am aware that running into any store with kids isn’t usually very quick, but I did it anyway. My littlest love struggled through our time there, had to sit in time out, and was told she couldn’t get anything. She was crying as we went to check out and was screaming by the end when she realized she really wasn’t getting anything. So, I calmly threw her over my shoulder and walked my way out of the mall, her wailing the entire time.
The mall wasn’t very crowded, so I didn’t have to face too many people, but I did keep a smile on my face. I know my little humans aren’t perfect. If other people have that expectation for them, I can’t make that my problem. Instead, do you know what happened when I was looking around smiling? Other mamas looked at me and laughed, or encouraged me with a knowing nod. One mama said to me, “we’ve all been there,” and held her fist up in solidarity with me.
There have been times when I was that mom who was stressed, fell apart, felt judged, was mad at her kids, and barely made it to the van before falling into a heap of her own tears. This time, however, I took the pressure off. We got to the van and within a few minutes my little one calmed down and was giggling with her siblings. She had already forgotten what happened at the mall, so I did too.
Psssst! Here’s a Secret
I’d like to think that I have learned something by Kid Number 6, and I want to share it with you:
The Pressure is Off.
The pressure is off to perform, to be perfect, or to portray a life of perfection. Who really has the energy for that anyway? Good community helps with this, but the only way that I have found that truly takes the pressure off is knowing who I am in Christ.
I listen to a lot of worship music. In fact, I even fall asleep to soft piano worship music. I need Jesus all day long, and only when I fill up with His voice, His word, His truth, can I truly live out this #momlife without losing my ever loving mind.
Matthew 11:28-30(NIV) encourages us, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
There are days when the definition of being a homemaker makes me weary and burdened, but Jesus gives us rest. Sweet rest.
Rest in Him, my friends, and let Him take the burden off. He is waiting for you to remember that the pressure is off so He can take care of you. I’m reminded of this in every season. From raising preschoolers to teenagers, our job is to trust Him. He really loves us and our babies more than we will ever know. Continue to walk in His peace today, trusting that the pressure is off.