29 Nov 2015

You are the best parents for your child(ren): enjoying it.

I love how Joy supplants everything.

credit: goongkrazy.wordpress.com

Cannot quite remember the labour pains? The nasty and awkward breastfeeding / bathing moments? The long nights? The hundredth time you read that story?

With a mighty teen and a little warrior at 15 and 10, I am well into a new season of mothering for sure. And the Joy has supplanted the pains. Each one. Even now. The teen angst, the motivational mountains, the clean-room war-zone... not that they are over; but they are now rhythm and you learn to Rock and roll with it! How?

Here are 3 survive-into-Joy ways I found:

#1 It's going to happen - again

You ever feel like some days are so deja vu? You have already talked about it, laid down some rules..perhaps you shed a tear or more, prayed... and you thought 'ah, now let's move on'.. and it happens again! The same snarky remark, the attitude, the mess, the disrespect, the sloth and on... None of us grow or change by sheer reasoning. It takes far more. It certainly takes time, loads of it. So, you haven't failed to communicate, care or more. It's just the nature of the things.

Growth takes time, it takes protection, it takes practice.

So don't let every battle be a Waterloo or a watershed. In fact, parenting is not about winning battles but building lives. So keep that goal before you. Don't spend your precious energies trimming leaves for presentation when what you really need to fight are these enemies of the soul -

unresolved anger,
deep sadness,
repeated sin.

All behaviours come from a deeper place; so seek to know what is going on there and work your way towards it. The health will emerge - from the roots out.

And the Joy? From knowing there is a Gardener who knows our knotty roots well enough to heal and strengthen them. 

#2 Let your spouse take the heat too

Most moms, especially stay-at-home ones tend to shoulder so much of the family we forget we have a comrade. Like us, fathers did not really come armed and ready. But it's a catch-22 when we don't give them a chance to learn, practice and sharpen their abilities.

I have had my fair share (and still do) of being questioned, blamed, even berated! And I do deserve it because I have lost it, lashed out, licked my wounds; all three not really constructive ya. So I have learnt to notice my emotional gauge and signal for help:

whatsapp: not good today, expect some damage. pls pray.
SMS: so dog-tired! the kids are so stupid! when will they learn? Am still ok though.
verbals: need to pray, please take over ~ don't need to worry; he/she/they have to learn to sort it out. I am hiding for a while to recover.

To my surprise; spouse steps up! To be honest, he rarely does exactly what I hope: sprinkle magic dust on the kids and turn them into angels. But he drags me out of the house for coffee. He asks if I am alright/alive/spiritually ok. He scolds the kids! He takes over for a bit. He prays for me.

The Joy? When you know that even though you are sometimes awkward, disagreeing, impatient; there's We not just me.

#3 Be grateful for the good, not greedy for the perfect

With little kids, we have so much control that we can get suckered into thinking we forever hold all the strings of control. They gladly go most places, try most things and want totally to please you! Sure there are tantrums and meltdowns; but mother-influence is pretty mighty. Just recently, my son quipped, "it takes a genius to be a mom" and I heartily approved!

Then, they grow older, and all you have got are the purse-strings and the heartstrings. This is the time when your soul is being trained to be discerning; because you can plan to the hilt but it is just not going to go the way you want. There are preferences, moods, peer pressure, schoolwork etc. to contend with. So you have to be able to taste and delight in the morsels of closeness, empathy, respect, diligence, honesty, discipline, godliness ...

It is also the time to be self-controlled to be grateful and not grate on about what else is lacking. No soul ever thrived under condemnation. All life is coaxed into fullness that begins with acceptance.

Then Joy begins to bubble to the surface and breaks the tension. You will feel much more relaxed about your parenting - and enjoy it.

Christmas is near, and this is the angelic beckoning -

"I bring you good new of great Joy!"

All our daily, lesser and so essential joys beat a trail to this Great Joy.

ENJOY = EN(ter) into JOY my friends!

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