Last night, after a bit of a rough day with home school, cooking, cleaning, petting, reassuring, getting kids ready for extra activities and not being able to open my bottle of wine (stupid, cheap wine opener!), I pondered the thought "Do our children really know what we do for them? Do they really understand all that goes into their lives...and all that comes out of ours?"
The answer is "Of course not!". I mean, think about it: when did you appreciate your parents? Probably after you had children of your own and you started working your tail off to ensure their well being. When you started freaking out when they wouldn't burp after feeding. When you didn't sleep for three nights in a row to calm a fussy teether. When you stressed out over setting the correct boundaries for your toddler without damaging their sense of curiosity. The first time your kid told you he or she hated you. When you had to endure the complete and utter meltdown in public over a cookie. The list can and does go on. So why do we as parents get so frustrated when our children show no appreciation for all we do?
My kids just don't get it...they don't understand that I would rather be with other adults drinking my latte than teaching them. They really don't get the fact that I don't want to snuggle at 0645 in the morning...with ANYONE! I want peace and quiet and coffee. They don't realize that putting them to bed, tucking them in and listening to their stories from the day is actual work. They just see it as...well...mom. And more than likely, your kids are the same.
I realized LATE last night, as my daughter had a nightmare and crawled into bed with me, that I was putting a huge responsibility on my kids. I was making them responsible for my approval rating. I was putting on them the responsibility of acknowledging my hard work and sacrifice. I was making them my rater, to use a military term. I was putting them in the position of a boss...and no child should have that power.
My husband told me once that he really hates it that a single comment from one of my kids can ruin my day. He told me that I allow them to get into my head and mess it all up. Why should I give them so much power?? He's right.
In order for me to be able to stop letting my children's moods and demands mess up my day (and my head) I need to release them. I need to stop looking to them as my approving authority. I need to appoint a new boss.
I already have one...my Father! By not looking to Him for approval, by not seeking Him to see if I am doing the right thing, by not focusing on pleasing God and instead focusing on children, I cheat myself and I cheat the Father. It is God who gives me strength, not my children. (they plain ole wear me out!) It is God who guides me down the path of goodness, not my children. And it is God who will, in the end, rate my work that I have done in His name.
I came to that realization while being kneed in the stomach, breathed on with morning breath, and grumbled at by a husband clinging to the edge of his side of the bed. I felt relief. And then I felt a twinge of fear. If I release my children from this responsibility it means I will not have a tangible source here on Earth to seek confirmation from. It means I will have to develop a better spiritual life. It means I will have to trust...in my God and myself.
It will be a challenge...to pray and know that God's got my back. But it will also make life just a little more stress free...after all, who wants to live by the wild mood swings of a child?!
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13