Overwhelmed. There's no better word to describe what I'm feeling right now. I've been a little stressed lately. Imagine that. Actually, it doesn't happen quite as frequently anymore. But it's been weighing on me lately. That's why I've been reading 6-7 books a week and getting nothing done. It all came to a head Sunday and I dumped it all on my husband as usual.
I suffer from the same guilt that I'm sure all parents experience. You know that feeling of never doing enough for your children? There's always more that could be done, should be done. It's just a fact of life. But the problem with me is, I truly am not doing enough. I'm not just being hard on myself. I'm not teaching the kids everything they're supposed to be learning in school. I haven't been studying the bible with them or reading them verses or stories. They don't know how to bathe themselves or ride bikes or other things that independent kids their age know how to do. They are not playing sports or taking lessons. (Well, they take piano lessons but I never remember to have them practice.)
I love that I have been entrusted to love and care for and guide my three children. But when I think about all that entails I'm overwhelmed. It's my job to make sure they hear about God and know the bible, I have to teach them respect and decency and manners. I have to make sure they know how to care for themselves and the world around them. It's my job to teach them games, read with them, show them how to pursue their interests and make friends. And that doesn't include all the 13 state required homeschool subjects or the quirks of Austism that I have to help them deal with. In some respects, I can see why so many kids grow up with no values and no sense of respect or responsibility. It's so much easier to stick them in front of the TV or video games. It's a lot harder to be a constant presence and really know what's being planted in their minds, not to mention trying to combat it all.
The truth is, I'm lazy. I know, no surprise there. But I know my kids, I know how they learn best and what they need. They do best when our day is run by the clock. They have to have specific deadlines or nothing will ever get done. Most children do better with structure but I think mine take it a little deeper. The problem is, I hate it. I resent having to plan out every minute of every day. I hate living by the clock. I would much rather just have a general idea of what the day should look like and hope that it comes close to that. I like to stay up until midnight or 1am and sleep in until 9am. I prefer to eat when I'm hungry and run off to do errands whenever I get around to it. But this is not the way my kids function. I have to have our routine posted up where they can see it. They need to know what to expect. And they don't do well with unstructured time. Of course they get it every day, but it usually culminates in wrestling, fighting and crying, in that order.
It's hard knowing that the best thing for my kids is completely contrary to the way I would prefer to live and my natural tendencies. I am not a great housekeeper. I wouldn't even consider myself a good one. But how can I expect my kids to get themselves dressed when they don't have clean clothes in their dressers? How can I expect them to try new foods and get over their food issues when I don't cook a healthy dinner introducing new foods? How can I expect them to get in the habit of cleaning up after themselves when they're used to living among the clutter? I want them to show respect but I've never explained why or taught them on a consistent, day-to-day basis. It's not ingrained into them so of course it doesn't come naturally.
I love my children and I am so grateful that I get to be home with them. I want a whole house full, busting at the seams. But I can't even run this one smoothly with only three. I think this is a challenge that God is presenting to me. This life isn't about me and what I want. My task, my most important job at this period in my life is to nurture and mold these children. I am to provide a warm, safe, stable home for them to grow up in. I am to be the example of the kind of life God wants them to live. What kind of example am I? Am I the kind of person who starts each day thanking God for all that He's given me? Or do I start each day grumbling about all that I've been given to do? If I truly believe that God has given me these children, that I have been honored with the task of raising them, I need my life to reflect that. I need to be doing what I can to be that example for them. I am their guide in this part of their lives. I should be preparing them and directing them on the right path. Whether or not they choose to take that path is up to them. But I need to make sure they are equipped to deal with their choice.
Please help me to remember that it all comes down to you. You are the most important thing that I am supposed to be teaching my children. So often I get bogged down in the details and forget the bigger picture. I pray that I can always keep in mind that I am to be preparing them for life with you, not just life in this world. I pray that I will be an example to them of what it means to live for you and not for myself. Help me to have patience, wisdom, and plenty of rest. You are so good. I pray that I will keep my focus on that and not on the things that overwhelm me. I thank you for all your love and blessings. Amen.