humility note

Having kids changes us. Humility asks us to accept this as a universal truth of motherhood.

As new-found love swells in our heart, the beautiful responsibility of caring for another human being who is totally dependent on us rocks our world. Initially my transformation was for the better, but a short season existed (glass half full) when children made me a little for the worse. Having three kids in three and a half years will do that to you. Case in point, the following snippet from my journal:

12-5-2002

I came home from the store tonight and there was a burning candle, a glass of pink milk, and a beautiful card from Johnny on the kitchen counter. He was thanking me for setting such a good example lately by not yelling at him and the other two kids.

My son was eight years-old. I was thirty-two. Yes, as in thirty-two years-old.

Something’s off kilter when a mere 3rd grader praises his adult mother with candles and sweet nothings for keeping her voice down. The key word in the journal entry is lately, which infers my behavior before lately must have been Dr. Phil worthy.

Ouch.

When it comes to extolling good behavior shouldn’t the roles in a parent/child relationship be reversed? You would think, but then there’s my scenario and apparently my Swiss cheese mothering boasted some mean-sized holes.

It takes a great deal of humility to accept the fact God blesses us with children for a very specific purpose. Children come into our lives to teach. And teach they do.

One day we wake up and realize we are inundated with poopy pants, whining toddlers, and machine-like beings that for some strange reason don’t require ten hours of sleep like normal humans. Go figure. We look in the mirror and beg our reflection to explain what we have gotten ourselves into.

Two of my children liked to paint with the contents of their Pampers, another thought reading a book meant tearing out all the pages. One day when my boys were “taking a nap” they decided to turn the second floor of our home into a makeshift swimming pool. Buckets upon buckets of water hauled from the tub and dumped on the carpet.

humble pieWe enter into the parenting gig expecting to be our offspring’s primary instructors of life, the voice of all reason, and connoisseurs of the finest wisdom. But our self-proclaimed superstar status risks taking a major hit each time our children bewilder us with behaviors and actions not listed in the bestselling, What to Expect When You’re Expecting

Children turn our worlds upside down. Or maybe right side up. Over time we realize parenting molds us into a jack of all trades but a master of none. Humbling? Yes. Feel-good story of mothering? Not so much.

I have three teachers under my roof God uniquely designed and placed in our family to point out massive flaws in my character. You know God, always Mr. Generosity. He blessed me with a master of patience, a guru of fearlessness, and a mentor of unconditional love. All the fruits of my womb teach kindness, compassion, honesty and forgiveness.

Forget the twelve years of schooling and four years of college under my belt, that kind of smarts doesn’t hold a candle to the education received in child rearing. As a 27 year-old with three kids, I regressed to toddler hood while my kids catapulted to Gandhi-like status.  Maybe the experts over at Dr. Spock University should give out degrees such as a PhD in Eating Crow or a Masters in I Will Never Be Like That When I’m A Mom. Although depression and angst over my failures often kept me awake at night, eventually I swallowed enough HumbleQuil to lull me to sleep.

God urges us in Romans 12:16 to, “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.”  My new parental revised version (NPRV) goes like this, “Live in harmony with the stealers of your sleep. Do not be proud when handling your parenting power, but be willing to admit God has some serious iron sharpening to do when it comes to how you behave when things aren’t going your way. Do not be arrogant and discount the wisdom from Willy Wonka watchers.”

My kids mentored me in countless ways. Their love carried me through difficult postpartum depression. When I was suffocating in an exhausted and frustrated with the dirty house, loads of laundry, messy kitchen, smelly bathrooms, empty refrigerator because I don’t have time to go to the grocery store because all of my kids are sick simultaneously frame of mind, their smiles gave me herculean strength to push through the day. In the seasons of insomnia stemming from hormones on hyper-patrol and the onset of hyperthyroidism, I found refreshment gazing upon the angelic expressions of my children while they slept.

Our kids are gifts from God made special-order with lessons for us hardwired into their DNA. He knows the exact moment we need enlightenment. Loving our kids comes easy. Becoming teachable along the way falls under the realm of higher education. The payoff? In my case, a generational game-changer via a delicious glass of strawberry NesQuik™.

Learn on, Crazy Mommas!

Shel Spear

 

 

 

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Shelby is a Christian mom to three beautiful knuckleheads who have left her with an empty nest in which to ponder what the mom thing has (done to her) meant over the past twenty-three years. On her blog she shares with readers an open book of revelations, screw-ups, gaffs, and joys. Shelby is currently working on her first book.