Nothing causes me to feel out of my depth quite like mothering does.
Kids don't come with a manual and motherhood is learned as we go. Much like on-the-job training, we're thrown into the mix and sink or swim! (Perhaps a little of both.)
Many times I search for a formula or method to follow in order to get the desired result, but most often, the answer doesn't lie there.
The answer is often inside time. Spending time. Focused time with our children. Listening to them. Being with them without distraction.
So often this is my greatest struggle.
When a child is acting up or whining (or displaying some type of negative behavior), the last thing I want to do is spend more time with them.
But that's often what they need.
When it gets to this point, I feel I need a break (and sometimes that IS necessary). Yet, if I can muster the strength to spend more time with that child, they often straighten out. We grow closer together. They feel validated and strengthened and life is much happier for all.
But, this is not what I want to do when I'm exhausted or the kids are misbehaving!
I've been listening to the Discipleship & Discipline: Practical Parenting Help for the Desperate Mom eCourse from Sally Clarkson and Sarah Mae and have been struck by the simplicity of really connecting with your kids and how that act alone has so many benefits.
In one of the lessons Sally says,
“If your babies are driving you crazy today, consider giving them more of you. Give them your full attention. Give them your arms to lean into. Give them your eyes and your smile. Make them feel like the most important people in the world.”
On one hand I think, “Yes! I see it. That's the key.”
On the other hand, I think, “No, isn't there a step-by-step plan I can follow? A book I can buy? Something else?”
But we know there isn't any plan. Each child is different and needs different things. The common thread is spending time with them.
When I do this, I see it's fruit. Some of the fruit is immediate. but some is building a foundation of confidence and assurance in my child that I might not see for years to come.