As my family has settled into our new normal, we’re all trying to figure out new rhythms and routines. My husband’s job schedule changed to second shift, so we’ve been getting used to not having him at home in the evenings. It’s a little challenging at times. Sometimes I want to come home and just relax, but I have to figure out dinner and get the kids through their homework and bedtime routines, clean up and run laundry.
We’re figuring out what works for us. Sometimes I have my oldest cook dinner. I make them do the dishes or cleaning. They make their own school lunches either the night before or in the morning. Delegating is a must, I’m finding, and making everyone pitch in and take responsibility so that they realize we’re a team and it’s a group effort to keep the household running. Yes, there is much whining and complaining and, “It’s not my turn!”, “But I didn’t put that there!”… We’re working on the never-ending character training of the kids (let’s face it- of myself, too).
Hubby makes sure the kids get ready in the morning, breakfast, devotions, and on the bus. He’s a huge help and it really is a group effort. He’s enjoying having a few more hours in the morning to get stuff done around the house and property before work.
I must point out, though I mentioned the kids’ grades were good as they finished out last school year, I’d like to say that the ongoing reality is their grades fluctuate greatly. Beginning of the year they were great, towards the middle they lowered and then went up again, and at the end of the year I think they got burned out and lowered. I’ve heard that’s very common with all children. I’ve had to keep reminding myself that yes they can do better, however at the end of the day it’s not a number or letter on a paper that determines the worth of the child. It’s very interesting how each child is so different and we cannot compare them to each other. How one is excellent at academics, and the other is not, and struggles in certain subjects.
On a side note, we pay them for good grades to help motivate them to do their best.
Now the pressure to educate my kids in academics is off my shoulders, I’ve been focusing more on building better habits in myself of engaging with my children and having a better relationship with them. I am SOOO not perfect, and it’s still a battle. but I’m learning to be more mindful and consciously make choices in the moment to put my phone down, look them in the eye and listen to them talk, watch a movie with them or play a game.
I’m a recovering control freak and I struggle with worry. When my kids were at home all the time, I was able to control almost every waking moment of their lives. I controlled who their friends were, social lives, where they went, what they were learning… it was very comforting to my controlling tendencies. Which I might add, is not bad in and of itself. But if we use it as a crutch instead of relying on God solely, that’s no bueno.
Worry, fear, and guilt plague me. Sometimes I feel like I’m waiting for the other shoe to fall and tragedy is just waiting around the corner. I’ll be minding my own business, lost in my thoughts while doing my tasks at work and I’ll be thinking. But sometimes the thoughts running through my mind are worry about my kids and husband- Are they hanging out with good friends, are they behaving themselves, are they saying good things instead of silly talk?? Is my husband safe, is he feeling well, will the other drivers around him be smart, will his truck brakes malfunction?? Will the next phone call my supervisor receives be that call from my husband’s boss that he’s been taken to the hospital by ambulance? Unfortunately, because of real life experiences and my personality, I’ve cultivated this tendency. As I’ve been getting older and our current reality has forced me to be unable to control my kids’ every waking moment, I’ve had some serious work to do in this area. I don’t want to be a slave to these feelings!! And, we’re actually commanded by God not to fear.
One night, after reading an article about the latest local tragedy involving a preschool owner’s son who molested a little girl in their care, I was upset. I try not to read these types of things and especially the comment sections of articles or posts that are volatile. I just don’t need any more negativity in my life. But I chose to read this one…
I was in the shower thinking and getting worked up. I worried how I could protect my then 6-year-old daughter. One of my worst fears for my little girl had come to pass for the little girl in that preschool. It was local. That was TOO close to home!
“I need to talk to my daughter again about boundaries and touching and telling us if anyone touches her inappropriately or tells her to keep it a secret.” My thoughts were racing from one thing to another that I could or should do and say.
“How can I protect my children?!” I cried out loud.
“That’s MY job,” the Lord’s voice replied in my head.
I shot back bitterly, “But I don’t trust You to do a good enough job!”
I was stunned.
I realized I had just uncovered a truth about the state of my heart. I had allowed the heartache and sorrow of life’s numerous tragedies, my own two miscarriages, premature birth of my son, the death of my brother, loss of dreams, health, and hardships in life to harden my heart and make me distrust God. I already knew I had chosen to be bitter and angry for years following those events. But I had never realized a root of faithlessness and mistrust was at the heart of it. Ouch.
I’m now on a journey towards FAITH over fear. Trusting God when I can’t see the outcome. Yes, we have conversations with our children about safety and morals. We do everything in our power to make sure they are safe. But it boils down to we are not in control, God is. Tragedy strikes all of us, Christian or non. How we respond to it is key. I’ve failed numerous times at that. I regret it. I make conscious choices daily to be angry or joyful. Fearful, or faith filled. Pulling the emergency brake on my thoughts when they start racing downhill towards anxiety, fear, and negativity.
You guys, none of us are perfect. But we all can and should work towards making better choices and being righteous people.
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.”
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power and of love, and of a sound mind.”
-2 Timothy 1:7