I never used to be the kind of mom I am turning out to be. I have been one big work in progress.
When my first son was born I was an OCD kinda mother. Everything had to be perfect. We tried the babwise stuff (because everyone told us it was the way to raise the perfect kid), had a meticulously clean baby at all times, baby food in a jar was a no-no, gave my poor mother a list from here to kingdom come of what NOT to do with my bundle of joy every time he spent the night at her house, always had a neat home, never allowed my baby to sleep in our bed, maintained a boot camp routine, and read every parenting book known to man. I liked perfection.
Yup–I had the mothering thing all figured out. Or so I thought.
But something has happened as the years have ticked by.
God blessed us with our second child. And our third. And forth. And fifth. And then in His amazingness He gave us a double blessing of two at one time.
Over the years I have changed, as we all do. Anthony and I realized very quickly that we were so not the babywise kind of parents. While it works fabulously for many parents I know, it ended up being more of stress than a blessing for us. We tossed the idea pretty quickly and learned to follow our gut instincts when it comes to raising our children. We began looking to the Word of God for every instruction that we required, and to parenting books less. Don’t get me wrong, I have read some incredible parenting books that have been so beneficial in giving us tools to raise our children, but they are not the be-all-and-end-all. God gave us everything we need to navigate life and to parent in His Word.
With all that being said, I did have to chuckle at the some of the comments on my last post with Harper covered in candy cane. You see, there was absolutely a time in my life when seeing her such a sticky mess would have sent me into a cleaning mode frenzy. Think a mother on a major caffeine rush. The little lovie would have been bathed and scrubbed down in a flash to remove all stickiness. All dirty clothes would have been pre-soaked to ensure that every stain was efficiently removed. And every candy cane within her reach would have been lifted to higher ground to prevent a repeat occurrence.
That was then.
But this is now.
Instead of switching into high gear to clean–I reach for the camera to capture the memory.
Instead of rushing to fix the messiness before my eyes–I allow her to savor every bite of her prized piece of candy stolen from her brother. And then I clean up.
My priorities certainly have changed.
God has really had to do a work in my heart over the years. My perfectionist ways have had to go out of the window. My desire to always have a neat home have had to be put on the back burner in this season of having quite a few small children. Any attempts to wear make-up every day and have perfect hair are now just a big whatever to me. Mommy sweats are working out just fine for me on most days. My kids don’t care about what I look like. They love me just the way I am.
Mothering is something that I have had to get in my heart. I have had to learn how to be a mom, and not just do the mothering thing. It is easy for me to rush around planning meals, cooking them, keep the house relatively decent, make sure that my kids are clothed and have their physical needs taken care of. That’s the easy part of being “Mom” for me. I like being organized and having all my ducks in a row. It’s very natural and easy for me to get my kids clean in a wink when they end up a sugary mess. But being a mother, well, that part I have had to learn, with the gentle guidance of the Lord. Allowing my children to get sticky and messy (and know that the clean up can wait) and actually enjoying moments like these has taken me years. I have had learn to love more, snuggle more, be less distracted by things that really don’t matter…and stress less about things that can wait.
I want to allow my children to be children. I want them to create amazing memories of their years in our home. I never want them to look back and remember that mom was uptight about her fancy possessions being broken or expensive clothes being ruined by a spill. Those things just don’t matter to me anymore. They have zero importance in the bigger picture. I want my children to jump in puddles, play in the mud, slide down sand dunes and get dirty, go barefoot as often as possible, and just be children for as long as they possibly can. I don’t want them to grow up too quickly.
And so when precious little Harper gets covered in slobbery candy from head to toe, or when she finds a bag of flour in the pantry and accidentally drops it on the floor, or when she picks up a marker and makes pretty designs all over her chubby little hands…whatever! It will all [eventually] get taken care of. The mess will get cleaned up.
Learning to laugh more, love passionately, live purposefully…and not sweat the small stuff. Sometimes I get it right–others I fail miserably.
Learning to savor the sweet moments when they happen…even when they are messy, sticky, and dirty.
Because eighteen years fly by way too quickly, and I don’t want to miss out on a single thing.