*Disclaimer: This is NOT an everyday activity. Nor every week. So please do not put that kind of pressure on yourself or get the wrong impression on what kind of mother I am. This was brought on by desperation & divine providence. Read on to find out more…
Thursday all my laziness as a mother came crashing down on me. For months I had let myself get lax on Lou’s behavior. Or more accurately, I spent more time barking orders at her & berating her when she messed up than I did teaching & training her in the way she should go. And then Thursday afternoon happened. She was crying. I was crying. I called in the calvary to come home & rescue us (Daddy, our hero). After more tears were shed, we decided on a plan of action. Or non-action on Lou’s part. We instituted complete lock down. She kept her books, crayons and puzzles. Everything else was packed away in a closet. And no more playing with the neighbors for a while (this relationship was part of the terrible episode). Operation simplify and build up what has been torn down was in full force.
It just so happens that earlier in the day (before the incident), I had texted an all-call for any mama friends interested in meeting for coffee at Starbucks that evening. Only one was available. The exact one I needed that night. Even though she is a fairly new friend, I risked it all & was very real with her. And it just so happens that she has walked a similar road with one of her girls as well. What a blessing to laugh & cry & celebrate the amazing beings that we have been charged in raising. She knew. She really knew. And I was no longer alone.
Then Saturday arrives along with a baby shower for another sweet friend. What a beautiful experience as we sat around the living room praying our blessings over this precious little girl on the way & her mama. Perspective is a wonderful gift. Although me being the social pariah that I am, when someone asks me how I am doing I struggle at the pretending part. So I was honest about my week. And wouldn’t ya know, there were others mamas there that have difficult children too.
And I was reminded once again of the danger of falling prey to the lies of social media. How easy it is to convince yourself that you are the only one whose child acts like a depraved lunatic on occasion. Who might have the verses about doing all things without complaining or disputing & obeying their parents in all things memorized in their heads, but have yet to allow it to penetrate their hearts & direct their actions. And how isolating that is. And dangerous for the child’s sake. Because operating in that lie makes you more prone to unrealistic expectations for both yourself & your children. After all, they are effected by the fall too. And they are people. And they are little. Yes, little people on a journey. With us as their guides. But we are not alone.
And don’t even get me started on church that Sunday. Have to save that for another day. But, I am also in the midst of taking a photography class online called, wait for it, The Inspired Home. And the past week’s lesson was focused on being present, documenting life and being a creative parent. And the class is full of amazingly talented and creative mamas, including the wonderfully sweet & wise instructor. While I do not aspire to be these women (my talents & gifts are in a different capacity), but I am blessed to learn from them and to see how I might incorporate creativity into my parenting & lifestyle and use it to balance my own God-given strengths.
Although I do not think that children need to always be entertained by the adults in their life, it has been amazing to see how a little bit of mama(or daddy)-led adventure & wonder and less “stuff” has opened the door for Lou to attempt more creative things on her own. And the contentment & peace it has brought to our home.
So the idea to build a fort with twinkle lights on mama’s bed so we could cuddle & watch a movie was inspired by some of the mamas in my class, but it was needed because of the week we had just walked together and the lessons we are learning. This was day 4 of the lock down, and Lou had just earned back a few toys. The funny thing is she didn’t play with those toys until the next morning. Instead, when she has had a moment to herself with nothing to do, I find her in the playroom coloring or working on hidden pictures. And, I am so honored when she asks me to join her there. And thank God, I am not alone. I have her.
“The mother (or father) who takes pains to endow her children with good habits secures for herself smooth and easy days” ~ Charlotte Mason.