I think in a lot of ways, we’ve all been over-complicating things a little bit.
We look at the mess with despair. We break up another fight and we wonder why they’re not GETTING IT. We infrequently get to have a real conversation with our spouse and we feel that distance. We want to spend more time with all the people we like, but logistically, it’s just problematic with schedules, naps, tantrums, and dinner to make. Are your kids happy? Are they going to get into a good college? How in the world will you pay for that? How in the world will you pay for it if your van breaks down or your water heater craps out? How could you possibly cram another kid into the mix and potty train the one who is so obviously ready?
Can I encourage you for one wee little minute?
Everything is going to be OK.
You’re nailing it. You’re crushing it. Don’t worry about the pile of laundry. Start a load when you finish reading this. Your kids are happy. They’re fed. They’re learning social skills because you’re teaching them. Text your friend that you’ve been thinking about her, that you miss her. Unload the dishwasher. Realize that things ARE NOT going to be perfect and that’s OK. You’re not perfect. Anyone who expects that is ridiculous. God made you and sustains your literal breath all day long and he knows you’re not perfect and that you’re struggling. That’s why he sent Jesus. So look at your kid. Smile at her. Tell her you love her. Figure out what you’re going to have for lunch. Do your day the best you can. Pray for help in the midst of hard moments. (A simple “Help!” under your breath is more than sufficient. Then thank God for his grace in that moment that you recognize you need help and go from there. What does a grace-filled response look like in that moment? Clean up the urine or the milk. Hug the crying kid. Respond sweetly like you’d need if you forgot to do that thing that someone really needed.)
We all need perspective.
It feels hard. That’s OK. Just because we don’t have to walk 3 miles every day to get water for our family doesn’t mean it’s not hard when someone cries through every single meal for a week straight. Yes, it’s a first-world problem, but it’s still a problem. Work to fix it. Train through it. Take a breath. Most of us don’t worry about being sex-trafficked or watching our child perish from a curable disease or being under constant threat of war. We don’t worry about IF we’ll have food, but what combo will cause the fewest fits. And then we worry that our kids are growing up too entitled and we lob a comment at them about other kids not having enough food EVER. This world is wrecked. But Jesus is also making it new, so all is not lost. Be the change in your day. If you’ve been in a funk today, in your brain list 5 things you’re grateful for. Then hug your kids until they wriggle away. Cover their faces in kisses until you’re both giggling.
We don’t get to decide all the things that happen, but we do get to decide how we respond to them. Make sure you’re not making it worse for yourself and the people you love.
Keep your priorities straight. Put away your phone. Read a stack of books to your kid. Do you know why old people keep telling you it’s going to go by fast? Because it is. And they wish they got to be around little kids more. So we need the constant reminder to savor our littles. But sometimes we need breaks from them. Because little kids get clingy and needy and annoying. Usually at the worst times. I make dinner multiple nights each week while someone cries.
Keep doing the things that are working for you. Think about the things that are a hot mess and see if you can come up with a better way. I’m awesome at practical solutions. Comment about what’s not working and we’ll work on it together. Use the internet to make your life better. I wasn’t planning on doing this, but I want to help you because there are some ways I can and I often need help, too, so here are some free tools:
- Disheroo.com is a free meal planning site that I built and run. It has a standard plan, but you can customize it however you want. Adding your own meals is a snap.
- OneLineWord.com is a free Bible reading tool that I also built and run. I built it to make reading your Bible convenient while working out, but it works just as well while eating a bagel and drinking coffee.