Welcome to the World of Crazy where you can almost always hear shrill screams (whether from pain or laughter….sometimes you just can’t tell) and unending tattling. Tears from owies that appear out of seeming imagination. Dishes that pile endlessly and beg for more of my time like they were addicted to me. Meals are made with love (or I went through drive through to get them with just as much love), but still…somehow…amazingly….the little occupants of the land still manage to complain about The Food! This is a land where “laundry” and “ceaseless” seem to pair up just as nicely as “clean minivan” and “never”. Monkey sounds, cougars chasing elephants on wooden floors, blanket forts and the messes that never get cleaned up by the same party that made them.
Missing puzzle pieces, broken dishes, and never a day without a hurt feeling or a lost treasure.
Sometimes the tears are the little persons’ and sometimes….they are mine.
Sometimes, though I love my life, I forget that I love it and somehow I expect it to be different.
That’s when the Crazy really sets in.
As shocked as I am that they can stub their toe while walking straight on a flat surface and cry buckets over it, I allow myself to become just as floored that I have to remind them every day to do the Very. Same. Things.
“Guys! The chores never change! You will always have to unload the dishes, feed the dog, and clean your rooms before school each morning!”
I walk away shaking my head and wondering why they can’t remember such simple, repeated tasks and I wonder how it is that I could be failing them so much. I go to shower and get ready for another day, closing the door behind me only to have it open again a half second later. I cringe… Why?!? Knock before opening. Knock before opening. Knock before opening. Not Hard! Respect boundaries. Respect boundaries. Respect boundaries. Not Hard!!
I’m allowed to shower alone!
See, what happened here isn’t that we are all living in this non-sensical Land of Crazy…it has an inhabitant of one.
Me. The Mom.
The land where we all live out life, the land where the laundry piles, the cereal is always on the floor, and the minivan smells like something died in it…
This is the Land of Real Life.
When I choose to heap unrealistic expectations on the little persons and myself (like I should attain to an invisible plateau where I suddenly don’t have to parent anymore), I leave the land of Real Life and walk right into the distorted discouraging World of Crazy.
These unrealistic expectations start small, but they build in a hurry and wreck havoc in their wake.
Here’s an example of mine in the last week:
I shouldn’t have to constantly be putting away my necklaces and bracelets when I didn’t take them out.
Children should not cry and throw themselves on the floor, writhing in pain over owies that wouldn’t even faze me.
Rooms should be perpetually clean (because I constantly remind children to clean them).
I should never step on a Lego (because I am always telling children to pick them up).
Bathrooms should never be filled with dirty clothes and muddy shoes (because of my constant reminders to pick them up).
I should never have to walk on cinnamon sugar spilled on the floor, see a syrup pool on the breakfast table, or find a screen in the hands of a child in the morning hours, because they ALL KNOW THE RULES and they should all follow them.
But that’s not fair.
God didn’t give me the job of parenting so that I could work for a few years and then reap the rewards of a blissful plateau where I no longer have to parent.
Parenting never ends, especially not when I have a 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 year old. Do I deserve to not have to remind my children of what to do and what not to do so that I can continuously have a “perfect” day? No…. That’s like saying, I went through all the work of labor, so someone else should have to care for my newborn now. Or, it’s like saying that I ran for 20.2 miles of my marathon, so I’ll just stop and drink sweet tea and sit in the Jacuzzi for the remaining 6 miles. Ummm, no….
No one would say that I finished the marathon.
And so it is with parenting. When I’m in the throes of it, no matter the stage, no matter the age, the race simply isn’t over yet. Will there be some sweet day when I won’t have to remind little hands to pick up their Legos anymore? Will there come a glorious morning of silence when I will not need to remind little voices to stop arguing about the dishes and just do them? Yes, but by then, they won’t play with Legos anymore and I will have to do my own dishes because, by then, that leg of my parenting race will be over. Little feet won’t pound my wood floor like elephants on parade, I will shower alone, and I won’t have to step on the breaks six times for scooters and bikes left in the driveway.
The littles will be big
The bikes will be gone
The laundry piles will be small
The cookie cereal will never grace our pantry again (thank goodness!)
On that day, I will not have wandered aimlessly into Crazy, I will be in the Land of Real Life and I will be staring college and weddings and grandbabies in the eye. On that day, I want to be glad that I didn’t head into the Land of Crazy because I put “crazy expectations” on my children and opened wide the door for discouragement to ruin me and the sweet time I have with these precious little ones whose hearts the Loving Father has entrusted to me to mold, to care for, to love, and, yes…to parent.
I am a mom.
I was given this job for a purpose.
I was entrusted with children intentionally.
Not because I’m awesome, but because I need to learn just as much as they do about following Jesus and trusting Him to give me the power I need to make it another day in the Land of Real Life. My kids need Jesus’ power to be patient with me and I need Him for the same thing in reverse. This is real life and I wouldn’t trade it for anything, except maybe the occasional vacation 🙂