Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sticky Socks, Cute Alarms & Trendsetters

I’ve found the surprising solution for NOT having it all together: having KIDS.  Having a perfect life, heck, having a life is so overrated!

Of all the things I would miss if I didn’t have a home full of little feet and dimpled cheeks, here are my top three:  

1. Easy removal of my socks.  Our dining room floor thrives in an environment of melted Popsicles and spilt juice.  The sticky sheen is perfect for the removal of socks.  When I desire to be barefoot, all that is required is to simply walk through our dining room and the socks are pulled off my feet, no bending over is necessary!  My mopping litmus test is now this: can the bottom of your socks or shoes be removed by our floors?  If so, it means it’s time to mop!  
2.  Alarm clocks that never need to be set.  No matter what time these little angels pass out in their beds, they can be counted on to pop out from under their covers like toast on steroids, usually before the sun has even had a chance to light up the sky.  Surpisingly, I’m a fan!  Why sleep until 8:00 am only to be rudely awakened by a blaring alarm when you could have thirty pounds of adorableness catapult onto your head at 6:00 am?  Exactly!  Option two is so much more thrilling.
3.  Wearing mismatched outfits instead of matching clothes.  It never fails.  I can have the kids squeaky clean and dressed head-to-toe in matching outfits, from perfectly styled hair down to color-coordinated socks; when suddenly, it happens...real life with a truck-load of kids under the age of five.  I usually spot IT after the last child gets buckled into their car-seat: something that looks like mustard (but it ain't edible, trust me!) oozing from a little pink onesie, a coating of hair gel on a formally clean pair of jeans by “Mommy’s Little Helper”, or a creative design in permanent blue marker on a white t-shirt.  If MY clothes stay clean through all of this that is just frosting on the cake...but usually its more like frosting on a shirt!  In the hopes of being only one hour late instead of completely missing an event, I grab the first replacement shirt/pant/underwear/diaper/sock and say a prayer that mismatched clothes will be the new style.

Before I had kids, I had at least four theories on parenting.  Now, I have four kids and NO theories!  No one told me parenting would be this EASY and this HARD.  I never knew it would be so easy to love each child uniquely and completely with everything I have within me.  I also never knew it would be so hard to train them in the way they should go (Prov. 22:6).  

When an exhausted mother holds her baby for the first time after those painful hours of heave and ho, it feels like the hardest part is over.  However, as my children grow (and I can just see parents of teenagers grinning at me, saying, “Just you wait!”), I realize the child-labor was easy compared to the hard job of parenting!  In fact, I’m still hoping for a parenting epidural to remove the brain-pain.  How many times can you say, “Because I said so” before it qualifies you for “crazy-broken-record-status” (and we told our parents we would be SO different…ha!).
One thing I am learning about love and parenting is that love is NOT lazy.  Love is TOUGH sometimes.  Love and discipline is FOR our kids, not something we do TO them.  The Bible promises when children are taught to do what is right, "it will go well for them". (Deut. 6:2, Deut. 5:29, Eph. 6:3-5)

There are MANY times (especially when I’m in the middle of the “testing twos...and trying threes...and fussy fours...all at the same time) when I long to just turn on the "boob-tube babysitter" and take a break from the uphill journey of training children how to play, share, love, be kind and obey.  Some days I do just that (otherwise my husband would wonder why all the children are duct-taped to their chairs when he got home) but most days, I take a breath, pray for strength and keep on truckin’.
Hmmm...don't give me any ideas!
The amazing promises of God are the gas in my tank that keep me and my man going on this great road-trip called Parenting, “Raise your child in the way he should go and he will not depart from it.” (Prov. 22:6) and “The one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.” (Prov. 13:24)

I still don’t have any perfect parenting theories except that I know we are NOT perfect! And that's okay.

Financial guru, Dave Ramsey, has a quote about money and saving that he is well-known for, “If you live like no one else, later, you can LIVE like no one else.”  I think this phrase could be coined in the world of parenting as well: “If we LOVE and DISCIPLINE like no one else, later (like when we can no longer sit on our children to get them to behave), our children will LIVE like no one else.

Here's a few resources we have enjoyed or gained a bit from.  

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