Sunday, February 9, 2014

How to Love Your Kids

A few weeks ago a friend posted a link on Facebook to a mommy blog from a woman trying to calm our stress-filled hearts with reassurances. It was an article encouraging moms to stop getting lost in their stresses and realize that truly, the only things we MUST do is love God and love our kids. That’s it.

Pardon my French, but bull crap.

While that delightful platitude does contain a morsel of truth, it is an oversimplification for a world craving easy answers. The truth it contains is that these are the two most important things we must do. As a Christian mom, my world will be calmer, more peaceful, enhanced by wisdom, and all around better if I love God with all my heart. The Bible is full of that promise and I have seen it played out in my life.

But really? To tell us ALL we need to do is love our kids?

Tell that to my exhausted head tonight while I sit and wait for gluten-free bread to finish in the bread machine because I forgot to bake it earlier in the day and my son will need lunch tomorrow. I’m sure a hug won’t fill his tummy tomorrow at the lunch table in middle school.

Tell that to piles of unwashed laundry downstairs and the emptying drawers my kids are going to be scraping the bottom of to have something to wear in the morning. I’m caught up enough that they do have something to wear. But seriously, a kiss on the forehead is not going to clean those clothes.

Tell that to the hectic schedule of activities that needs to be managed or the rapidly-emptying cupboard and fridge that is going to need to be refilled with the dreaded trip to Walmart. These growing kids of mine like to eat…and OFTEN! (And I don’t wanna go back to Walmart this week. And you can’t make me! Ok. I know. I’ll go back.)

Tell that to the budget I need to sit down and craft this week so I make sure I can provide for their needs in a wise way. Those clothes my daughter needed today weren’t free. I have to make sure I have space for them and a few other things in that budget.

Exhausted moms don’t need oversimplifications of our hectic lives.
I will concede that we often need to be reminded to keep the main thing, the main thing. And perhaps a bit of cynicism is tainting my view this evening as I wait for that blessed bread machine to beep already. But a realistic view shows us moms and dads must demonstrate our love for our kids in real, tangible, sometimes exhaustingly stress-filled ways.

We must cook and clean and talk with them every day. We must help them learn things like responsibility and love and the essentials of our faith. We must feed them healthy food and spend time researching exactly WHAT that is (‘cause seriously I really don’t know anymore). We must make sure they are safe and they don’t spend too much time in front of screens. We must help them with homework and, occasionally, go to bat for them with a teacher or coach. And we must drive them 828 miles this week. Seriously I’m getting way too comfortable in my minivan. I do so very much driving.

THAT is a lot more than just remembering to love them.

So as I hear that bread machine finally beep, I'll offer my thanks, dear mommy blogger, for the kindly poetic words (and the good chuckle they gave me). Maybe they will help me remember to stop in the craziness and hug these little blessings more often. Maybe they will help me remember to carve out time to pray and read my Bible. But if it’s all the same to you, I’ve got a really big to-do list waiting for me in the morning and I think I need to come at it with eyes wide open and a big cup of tea.

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