I’ve reached an interesting place in my motherhood journey, and I thought maybe we could chat about it today. I’m walking that road many of you have walked before me, and many of you will walk after me.
I’m parenting big kids and little kids at the same time. I’ve got teens and I’ve got preschoolers, and every age in between.
And sometimes my brain struggles to keep them straight. Sometimes I accidentally ask the teens if they have to go potty instead of to the restroom, or offer to cut their pancakes for them. My mind is trapped in preschool-land, and has been for the last 15 years since my first child was born.
Then there’s this part: I expect more from my little people at times because I think they should have “gotten” it by now. When I’ve only just begun teaching them something. It seems like I’ve been teaching “someone” that lesson for years, well… because I have. Just not this particular child. My mind is a mess.
Please tell me you get as mixed up as I do.
Parenting different age groups is a tricky endeavor. But do you know what my favorite part is?
Seeing my big kids fall in love with their younger siblings. It’s so beautiful. Behind the parts I adore about having big kids and little kids, there are parts that scare me a bit too.
At times I think my bigger kids will end up resenting the way God designed our family. It’s big, it’s loud, sharing space is mandatory, the dishes and laundry never end, and there isn’t much quiet unless you head outside by yourself. Which we sometimes have to do to find some peace.
My worries about my kids despising our life fade away when I see them in action. They’re really great kids. They seem to be thriving, even though it’s crazier around here than I’d like. Even so, is it really my responsibility if they despise our life or not? This life we’re living for the Lord, following His lead? Should I really concern myself about all that?
No, it isn’t and I shouldn’t. Our kids have their own free will, their own chance to practice patience and selfless giving they’re learning so much about. So I’m not responsible for their reaction to our life. I’m responsible to lead them toward Jesus. I’m responsible to love, teach, and train. But I’m not responsible for their response to it all.
That’s a comfort. It still stings to think they might not look back and have warm, fuzzy and appreciative feelings about their growing up years, when their parents worked tirelessly to hold it all together, while depending on the Lord for every second of it. It hurts most that they might not end up trusting Jesus as their Savior.
But do I really want to live my life as an outcome manager? We’re pretty good at this, aren’t we? We like to plan for and find solace in our proposed good outcomes. I’m learning that outcomes aren’t meant to be managed by the likes of us. Author Emily P. Freeman really got me thinking about this concept in her book A Million Little Ways. It’s a book I come back to time and again.
Will our kids end up resenting their growing up years? Maybe.
All the outcomes become less important as we lay our worries at the feet of Jesus, trusting the outcomes to Him. It’s truly the only way to have peace about any of it, and peace is an outcome I can get behind.