Every year I learn more and more about myself. Some things I learn from my mistakes, some I learn from my friends, some I learn from my husband, and some I learn from my kids.
Kids are such good teachers. They are so honest, and when they are young enough or teenagers, they don’t hold back.
I keep a memory book for each of my children. Yesterday, I got them out and had a laugh, shed some tears, and felt some conviction. Here’s what I’ve learned from my children this last year.
1. I actually don’t enjoy mopping the floor every morning.
Seriously, I used to sweep and then mop all my hardwood floors as soon as I was done with breakfast every single morning since I can remember. It’s always been relaxing and I enjoy the shine. Even when I lived alone as a single woman–making those floors shine every morning was a wonderful start to my day. Those of you with OCD can appreciate that.
When we started having children, I was still the first one done. It was the rule that no one got down until the floors were mopped–and dry.
Really, I’ve come to a point when I’m just happy the floors get swept.
2. I do need sleep.
I did the night shift for years. I did the double shifts. I went to college full-time while working a full-time and part-time job. I volunteered for everything. I never really “needed” that much sleep.
I did well with little sleep with the first few babies even (ours are all 18-20 months apart). Suddenly, this year, I am tired. Suddenly this year Mommy has a bed time.
3. I need that chain lock at the top of the door to keep littles in–not to keep “bad guys” out.
Funny story, actually. One night my friend got a call and she had to leave the state–pronto. Due to inclement weather, her three year old stayed with us. All during dinner she kept casually saying how after her dinner she was going home to go to bed. My husband was so scared that she would walk out, that he pulled a chain lock out and put it at the top of the door.
She never tried to leave, but I did have a child that turned three this year and decided he was old enough to go take care of the animals–at any given time he chose–which is generally every time I go into the bathroom. They are so quick at that age!
I love that chain.
4. My children desire to serve me–it’s not just an act.
We practice serving each other continuously. We strive to “see the need, meet the need.” I crave for my children to have servants’ hearts one day. But I really believed it was just habit until this year.
This year, I got sick. Really sick. For a long time. I had never had my kids serve me. I didn’t expect it when it happened. I was doing my daily bible reading in the morning, and was just thinking that I had to get up and cook breakfast.
I looked up and one of my children was bringing me a cup of coffee. Dad was actually still home and made breakfast. My children went out of their way to continue to serve me all day. I thought this may wear off, but it didn’t.
Day after day, week after week, they continued to serve me. I don’t deserve such wonderful children. And my heart is warmed to know I’m not just the maid, the cook, the teacher, the chauffeur. I’m not just “mom.” I’m “mommy.” A well enjoyed lesson.
5. You can’t do everything with children that you could when you were single.
Yes, I should have learned this much earlier than now. Perhaps I’m just now accepting it.
I always thought I would just take my children on missions once I had them. I thought I would take them along on my volunteering projects to teach them how to serve joyfully.
What I learned is that I can’t just take part of them on a mission–I have to take them all. And I can’t do all the things I do (as far as medical work) with multiple babies. Although I felt completely safe in the areas I traveled, my eyes have been opened that these areas aren’t as safe as I had thought. The villages make me feel secure, but getting there is always a different story.
And I can’t work long hours and still see my kids. I used to work sun-up to sun-down for seven days and then have seven off. Doing that now means not seeing my kids for a week at a time. I’m just not that tough.
6. If I want to be a godly mother, I need more Jesus.
I’m always asking Jesus, show me how to be a godly mother. And the image that flashes before my eyes is always myself reading His Word. That’s it. No special curriculum. I don’t have to be artsy-craftsy. I don’t have to have the perfect homeschool. I don’t have to cook three square meals a day and sew every item of clothing.
When I ask Jesus to teach me, He just reminds me to come to Him more. Amazing how simple things are when we just ask how to do things His way, isn’t it?
It’s a short list, but it’s really a lot of growth for me.
What have your children taught you this year?