Let me set the scene for you. My son throws something on the floor, I calmly and casually ask him to pick it up. He says ‘No’! I ask him again, this time sounding slightly more firm but still fairly laid back. He says ‘No’ again. I then tell him sternly to pick it up. Guess what he says, ‘No’! I then loudly tell him to pick it up before he decides to run into another room. Never one to back down and also someone who feels very strongly that when I ask something as a parent, if I don’t follow through on seeing it happen, my son will see a loop-hole every time I ask him to do something. So what do I do, follow him. Follow him and take him back to the thing he threw, until he eventually picks it up.
This is what a normal day in our household looks like. Jonas wakes up, if I’m organised enough I will have woken up before him to shower and get myself ready. I put him on the potty (and continue to do so regularly for the rest of the day), get him dressed, we go downstairs, I make him breakfast. I wash up all the dummies and beakers he used last night. I empty the dishwasher, and then load it, whilst talking to Jonas as he has breakfast. I get him down from the table, he plays whilst I have breakfast. I quickly load the washing machine and prepare his changing bag. A neighbour might knock on the door and come in for a quick chat. We quickly rush out the door trying to get to a toddler group on time, but often running 30 minutes late. We stay there until lunch and then walk home super quickly to get back in time for Jonas to have a quick lunch and then nap. He wakes about 2 or 3pm, leaving me a couple of hours to spend some 1-1 time with him, do cleaning, hang the washing, prepare dinner and do any other chores around the house for which there always seem to be many.
Are you having a hard time right now? Maybe things are difficult? Maybe you have gone through something really tough. Maybe you’re scared, or disappointed. You wonder why you have gone through some things. You question, will things get better? Let me tell you right now, YES! God is a restoring God, and he never leaves us in difficult things, His purpose is always to lead us through things and on the way, use any hardships to change us for the better, to mould us to be more like him, and to further His purposes in your life.
I was recently struck by something as I was disciplining my son. I asked Jonas to do something, he didn’t want to and refused. I asked him again, he refused again, and then what followed was a five-minute tantrum, kicking and screaming on the floor. I have learnt with my boy there is little point trying to reason with him whilst he is in the middle of a full-blown tantrum, so I give him space to get it out his system and then we talk. On this occasion he got particularly upset. When he eventually picked himself off the floor and came to me, I took him in my arms, giving him a big cuddle, saying ‘shhhh’ and kissing him. I did this for a couple of minutes, rocking him in my arms until he stopped crying completely and then I started talking to him about what had just happened.
As I always tell him, whatever I asked him to do, he still has to do after his tantrum and that it is not a way of avoiding it. As I kissed him and gave him a big cuddle I was reminded of this verse:
He will quiet you with His love.
Do you ever feel like you wish other ladies would look and you and think ‘she’s a great mummy’? Do you wish that your baby cried less around other mums? Or maybe you wish that, in the unlikely event (she types smiling!) your toddler would throw a tantrum, please oh please can it be when we are at home, or somewhere quiet, but not in the middle of a busy shopping centre or supermarket. Because you desperately don’t want others to see these difficult things, and make some sort of judgement on you. Perhaps you wish your husband, for just one day, would do every little thing you do at home, juggling the child care, cooking, cleaning, planning, maybe employment as well, because surely only then can he fully appreciate all that you do and see just how much work it really is! See what an amazing mummy you are.
I wonder if you have given much thought to what you want your children to be like when they are older. Have you considered the values that are important to you that you would like them to take on, have you thought through what you want your family to look like in 10 years. It’s very easy to amble through life, taking each day as it comes and responding to our children’s needs one day at a time, but unless we consider what we want them to be like, or act like, or what’s important to our family, it’s very unlikely we’ll see these things happening automatically.
If the relationship with our children is right, all else will follow!
A friend of mine recently made this comment when we were discussing discipline and raising children. Wow, how true. The more I thought about it, the more it challenged me.
I’m a stay at home mum, I basically spend 24-7 with my son, going to groups, playing with him, talking to him, raising him, but am I always connecting with him? Of course I must be, right? Well, I think it’s perfectly possible to spend all our time with someone, and still not connect with them.
I can honestly say the last fortnight has been the hardest we have had for a while! We have had not one, not two, not three but four trips to A&E and a sickness bug to top it all off!
Two weeks ago on a lovely sunday afternoon we took Jonas to a nearby park for some family fun time. Five minutes after arriving, he fell off a roundabout and it span round really quickly, hitting him on the forehead knocking him over. The bump on his head swelled almost instantly into a lump the size of a golf ball. We of course rushed to get some ice and then drove over to our local A&E, forty minutes away! Thank God that amazingly he was absolutely fine and didn’t even have a concussion!
Have you ever felt overwhelmed as a parent? I know I have! There have been many times that I have desperately needed a situation resolved, like the time when he was still waking five times a night at eight months. Or the times that until he was about five months he didn’t consistently sleep in the day. Or there’s been times I’ve felt overwhelmed by different advice on feeding techniques, or discipline. People offer advice but they don’t know our children like we do, they don’t know what is specifically the best thing for them. There have been times I have listened to advice and tried all the methods advised and yet still seen no change. I’ve needed an answer!
I am and have always been an active person. I love doing things, going out and especially love seeing people. For me a big culture shock that I wasn’t expecting was when Jonas was three weeks old and Alan went back to work after paternity leave. I had previously been in an extremely busy job whereby I was doing things all day long and had a structured routine. I suddenly found myself alone at home with no one to talk to and no routine whatsoever. I loved being a mum but I wanted structure; I needed friends going through the same stage of life to share things with and I needed to know I had something to do each day rather than just be at home alone.