Mothering isn't for quitters...
I think we all understand that there can be issues with training children to sit still in church. Some children pick up on it easily, while other children are prone to wiggle and squirm every waking minute - whether they're in church or out.
We are blessed with four children 8 and under. Our oldest generally does well in church, but our other three (just turned 6 year old, 3 year old, and soon to be 2 year old) still struggle with sitting still. We've tried various things, like bringing a bag just for them with coloring books, felt books, etc. but found that it just made a mess and was very distracting. We sometimes allow them to draw on a piece of paper, but in general we really try hard to have them sit quietly and listen, with only an occasional book to look at.
That's the goal anyway.
This last Sunday was rather interesting. My husband was very involved in both church services we had so he wasn't able to sit with me. I had planned on him being with me to help for the second service but he ended up being busy again. Being in my third trimester I'm quickly losing my lap to my swollen tummy, making it difficult to have my squirmy little one(s) sit on my lap.
When I saw my husband was going to be busy for the second church service as well I have to admit I fought back tears. I wanted to give in to self pity. I was tired, hungry, and touched out. All I wanted was to have my husband sit down and take over so I could go eat something and have a minute to myself.
I looked at my children, and decided that I'd better wrestle through my feelings. I've determined that it's better to smile at my children even when I don't really feel like it, because it helps me get to the point where I actually do want to smile at them. So out came the smile, an arm around my squirmy six year old, and I braced myself to hold my youngest on what's left of my lap!
You know what? I ended up admitting defeat. I left my oldest to listen to the church service and decided I'd better listen to my tummy grumbling and go eat a protein snack (I struggle with low blood sugar especially while pregnant so I have to eat a lot of snacks). I took my three youngest children with me downstairs and had them sit on chairs. A friend ended up coming down with her children, and between my children wanting to snack with me and seeing little friends down there also, all my child training fell apart right before my eyes. They didn't sit still at all and I really didn't have it in me to make them.
They had a privilege taken away (the two middle children, the youngest is still not old enough to comprehend) and I talked to them afterwards about the fact that they didn't sit still very well.
So why am I sharing this on my blog? Because life isn't perfect. We all have ideals and goals for mothering our children, but at times we have to admit defeat on some of these little areas and not give ourselves a complex over it. The experience at church has made me more determined to work at home on sitting still - no, I haven't given up on the hope that one day that will happen. Now I know full well that not every outing with our children will be perfect; some days we will (or at least I will) end the day in tears wondering how we can wake up the next day and do it all over again.
But we do, and we will.
By the grace of God that is.
Day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute we make it through. The sticky fingers, the constant questions, the messes that never end, the temper tantrum we thought that child had outgrown - we endure and persevere. We have hope for a better thing. We see an end in sight for our child and as mothers we are determined to make it to that goal. Giving up and admitting defeat means terrible consequences for our children so it's just not an option.
If you are struggling through a difficult time mothering your children-don't give up! I have many, many areas I need to work on as a mother but I'm determined to keep going. God has richly blessed me with four (almost five) very unique children. I'm still in awe sometimes that I get to be the one responsible (with my husband of course!) of raising these children, of finding their hearts and keeping them close to me until it's time to let go.
Is it exhausting? Yes. Without a doubt. Sometimes so very exhausting.
Would I have started this mothering adventure if I had known what it was really going to be like?