Dr. Hyles would say that the Christian life is like steering a car; a series of small constant adjustments to keep ourselves going straight. Not big jerks one direction, then the other- just a little tweak this way, then a little tweak that way. I feel that this illustration could also be applied to parenting as well. Continually evaluating and adjusting, all the while knowing that perfection will never be attained but hoping that if we keep tweaking we will eventually arrive at our destination and be able to look back at a generally straight trail behind us.
When Maddie was a baby and young toddler, I was constantly asking my friends for advice on just about every subject. Partially this was a sincere desire to glean from their knowledge, but part of my constant advice seeking was just insecurity and laziness to figure things out for myself. I still do seek wisdom from more experience moms, but have realized that no one person has all the answers. One mom may have a good idea on one subject; another has a great method for a certain thing and so forth. I am really glad to have “stolen” some ideas from wiser moms… I just could not have come up some of the good thoughts others have learned over the course of many years (and sometimes, many children). I have become more selective about where I glean knowledge from…. and am getting better at figuring out which tid-bits could actually be practical and suitable for MY family. And it is true that some things we just have to figure out for ourselves, the hard way!
I came across this blog because of the HP TouchSmart giveaway (which you can enter as well… good until Christmas Eve) and started poking around some older posts. She has some helpful ideas about managing with her four little ones. Reading through this list of ideas, I knew where I had been going wrong lately.
My latest tweaks:
- Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child. The Bible states this fact, and while I won’t be so presumptuous to declare why God puts certain passages in his Word, it occurred to me that perhaps God was saying “It’s a fact that children are foolish. Your kids won’t be immune. Expect it and deal with it in the way which I told you.” It seems that sometimes I act like I am caught off guard by the fact that my children are behaving *gasp* childishly. Why should I be surprised? It’s what children do. Just acknowledging that fact helps me to have a better frame of mind and to be ready and waiting when that foolishness rears its ugly head. I somewhat humorously will reference I Peter 4:12, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you.” Okay, okay, I’m not really sure the misbehavior of a 3 yr. old and 19 mo. old were what this passage was intended to cover, but the principle applies, I think!
- Deal with misbehavior quickly. When we ignore it and keep issuing warnings without actually handling the problem, and let our frustration build, we do much damage. Our kids believe us to be liars for our failure to follow through, and we become increasingly upset, to the point where even rage can settle in. I don’t think I have ever exactly gone into RAGE. Mostly what happens around here is frustration and lots of sighing and a sour disposition. Watching my little girls mimic me sighing is most humbling.
- Give them my full attention. There are some things I just cannot do while the girls are awake. Blogging would be one of them. Trying to do balance my checkbook or work on church projects… basically anything involving the computer, is just a frustrating futile effort. The project and the girls suffer from trying to spread myself between them. So I’m just going to stop trying!! I need to work on developing a scheduled time for my church endeavors. So far, between 10pm and midnight is it. Hmmm. Must work on this.
- Move on from bad parts of the day. A tendency around here is that once the day is spoiled by oh I don’t know, a certain little girl helping herself to some paint and spilling it on the carpet or something along those lines, the day holds the tone of that bad deed and the resulting consequence. Maddie is a pretty emotional little creature. I don’t know if it’s just her, or if it’s a girl thing, or what, but she can carry on and on about the smallest thing all day. I have been thinking that I am pretty much teaching her to keep carrying on and on by allowing the discipline session to cast a grumpy mood for hours. This is on my part more than anyone’s. Especially if it’s something involving a big mess. I would hate for her to learn to hold a grudge from her mom. So we’re going to deal with misbehavior, talk about it, hug and kiss and move on.
I must be feeling recovered from this horrible flu and ear infection because I feel like tackling everything… along with this resolutions, I’ve been cleaning like a mad woman and have organized some of those nooks and crannies that have been neglected far too long. I love a tidy house… but just like these parenting adjustments, it’ll all need to be done again in the near future. A woman’s work is never done, as they say!