Thursday, January 29, 2009

Mellow Motherhood

Sometimes it catches me off guard.

I'm speaking of the changes that come in one's emotional state once one passes a certain age.

I'm 53 and I still have 7 children at home. My oldest two are 16 and my youngest two are 10. So, I live with 7 children all born within a 6 year time span. No twins. (I guess God thought that would make it too easy.)

Seven children to feed. Seven children to clothe (which includes the procuring of the garments, then the maintenance, cleaning, and locating of said garments.) Seven children to educate (thank you, thank you, thank you Christ Classical Academy!) Seven children to train.

Those first three, the feeding, clothing, and educating have been challenging - yet a challenge I enthusiastically embrace and for the most part enjoy.

Success in feeding is measurable. They gain weight and they grow taller. They stay healthy (except for that one appendix), they don't get cavities, and they move their bowels daily. (That last one's for you, MOM. See..I was listening!)

Clothing them is fun. Up to about age 12. And I know it's probably a genetic flaw, but I really enjoy doing laundry.

Educating them....Again, I love that part. For the first time in 23 years all of my children are in school - and I'm jealous of their teachers. I miss homeschooling terribly. But I absolutely love the education they are getting. (I just wish it could be done in 2-3 days a week, or even 5 half-days....But I greatly Digress.)

It's the training part that has always kept me on Xanax. (And before there was Xanax, there was chocolate and screaming, and the occasional purse-throwing - sorry, Shep! I still have nightmares about that, I really do.)

Training a child is such a slow process. It's invisible really. You use your Bible. You make cute charts. You lecture. You praise. You role model. You role play. And still ..... They forget. Or worse.

Today when the kids left for school, I went into the dining room and saw this:

Andrew had swept, but forgotten to pick up the pile. He's done this WAY TOO MANY times.

Ten years ago I would have either (a) left it there to show him later, accompanied by an appropriate punishment, (b) made him do it over, along with several more rooms for "practice", or (c) gone and picked him up from school and brought him home to Finish The Job!.

But today when I saw it - - I laughed. Then I envisioned him sweeping the floor while looking at the pictures on the wall, or the birds outside, or anything but what he was doing. And I thought about his cute, sheepish smile. Then I laughed again and felt that warm, happy feeling of motherhood that accompanies me now that I know how fast the time will come when I have no one to train - - - and no crumbs on the floor (and no sticks! Do not ask me how sticks got in the breakfast pile of crumbs. I did not serve scrambled eggs with a side of sticks!)

Then I did the natural thing and got my camera, laid on the floor to get a good angle, and took a picture of it. And then I swept up the pile and got on with my day.

I'm not saying a mom should overlook poorly done work. (I'm not insane....just mellow.) I still want children who are thorough and diligent and have a good work ethic.

I just know there's plenty of time for that. And I know it comes slowly, but surely.

I'll make a mental note to try and check on him tonight when he sweeps again - and I'll either tell him how much I appreciate his doing a thorough job, or I'll remind him (yet again) to pick up the pile.

And I'll pray for him. And for me. That we will both do our work heartily, as unto the Lord and not unto men. It is the Lord Christ whom we serve. Our reward will be in Heaven - and it will not be based on how clean our floors were.

(reminder to my older children....The ones who did not have a Mellow Mother)

God is Sovereign. You had exactly the mother you needed at the time you were growing up. He must've known you needed the uptight, nit-picking, obsessive- yet loving, Only-trying-to-do-her-best Mama that you had. And No! You can't move back home now that I'm senile.)


Anonymous said...

Good post dear wife, a great reminder of the "half-empty" versus "half-full" choices we have day-in and day-out with the guys. Keep up the ggod work and good posts. Love dado

jodi said...

maybe he was dreaming of his incredible speech victory and wondering why his mother hasn't posted it on youtube (or Godtube!) yet for his dear friends/siblings who are not local anymore.....

and i think bo meant to say Godwork, because that *is* what you're doing...

Krista said...

I needed to read this today.

Moriah @ Please Pass the Salt said...

The sticks - lol - the sticks!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so, so much! Your post was just what I needed today - I thank you and my children do too (they just don't know it yet!). Brielle

Meg in Tally said...

Too funny, Princess! Not being the mom of boys...I always just had sticks. But I laughed at your sticks in your pretty, lovely decorated home!

lea said...

whenever i let something "slide" by like that, i think of all the times that God has swept up my pile of trash (which has big sticks in it too, usually the planks from my own eyes).

there are also many times that He has required me to sweep up that pile, and resweep it, and keep on sweeping and sweeping...

but there are those times when i look back on HUGE messes that i made when i should have had to sweep and sweep over and over and He just did the clean up behind me and it wasn't until much later did i realize the incredible gift of grace.

God gives grace sometimes and so should we as mothers. God requires that we clean up the mess ourselves sometimes and so should we as mothers.

the hard part is that we aren't God and we sometimes don't know when to do which kind of clean up... so we pray. and sometimes, very rarely, but sometimes... i think we get it right...

Laura said...

Great post. I needed the encouragement to be more mellow with the kiddos.

Mama Weso said...

Aw, your hubby commented on your post. I love that. And I love that you are mellow because it makes the rest of have hope for one day measuring up ... although my house will never in a million years be as well decorated. I'd like to hear the speech too so if you do post it somewhere, let us know!

Kelley said...

Haha...that is hilarious. And something for us uptight, ocd newer mothers to keep in mind. Great post!

hunter said...

option C on the pile of stuff would have been to make him eat it. i think that's what you were doing when i was sweeping the floors.

Pretty Organizer said...

Girl, (and yes, I can say that to a spry 53 year old lady with 7 at home)you've got it figured out. We start out so wound up and ready to spring at every little thing (and wound up with energy to do everything). It's so easy to forget these are children we're raising and to stop and consider their perspective. What a gem you are. IT's nice to find another blogger out there with more children than me!

Hey just a reminder about the Kids Storage Party going on over at on Wednesday this week. I KNOW you have a few tricks to share and plenty of experience to distill upon us! Take a few snapshots and draft up a post for us all to be amazed at! I'll be looking for you lady!

Pretty Organizer

allhisblessings said...

Wonderful and timely post. Don't we all need a reminder to enjoy the day because it's gone tomorrow?

I just have to say, I'm one of those whose mother didn't begin her mellow meds until I was nearly grown. Now she's raising two more young'uns who will probably never have to go get Dad's belt for a spanking. Soooo unfair! :)