I was venturing out a few weeks before Christmas to buy a few things that I needed and to meet my dad for lunch celebrating his birthday. It was incredibly stressful getting everyone dressed including myself that morning. And I had just finished holding a screaming baby while pushing a stroller with two other children on it (it's a sit and stand. my older boys were standing) through a make-up store with tiny aisles, dozens of impatient people, and for some reason it was scorching hot in that store. I'm not a glutton for punishment, I would have never gone to that store if I didn't need make-up for my husband's company Christmas party. I figured he wanted his wife to look some-what human. After leaving the store we met my dad at The Cheesecake Factory.
When were seated I noticed an older couple sitting across from us. My first thought after noticing them was, "Please Lord let them have patience." I had no idea how the boys would behave. Would Mason be screaming? Would the other boys be patient while we waited on our food? We don't get to see my dad very often and children can sometimes stress him out..so I was already on edge about their behavior. 4, 3 year olds and 2 month olds can be very unpredictable, you know?
But we seemed to make it through the meal without too much disruption. Only 555 potty breaks...not kidding. So I was a little confused, nervous, and interested to know why this older woman who I had noticed while we were being seated was approaching our table.
She said something I will never forget.
"Ma'am I have to be honest with you. My husband and I were a little nervous when you and your children were seated next to us, because we didn't know how they would behave. But your children are so well behaved that I just had to tell you. That is a reflection of who you are as a parent. There needs to be more children raised like this."
While she was speaking I had to swallow the lump in my throat and fight back the tears. Her words were like water on this parched, weary soul.
I'm not sharing this story to toot my own horn because I am far from a perfect parent. I can't tell you how many times I questioned my choice to be a stay at home mom, how many times I have wept over the overwhelming task that is motherhood, or how lonely it can be to do what I call pioneer parenting while trying to some how overcome post-partum depression. Parenting is a lot to handle and when you have zero reference from how you were raised or from your own parents it complicates an already complicated process. Pioneer parenting by my own definition is when you are parenting your children completely different from how your parents parented you. Breaking free from generational sin and habits. Maybe your parents are/were unbelievers, or in my case they were divorced and there was a lot of turmoil in the home. So you have no reference and sometimes no encouragement. Biblical parenting may be completely uncharted territory in your family lineage.
Don't give up.
You were given a God-given task to raise your children not relying on your own strength or knowledge but on our heavenly Father's. What you're doing matters and even when you feel as if all you're doing is disciplining your children. It will one day be worth it.
To be completely transparent with you there have been so many days I want to give up. So many days it feels as if my effort is pointless. It feels as if I'm not getting through to them. Somehow on this day it got through. My children are not well behaved all the time or even most of the time, trust me. But it was visible to this woman and her husband that something had gotten through to my boys. And for the record our desire for our boys is not to have well behaved children but to have children that grow up exhibiting the love of their Savior so that others may come to know Him.
This woman gave this pioneer parent a beautiful gift, one that I will always treasure and remember the next time my kids are not behaving. Because moms your kids behavior will fluctuate throughout their childhood. Your worth as a mom can not be found in their good days and bad days. That does not define you. Your worth must be found in the only constant in your life...God.
In His name, parent on.