Tag Archives: Parenting Littles

Anniversary Dinner for…5

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Recently we celebrated our 5th anniversary. :-) It was also the first anniversary where my oldest 2 were aware of marriage and somewhat conscience of what it meant.

We’ve had 5 weddings this summer, and they’ve learned a lot about the husband and wife concept.

As the day grew closer, I decided to take a slightly different approach to our anniversary then I’d personally seen modeled in the past. I wanted the kids to be aware of our anniversary and how blessed we were to have a marriage so I realized I needed to bring them into the celebration.

 

My Goals for our 5th Anniversary:Goal 1: Celebrate it with my wonderful husband.

  • Money was tight this year, but we did have a special Chicago trip a couple months ago that I counted as our anniversary trip.
  • Romantic date (of course!) :-)

Goal 2: Model it as important and special for my kids.

  • We had donuts for breakfast
  • We ate a special dinner (pictured)
  • We talked to them about how blessed we were and showed them some pictures of the wedding.
  • We kept a celebratory attitude through the day

My kids are still little, but I know that we’ve at least shown them that marriage is a blessing and that their parents are thankful for each other.

What are some traditions that you have implemented to teach your children the importance of something that is important to you?

- Verity

It was another one of those shopping trips.

The type where everything seems to be going okay. You are completely in control and then something happens…

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For us it was about 8 feet from the register. (We were on the home stretch! That close!)

This was when the 8 month old pooped her diaper. She hates, hates being poopy.

But we were EIGHT feet from the register.

Always optimistic, I headed through the line in hopes of checking out quickly and then going to the bathroom with my cart full of paid for groceries and 3 squirming children.

Like it was going to be quick.

This was when the two year old discovered the candy!

“Put it back with its friends” I told her. She did. Only to find another bar to hold up a moment later. “Put it back with its friends too.” I echoed.

The three year old was sitting amidst the groceries and to my relief began loading the conveyer belt full of them.

I was one handed now – giving in to the eight month old who was swinging over my arm because she didn’t want to sit in her poop.

Still semi- under control.

We were doing okay until the three year old found a head of cabbage that did not have a produce bag.

“Oh no!!!” He burst out “It doesn’t have a bag!! Mama! We need to get a bag!”

“No, it’s okay. It will be okay without a bag today.”

This was too much for him. I lost my helper at that moment.

And my voice seemed to sound like a constant stream.

“Put it back with its friends.It really will be okay without a bag. The lady will put it in a bag. Oh! I have some coupons!! Here they are! Put that candy back with its friends too! Oh. I meant to buy those stamps with a different credit card. Can you take them off now? Oh, you can’t? Okay. That’s okay I guess. They all go back with their friends!! Now, see? Now she put it in a bag! It’s all better! Okay guys! Hold on to the cart!! Now we are all going to walk forward! You need to hold on too! Hurry!”

We finally were done. (Only needing to round up the two year old twice who today discovered the wonderful game of duck around the corner and see if Mama notices). She did come every time she was called, but it was hard to look calm and collected with an increasingly frustrated poopy baby hanging in mid-air and an OCD preschooler who suddenly had passionate opinions about the buying process of our vegetables.

After the bathroom, I got in the car exhausted. Control was gone.

All three were crying because it was 12:14, and they were hungry. The Ramen noodles I’d promised the 3 year old had somehow been missed in the rush, and he, who had been so good and helpful for the shopping trip, was deeply disappointed and feeling quite betrayed.

Before I could cry too, there was a knock on the window.

It was a woman around my age.

“I just wanted to say I’m so impressed with you.” she said.

She waved into the car at the three red-faced kids, and they all simultaneously stopped crying to watch her.

Getting out for a moment to talk to her, I was deeply encouraged by her kind words.

I got back in the quiet car feeling greatly lightened.

And driving home, I reflected on the trip. We’ve had many frustrating shopping trips, and it was easy to be discouraged that we had had yet another. However, I was not.

I realized that:

The 3 year old had done a great job obeying and helping today.

The 2 year old needed to work on not touching and not running, but she also obeyed when told to put items back and to come.

And someone gave me a compliment. :-) :-) :-)

So if you are a tired Mom: There is hope! It feels like the struggle with their little selfish hearts is endless, but it’s not. They have victories, and when they gain victory in one area the old struggles are replaced with different struggles. That is part of growth Then you help them through those too. Don’t let this be discouraging. Focus on the victories. Praise them for them, and realize that they will gain victory over the new areas of struggle.

And if you are not a tired Mom at this time in your life and you see a Mom who is trying really hard somewhere, tell her she is doing a good job. Momhood is pretty thankless. Chances are you will make her month.

That kind stranger made mine. :-)

- Verity

Mom’s Musings: Ministry When You Have Littles

Far and away the hardest part of being a mom with small children has been the lack of ministry opportunities. It seems to be a perpetual struggle as I watch others enjoy the gift of ministering in the church while I tend to my little brood and struggle to keep everyone’s diaper clean for the duration of Sunday morning.

