On Sunday, my 16-month-old girl ate French fries for two meals. I did throw in some yogurt-covered raisins for dinner. Obviously, that’s not our norm, but, y’all, I’ve been emotionally exhausted lately. We had a weird Sunday with more coming and going than usual. Plus I picked a fight with my husband over dumb details that were frustrating me.
I’m a details person, so I sometimes lose sight of the big picture.
(Here’s where I say, Greg was right when he said, “These things you’re mad about don’t really matter.” I know. I know.)
Anyway, so, nobody warned me how parenting three kids in three different seasons of life was exhausting and challenging. (It reminds me of when nobody reminded me how something hormonal and emotional happens when children turn 4 years old …)
I’ve got a fourth-grader who is definitely entering a new season that requires many attitude adjustments – on her part and mine. I’ve got a 7-year-old boy who is learning when it’s appropriate to entertain whoever is looking and when it’s time to stop. At least I hope he’s learning that and, of course, how not everyone appreciates fart sounds. Then there’s the toddler who is content to eat French fries and quietly get into every drawer and cabinet in our house.
Oh, and, honestly, I too often think about how if they would all do what I asked when I asked and defaulted to my ways of processing life, then life would be easier.
Guess what? They’re not going to – not now, not when they’re older, and not when they’re adults trying to figure out their own families. We’ve all got our different preferences and personalities. We’re all extroverted to some degree, but we all require refueling in different ways. We organize differently and have different priorities when we’re done working and it’s time to play.
“Differences aren’t labels. They’re not excuses. They’re most certainly not deficiencies. Differences are the personality and temperament traits that describe how we process the world around us. We start by understanding ourselves first and then we move to understand our spouse better. … Marriage (and parenting) challenges happen when we think the way we do things is the right way or the only way.”
– From “No More Perfect Marriages” by Mark & Jill Savage
I’m a details person who thinks I know the right way to do just about anything – even the things I really don’t know anything about. Sometimes it seems like confidence, but, really, deep down I know it’s pride.
That makes me lose sight of the big picture.
I’ve tried to argue my kids into submission. I’ve tried to boss them around because I’m the mom. I’ve made suggestions that sounded more like demands.
And I’ve fallen on my face and had to look up to realize God’s created a family with five different, imperfect human beings.
“Pride is a thief. It robs us of our joy because we are obsessed with believing we deserve something better than what we have. It cheats us of God’s plan for our life because we demand our own way. Pride robs us of knowledge because we already know it all. It keeps us from experiencing healing because we refuse to forgive, and we wouldn’t dream of admitting we are wrong. It steals intimacy from our relationship with God because ‘I can do it myself.’ It damages relationships with others because ‘I’m right and you’re wrong.’ It keeps us from experiencing emotional depth in our marriage because we are unwilling to be honest and transparent. More than anything, pride wraps a tight chain around our heart, keeping us bound up with anger, demands, and a spirit of unforgiveness. It poisons and robs us of the joys of life.”
– From “No More Perfect Marriages” by Mark & Jill Savage
My pride has robbed some joy around here, and
I’m ready to restore order by loosening my grip.
I’m choosing joy again today. I’m noticing the details that matter and letting go of the ones that are distractions. I’m believing in the big picture that God has already established and realizing we each – even as we navigate some new seasons with the kids – have something unique to offer to each other.
Well, yes, I did use quotes from a marriage book in a post on parenting. But that’s how it going around here – all the things are mashed together in my mind and I’m grateful for wisdom in these pages of this new book from Mark & Jill Savage. “No More Perfect Marriages” may aim to help marriages, and it does that well, but it’s helping this momma too. I officially reviewed the book here.
Joanne Viola says
Kristin, so much truth to digest today from this post. Those are wonderful quotes from the book. Pride is a thief in more ways than we realize. May we all take time to humbly permit God to uproot any traces from our hearts, so that joy will flow in our lives in abundance. Blessings, friend.
I’m probably going to need some more time to digest it myself. 🙂 The book struck me deeply in so many areas of life and I’m grateful for all the wisdom in all the many great books out there. And this right here? “May we all take time to humbly permit God to uproot any traces from our hearts, so that joy will flow in our lives in abundance.” It’s exactly what my heart needed today. So thank you, Joanne.
Michele Morin says
Parenting and marriage are all cooking together here as well, and I am also one of those women who gets stuck on a detail or two and can’t let it go — until I see what it’s doing to those around me and to my own heart.
Thanks for your honesty, and may we both trust for grace to know when we’re looking at a detail that deserves our wild eyed attention — and when we’re not!
I’m thankful for the new mercies every morning (and moment!) while I’m learning these things. You know it’s a hard work to let go of our unhealthy but natural tendencies. Thank you for being here, Michele!
Susan Shipe says
Man, girl, this was a packed post. And, you are on the right track if you are going to loose the grip on prIde. (Note the middle letter). All the things you wrote here are exactly why God gave me the word SUFFICIENT for 2017. Sufficient for the day is its trouble BUT (praise His Name) more sufficient is His grace to sustain us through the trouble. DON’T POSTPONE THE JOY!!!! (((xo))) P.S. Being the mom of two boys? Farts never go away and they never cease to be a tool of entertainment – do not ask me to explain.
Okay, so, maybe we’ll work on the timing of the fart references … 🙂 Seriously, thank you for your encouragement, today and so many other days. Don’t postpone the joy. I needed that reminder yet again today. I love having you here, Susan! xo
Sue Donaldson says
makes perfect sense to me: marriage book quotes on parenting – it all is mashed together like mashed potatoes and garlic and streaming butter – and you are doing a great job!
Um, now I want some mashed potatoes … 🙂 Thanks for being here, Sue!
Yeah, this is definitely me. Not so much in marriage but definitely in parenting. Listen to me because I’m mom and I say so. I don’t want that to be the norm! Thanks for sharing all this 🙂
Changing the norm is hard work, but it always proves worth it. Thanks for coming along side me here, Katie, so I remember I’m not alone.
Tiffany Parry says
Oy vey – how I wish we could have coffee – we could swap some “I wish they did it my way” stories. Grace upon grace, friend. I like to try to fit everything into my type A box too, and life just does not comply. Like you, over the years, with age, experience, and gray hair, I’ve learned to bite my tongue and pick my battles. Sometimes I scream into a pillow, but that’s another story. 😉 Love you, and love your heart for your family. Keep it up mama – you are doing kingdom work!
Me too, friend, me too. Until that happens, I’m grateful for your encouragement and support here. xo
Those quotes may have been from a marriage book, but they certainly apply to parenting, too. I can identify with you in that we are all different. I had 7 kids and each one has their own unique personalities and each one had to be dealt with differently in some things. 🙂 Parenting is hard, but it sure is worth it!
Blessings to you!
I didn’t realize you had 7 kids – how fun! And, yes, I’m sure you were always going different ways with the different people and their personalities! Thanks for being here, Gayl!
Tracey Cross says
Loved this post Kristin – thank you !!
Thank you, Tracey!