by Meridith Borta, Elementary Assistant Principal
and Mom to 3 energetic girls
I remember the event like it was yesterday. I was newly pregnant with my 3rd child, but my husband and I had decided to keep it a secret until I was a little farther along. The day finally arrived when I was going to announce it to the world . . . more specifically, I was going to announce it to the students at Faith Christian School (which in the realm of rumor mills is like sharing it with the world). Not ashamed of making the big announcement by donning a clever t-shirt, I arrived to school wearing a shirt that had one word across the front—EXPECTING! That one word invoked a feeling of both panic and excitement as I thought about how my life would be vastly different with three children. At the time, I was already the mother of two energetic (we know what this word really means when used in this context) children, ages 2 ½ and 5. I could handle one more, right? I was a pro by now. . .
I got off work, picked up my Kindergartener from school, and headed over to pick up my two-year old from pre-school. I had some grocery shopping to do and was going to head to the nearest Walmart. It’s important to mention that I could have made the trip a little less stressful by leaving my two-year-old at preschool just a little bit longer. However, as a working mom, I miss my children so greatly during the day, and I was looking forward with great anticipation to a blissfully exciting outing. My delusion included a picture of shopping with my daughters in perfect harmony—the kids would tell me about their day, I would float from aisle to aisle peacefully gathering the few items on my list, and people would stop me all along the way telling me what well-behaved children I had (and how excited I must be to have another on the way!).
I’m sure you know what is coming. Things did not go as planned.
The Fateful Event
I was THAT mom. The one with the frazzled and frustrated look on her face. The delusion soon evaporated with the bickering, whining, and pouting that ensued. I had broken the first rule of grocery shopping with little ones: never go when the kids are tired! The new plan became “Get what you need and GET OUT FAST”. We were on the home stretch. We just needed to check out and then I would be safe in the car where no one could look at me with their judgmental glares. With the children no longer confined to the cart basket, I recognized the potential for disaster, but I was on a mission to turn the trip around. I instructed the kids to each grab the front of the cart and wait patiently. In their defense, they did just that. What I didn’t anticipate was that they would both stand up on the end of the cart at the same time. The cart, not weighed down any longer by groceries, flipped over on top of them, trapping them under it like mice in a trap. In a feeble effort to catch the cart on its way down, I sliced three of my fingers open when the cart folding mechanism opened and slammed back down on my hand. There I was, bleeding, two children screaming and pinned under a shopping cart, and all I could think about was “They ALL know I am EXPECTING another one!”
Parents out there, please tell me that I am not the only one who has had one of those moments. Maybe your children weren’t trapped under a shopping cart, but maybe you got a call from your child’s teacher about discipline problems in class. Maybe you turned around at the zoo and your child was simply gone. Maybe you took your eyes off of them for one second and they fell and broke an arm. Maybe you and your child cannot seem to agree on anything and your home feels a battle zone.
Parenthood is hard! What an overwhelming responsibility it can seem to be at times. How do we tackle this challenge and train up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and still keep our sanity? As a mom who continues to try to figure it out, I don’t have all the answers. However, here are some things that I have come to find as necessary and some verses that have encouraged me so far.
Pray! We need to pray daily for God’s leading and wisdom in our lives as we attempt to raise our children in Godly homes.
“Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children—” Deuteronomy 4:9
Don’t compare! It is so easy to compare ourselves with other parents who always seem to have it together or compare our children with the children of others.
Don’t lose heart! Our children may go through phases that seem never-ending. During those trying times, we may have successes and failures in the way we handle our children. Remember that God’s grace is sufficient and He stands ready to forgive.
Wait on the Lord! If this is a particularly hard time in your home, be patient and be encouraged. I Peter 5:6-7 says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” Never tire of following God’s commands for parents no matter how hard it may be.
“You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Deuteronomy 6:7
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
I know I have a long road ahead. Those of you with children older than mine may be saying “You think it is hard now! Just wait!” Believe me. I know more challenges are coming. But I also know in whom I have believed, and trust that through it all (even the teenage years) we will be held firmly in the palm of His hand.