So this week has been a challenge for the whole family, and especially me. My daughter Marissa (8 yrs old) has been acting out in the worst way and really has caused a lot of stress and loss of sleep for the whole household. I’ve reached out for prayers from my sisters and have received some great advice and beautiful prayers that I’m so grateful for and have really carried me through this week.
But yesterday Marcia came over and Marissa was home from school (again, with a ‘stomach ache’). After watching Marissa go through a mini-melt down (again) and calming her down enough to get her to sit on the sofa, she came over to the kitchen and calmly said:
What?! I took her words very seriously and asked if she thought I was stressing Marissa out in some way? What had Marcia seen in me that triggered those words – I was eager to find out and change myself! Marcia shook her head, “No, she just wants your attention. All she keeps saying over and over again is ‘I want my mommy’ and she’s very clingy to you.” My attention? I have four kids (one who’s 5 months old!), a household to keep up, dinner to cook, a husband to please, a blog to keep up, my daily Bible study, the Christmas play practice, HW to help with, and all with just a few hours sleep… and she wants more of me? Where am I going to find more of me to give?!
But as I thought about all these things, it hit me that I’ve just made my life busy all over again. I worked outside the home and couldn’t find time for my kids for years. Now I’m a stay at home mom and have managed to get myself so busy in this work that I still do not have time for my kids! What kind of craziness is this?! How could I be so silly as to not see this a long time ago? But no matter, thank God for godly sisters who will point out your flaws and help you through them!
So I sit here and think of my children… they are each SO different and quality time with each of them would look so different.
Kaity. Quality time with Kaity is easy for me because we are the same. She is a brainiac like I am and we can easily sit down together and read or play word games or even work on our blogs (which is our new fun thing to do). Her bedtime is an hour later than her brother & sister so we easily spend that time together.
JJ. He loves to play his video games and show me what he can do in them. Most of the time I just “yes, yes” him and keep it moving. But what if I actually sit down and watch him and tell him it’s great that he got through that Batman level he’s been trying to pass? Or play Little Big Planet with him and let him lead me through the mazes and outfit changes he loves to do. I know he would love that time with me.
And then there’s Marissa. She loves to play “nail salon” and do my nails or getting her own nails painted, dressing up, or playing doctor… things I know nothing about! Her personality is so far from mine that it’s hard for me to be interested in any of these things. I never played doll as a kid, I was always in a corner reading a book and loving it! But this isn’t about me or who I am. This is about my daughter and her just wanting to spend time with me. Why can’t I put aside the selfish me for an hour of just being with her and doing what she likes to do? Marissa is also a cuddler! She would love to spend an hour with a book and blanket and just cuddle up and read aloud. How awesome would it be if we did that every night before going to bed? She would LOVE it.
So there it is. The problem is me and my ability to get myself busy in the mundane and ignore the more important thing in life: my children and spending time with them. Yes I can teach them about God, take them to church, feed, and clothe them – but if I don’t take time to just be with them, how will they learn to take some time to just BE with God? Our quiet, quality time with each other can be a way for them to learn that God desires that time with them just like they desire that time with me.
I pray that this will be a turning point for me and my relationship with my children. That they may show me grace and love and accept that I’m still learning this ‘mommy’ thing and will make mistakes. I pray that they will see our quality time and learn to spend the same type of quality time with Jesus as well, and with their own children in the future.
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