Resolutions – we all know they last for about 21.5 days, if we’re lucky.
After that, the manifesto to get off our derrières, devices and dependencies becomes a distant dream. (Yup, this blog is called Alliteration Alley for a reason ;))
We start the year shopping for Kale for our green Vitamix smoothies that are so going to revolutionize our lives. By the end of the year, though, I’m a permanent fixture in the baking aisle. In December I buy enough butter to personally ensure that Lipitor sales are through the roof.
But what if our plans for the new year become prayers? When we get God involved, we have the world’s broadest shoulders carrying our problems. We’re partnering with the Master Architect, Relationship Expert, Health Coach and Certified Counselor.
Here are some of my prayers for the new year as far as parenting goes.
God, help me embrace the “interruptions”
I get most annoyed with my kids when they get in the way of my accomplishing something. Like when I’m shooting for the lofty goal of unloading the dishwasher in, say, one attempt.
They seem to have the uncanny knack of knowing when to strike. Like flies that buzz around your nose just when you’re ready to sink your teeth into that piece of cake.
But what if you and I embraced those interruptions? Because people always come before process. Especially your own little people.
Which means when Missy M comes to me with her 17th artistic interpretation of our stick figure family under a rainbow, I’m present. Not just physically. Not just in a cursory, there’s-a-billion-other-things-to-do way. But in a way that welcomes the interruptions. Because, really, life happens in the moments that are not on the to-do list.
Enable me to love the now
When my kidlings were babies, I couldn’t wait for them to eat solids so I could stop nursing, walk so they didn’t have to be carried, get potty trained – you know, just hurry up and get on with it so I could have some semblance of my old life back.
At five and six years old, they’re still pretty predatory with my time.
But I need God to help me enjoy where they’re at. Right now.
When Sonny Boy can’t tie his shoelaces, I need to remember that in the not-too-distant future I may be coming undone when he leaves home. If Missy M can’t read on her own, I want to stop and enjoy the fact that she still needs me to read to her. She still needs me. And that’s precious.
Help me walk the walk
I usually wait till the coast is clear before I venture to have a quiet time. In other words, I usually wait for a kid-free time – and if a ray of sunshine is pouring in through my bedroom window and Chris Tomlin is on the radio, I have the perfect ambiance to commune with God.
But life doesn’t happen in those pristine moments. It’s in the trenches that I can show them what it means to trust God.
Last year I was travelling with both kids to India, without the hubbers – three long plane rides and two never-ending layovers awaited us. (Yeah, I know, I plead minor insanity). As I prepped the kids for the trip, I reminded them that it wasn’t easy for a mini mom to travel with two kids across the whole world.
Four-year-old Missy M then reminds me, “But Jesus holds the whole world, mamma. So, you don’t have to worry.”
Preach it, kid!
Help me not fall in the perfectionism trap
I remember Sonny Boy’s first day of preschool three years ago. The teacher had set out coloring pages and crayons by each teeny yellow chair. Sonny Boy sits down with great trepidation and says meekly, “But I don’t know how to color inside the lines.”
He was three years old.
God help this mamma ease up on expectations.
And stop the comparison game in its tracks.
Fast forward to first grade: Sure Sonny Boy’s classmate may be an athletic, piano-playing, math whiz who towers over him. Good for the chap.
What matters should be that my kid knows he makes the cut – no matter what. I need to stop the, “Drink your milk. Or you’ll be the smallest kid in first grade,” and the “Look at his handwriting. When are you going to write like that?”
God, help me stop giving the Tiger mom a run for her money. She can have the title if she wants. Really.
Help me know when I let the burden of perfectionism get in the way of their potential.
Give me wisdom to know when to butt in
Missy M was making brownies in her new Magic Mixer a few days ago. (If you’re thinking of buying a Magic Mixer for your precious little one, I have some words of wisdom for you: Don’t.)
Anyways, there she was cranking the handle of a wobbly plastic pink and purple mixer. And there I was, hovering.
She was making brownies that set in 15 minutes in a fridge. Of course she needed her mom’s culinary expertise, not to mention help scraping the bowl so none of this dessert with Michelin star potential got wasted.
There’s a real fine line between helping and hovering, between supporting and suffocating. It makes the difference between creating a confident spirit and one that fosters self-doubt.
God, help me pull back on the helicopter parenting.
They’ll learn from their messes and their mistakes.
And I’ll learn from mine. With grace to cover each moment.