“Time for bed,” I say, as the 8 o’clock hour approaches. I take a deep breath. This is the last lap of the day and it can be a real doozy.
I brush their teeth, wipe their faces, get their jammies on, turn on the night light, turn on the sound machine…
“You need one more drink of water?…Okay, hurry back. You do, too? Okay, everyone go get a drink then come straight back,”
They come back and hop into bed, I straighten their blankets just right. “You need to go potty? Okay, hurry. Get all the tee-tee in the potty this time. Oh, you need to go potty, too? Go to the other restroom. Oh, no ma’am. You don’t need to go potty. You have a diaper on…. Okay, everyone now hop back in the bed.” I re-straighten everyone’s blankets.
I tuck in and kiss a cheek and hug goodnight, repeat 3x, turn out the light and close the door and wait to see who will need what in the next 5 minutes.
No one stirs. Success.
My husband is doing the dinner dishes as I walk into the kitchen to announce that all four kids are down for the night. I take a deep breath to commemorate another day of child rearing completed. As I exhale, my body crumples into the door way of the kitchen in exhaustion. My mind wants to rest but a persistent concern keeps my thoughts occupied on my day.
“I am a nagging mom,” I blurt out to my husband who stops his cleaning to listen because he hears the sadness in my voice. “I can feel myself nagging the kids constantly. And it bothers me but I can’t seem to stop. I can see on their faces that it bothers them, too.”
This realization kind of hit from out of no where. I never thought I would be a naggy mom. I don’t feel like I have been in the past few years but maybe the nagginess was steadily growing and I was not aware of it. Maybe its because I am trying to cope with being a mom of four little ones. I don’t know really, but it’s makes me feel like I am failing.
I have always made a very conscious effort to not be a naggy wife and I feel that I have done this pretty well. I don’t like seeing women nag their husbands because it makes me feel what I assume would be the husband’s inability to rest around his spouse. Nagging never helps get things done but mostly expresses one’s disapproval for another person. The nagged, in turn, probably become less productive under the weight of having the nagger eyeing their every move.
I spend my whole day with these kids. I pray for them. I want to introduce them to new and wonderful things and ideas. I want them to always feel loved and encouraged. I want to help them when they struggle with something like correctly pronouncing their “s” sounds, or learning not to hit their siblings. I want to teach them about the amazing world we live in and all the beauty that is in nature. I WANT them to have the very best of EVERYTHING. Not silly material items but the very best of LIFE. Why then do I spend a day pointing out the little things that aren’t right? Its mostly from a refusal to stop what I am doing to properly communicate why we don’t do this or that. And its mostly because I am just tired…man, am I ever tired. So it seems quicker to shout out a little nag and then move on. But one half-hearted correction leads to a long series of the like and pretty soon my kids are just bothered by my constant bothering.
After I identified the problem, I came to the conclusion that I am just going to have to try harder the next day. And the next day was better. I tried super hard to stop and get down on their level to kindly express what I expected of them in that moment. The whole day clicked by wonderfully. We didn’t get much done, but everyone was respectfully at peace. But the day after that, my vigor to be a better mom wore off as I gave in to tiredness due to an early 5:30am wake up call from the Fayzie Wayzie.
Back to square one.
Five years ago I leapt off of a cliff and swan dove into a massively deep lake of motherhood. It was cool and exciting and I was all in from the moment I saw my first son’s sweet little face. The refreshing sensation of transforming from a woman to a mother was overwhelming as I tried to take in all the beauty and purpose that filled my every moment. Now, the view is still breath-taking, the waters are still invigorating and fun, but my body feels the fatigue of treading water constantly. I still love where I am, but I recognize that the water is rising and I may not be able to breathe soon. So I look for little short cuts to make things a little easier. But, as I am now realizing, the little nags gets us nowhere and only makes everyone in the house a whole lot grumpier. I love these four little squirts more than I could possibly ever convey. No one else on this planet has this same all-of-my-everything-and-then-some-kind-of-love that I have for these four particular, little humans and yet it is still not enough. I still don’t have enough love or perspective to fully realize that in order to do right by my children, short cuts shouldn’t even be an option. So how do I survive this? Because in so many moments of my day, I am drowning. I must look to the true Father and pray that He will give me patience, mercy, and smiles in abundance. Because He will always have enough; enough for my kids and for me, as well.
I used to have a hard time understanding that God’s love far out-weighed any kind of human love. It was a big idea and it just couldn’t fit in my brain. I had experienced love as a giver and as a receiver. Love that didn’t have strings attached or involve manipulation. How could anyone love more than that, I would think. It’s steadily becoming clearer to me now that if I can’t love my children the way they so sweetly deserve, the only being who could must be the Almighty, Himself. And to know that He loves me more than I am capable of loving my children, well, thats something I could spend the rest of my life trying to understand.