Friday, September 19, 2008

A Few Ups and Downs of Parenting

A funny tidbit:
Last month, I was battling a small cold. After a sneezing attack, Ruby advised me to take a cough drop: “Mom, you can get that thing what Daddy does to make your throat smell better.”

My children aren’t synchronized on their nap schedules: a thing I find slightly vexing. Some days, I may have ½ hour where they are all asleep—uh—in bed. (Ruby doesn’t take a nap most of the time. She has never been a fan of sleep and has boycotted naptime most days for over a year now.)

Even so, I find that I am a much better mama if I have had a break. Therefore, Ruby is not required to sleep, just be quiet in her bed. So, in this break (Haley fussing in the bassinet—hope she’ll succumb to sleep soon, R & C nearly to the end of supposed “naptime”) I’ll quickly post.

This morning, Ruby was playing with her doll. She kept getting it in and out of the crib, rocking on her rocking chair and talking to it about how it needed to go to sleep. I inquired as to what she was doing. She very calmly replied, “I have a baby and she’s 20 months old and she drives me nuts.”

When I watch my girls play “Mommy,” I am often amazed that they are so patient and kind to their dolls, and I wonder where they get that. Their babies are almost always naughty (what fun is it when your baby isn’t?), and I’ve overheard Claire sweetly say, “If you get out of your crib again, you will lose a privilege.”

It really convicts me to see them play with their dolls and set expectations, boundaries and consequences with their “children,” without getting riled up or short of temper. I’m sure I don’t look like that most of the time. Sometimes I watch them mimic me—cringing, one eye closed—afraid of what I look or sound like to them throughout the day. And when they do this with their dolls, I am almost certain that they don’t get it from watching me.

Yes, this parenting role has been challenging, to say the least. Like my dear friend E. and I were discussing a few weeks ago, sanctification is not an elective. I think one of the verses that I find most comforting at this time of extreme testing is Philippians 1:6 “being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” God saves to sanctify—and eventually perfect—His children. Even though some days I see so much sin in my life that upon reflecting on the day I would almost swear I am more sinful than I was 10...5…2 years ago, I can know from God’s Word that if I am His child, the truth is that He is exposing more of my sin and working out His promise to finish what He started. From God’s perspective, I’m not getting worse; I’ve always been this sinful, and am more sinful than I can imagine—I’m glad I don’t know all He knows. I’m so grateful He doesn’t expose all my sin at once!

My friend Josanna was able to stay with us last night, on her way from CA to TX. My girls have such fun with her. I remember when I used to be fun with children, too.

Okay. Naptime’s over. Let the good times begin


  1. Hey Sarah! I have to say sometimes your blog makes me nervous to have three, although when I really think about it, it isn't a whole lot different now, with two! I can absolutely relate to the mountain of clean clothes on the couch. And the clothes rarely actually make it to the drawers, they just get taken off the couch, worn, and then put back in the dirty clothes to start the process over. Also, just wanted to encourage you, that if those dolls were having a tantrum or talking back, your children may not be so patient with them. At least, I know Luke and Ellie wouldn't be :) From what I read, sounds like you're doing a great job. You're an encouragement to me. Thanks for being so real!

  2. Thanks, Ann! It's really encouraging that you appreciate my attempts to be real. I want my blog to reflect the TRUE me and be relevant to others--especially those in similar situations. That is what I most value in the blogs I read. When I can shake my head, and say "exactly," and sigh a sigh of relief that I am not alone in struggling, not just in my surroundings, but with my own shortcomings and failures.
    And yes, I'm sure R & C would be at their wit's end if their dolls behaved anything like they can. Still, I'm grateful God uses even my girl's obviously one-sided examples to show me how I should strive to sound (i.e. CALM; not like a crazy lady).
    I don't mean to scare you about having three. But you already have two; I think you KNOW three has the potential to be very challenging. (Two fight while your infant cries in hunger, or a loud, inconsolable infant at naptime when the toddlers have finally fallen asleep. At least in my experience, three is a WHOLE NEW BALLGAME.) Three is seriously the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. I hope it's different for you; like I thought when Claire came along: "more of the same." But just think how pleasantly surprised you'll be when you realize it isn't as hard as you expected?
    Okay, I'll stop. I can see I'm not helping here.

  3. What you said about sanctification is so true-that has been one of the biggest surprises for me. I am amazed at the physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental tolls parenthood takes. I know God is refining me through this journey but I am often reminded of my weaknesses and sin and wonder, have I grown at all? Wow, what a great system God has for de-selfishizing his children!! :)

  4. No, you're a help. I am really trying to enjoy this pregnancy and the time with Ellie and Luke. Although there are still definite struggles and challenges with them, things have gotten to a rather calm place. As far as, we can go out, go to church, they can feed themselves. I want to enjoy this time because I remember the days when Luke first came along and there were days I just "got by". And many days (or months, really) are a blur. I feel it coming. I am also praying for this baby's personality, because there was a big difference b/w Ellie and Luke.