Before marriage and children, I loved being a part of any ministry available. Children’s ministries, teen ministries, fellowships, hospitality, piano, singing, leading, teaching, counseling, puppets, decorating. You name it. I wanted to be involved and playing a key role. I told myself that it was because I wanted to be a servant, but honestly, I really liked being a leader. I loved being the one on the front lines – teaching, planning, and delegating. I felt like I would make the most difference for eternity if I was ministering in key positions in the church.

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For the last few years, the doors seemed perpetually closed. Either because I knew I couldn’t keep up with my wife and mother responsibilities and have to say ‘no’ to the very few ministries I could do or because we started attending a church that simply doesn’t have many teaching roles for women.

After much struggle, deep discouragement, and dark days, I finally came to some conclusions.

  • I realized that it is normal for a wife and mother to have to attend to her house first. (1 Corinthians 7) The decision to marry and have children simply makes you have to focus on the things of the world more – simply to survive. Unless you really are ordained by God to be celibate, it is part of His plan for you to have a family and children and while you can still minister, they are YOUR FIRST CALLING. How many pastor’s children walk away from God? Our children cannot be sacrificed on any altar – not even the altar of ministry!
  • I realized that God does not NEED anyone in ministry. It doesn’t matter that I had a lot of experience or education geared to help me be an ‘asset’ in ministry. God needs NOONE. He ALLOWS us to minister because He is kind to us and ALLOWS us to be a part of His work. Years of pride and feeling ‘needed’ fell by the wayside as I saw other less-capable, less educated people be used by God as I sat on the benches.
  • I realized that motherhood IS a ministry and a high calling. I used to feel sorry for people who were not going into full time Christian service. When my husband needed to stop seminary because we could no longer continue and support our growing family, I struggled more then he did. Was my life going to be wasted now!?? I struggled with depression for months. I was missing the ministry in front of my eyes. My little souls watching my every move.
  • I realized that ministry comes in many forms. Ministry is not always in the spotlight or leading up an organized program. I had to look around. God had to convict me about my selfishness. Slowly, I began to see forms of ministry that I had been too proud to acknowledge before. A kind note, a frozen dinner, an empathetic question to a hurting church member, being willing to JOYFULLY (that’s the hard part) keep the kids busy for an hour (or two or three) after church so my husband could help a church family or be there for a weary friend.

This week the subject of ministry has resurfaced because two families need help with moves, and I can’t help in the way I’d like. (Third term pregnancy makes me a useless box lifter and lack of baby-sitters means I wouldn’t help much at the moves but rather chase my kids around.) This time, rather then plummet into discouragement, I’ve been able to acknowledge my limitations and consider what I can do – freezer meals and a joyful attitude and encouraging attitude toward my husband (who is a GREAT packer after being a missionary kid and a GREAT box mover after 5 years of working for FedEx.)

So in the coming weeks, I probably won’t be able to help these two families move in the normal way. I can’t lift things; I can’t come pack things up. However, I can recognize that the ministries I do have are still a blessing and a high calling, and I can seek God’s grace to do them in a way that glorifies Him. 

In some ways it can take even more grace and dependence to wash the church dishes in a joyful and God-focused way then it can to teach a church Sunday School. I’m learning to show my children what real ministry is.

- Verity

Mom’s Musings: I’m Not an Expert

Once upon a time I was an ‘expert’ on children. I had the degree, the children’s job, and a huge boatload of opinions.

Then – after a decade – I ran into the first child who floored me. He made no sense. He was more stubborn, more intense, and more extreme then me. He was incredible. And wow, was he FRUSTRATING! Yes…he was mine.

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I no longer judge other parents.Kids are hard.They are the closest thing to your heart but the most constant, demanding and tiring thing you can imagine. You need to rouse in the middle of the night for them yet keep a kind spirit toward them when at breakfast they complain that THEY are tired.

You need to keep focused on what’s important – their growth and development – when they embarrass you with a tantrum in the middle of the store. (Yeah. We’ve had our share.)

You have to come to terms with your own sin problems as you hear your three year old repeat in anger to the year year old word for word the wrong thing you said to him the week before.

It’s so easy to second guess yourself on everything. Suddenly food, vaccines, sunlight, movies take on a completely different meaning.

Yes. Once, long ago, I was an expert on children. Now that I’ve actually spent 24 hours a day with them -

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almost non-stop for 3 1/2 years, I’ve realized just one thing. I don’t know much!! I need a tremendous amount of grace and wisdom from God to be a good parent.It’s hard…But it’s worth it!

Tonight I had a couple minutes and rocked our 8 month old to sleep. Today she said “Papa” for the first time. She’d been trying for awhile.

The three year old sounded out the word “Bed” today. It was the first time he read a word using phonics. I saw the concept finally click in his eyes, and he shouted the word out and ran to show my husband.

The two year old made a scrambled egg with me today. She was so excited to crack the egg, and then stir it (after I’d fished out the shell pieces.) She was proud to get to cook!

It’s hard.

It’s the most sanctifying and humbling thing I’ve every experienced.

But it is completely worth it!!

I’m no longer an expert – I’m much better – I’m a Mom.

-Verity