I was talking to one of our daughters on Saturday and I sensed a note of tiredness in her voice. I asked if she was feeling ok and she said she was … but there was not the tone of conviction I am used to hearing in her voice. My “mom’s antennae” went up. I asked a few annoying but probing questions and it finally came out. She was tired of correcting her children’s behavior.
“It’s just constant, Mom. I find myself saying the same things over and over. I get so tired of it”
Oh, how well I remember! It has been 30 years, yet I can still remember feeling exhausted – wondering if my repeated corrections and instructions were making any difference at all. It seemed at times that my words went in one little ear and out the other. It WAS tiring.
I had a friend named Marty who numbered her “lectures” – those words mothers repeat over and over.
• Number 1 – “pick up your toys, quit leaving them around to get stepped on and broken.”
• Number 2 – “hang up your wet towel after a bath so that it will dry and not leave wet, moldy stains on the floor.”
• Number 3 – “Talk nicely to your sister, someday she will be your best friend.”
“It’s so easy, Gayle. I just say “Number 1 – they know to start picking up their toys.” Marty assured me.
“What happens if you forget the number for a lecture?” I asked.
“Well,” Marty started laughing. “I have forgotten a few times and then my daughters give me a lecture about remembering the correct numbers to the lectures. It has helped them remember their responsibilities, if just to keep me on my toes.”
I couldn’t help laughing. This may work for Marty but it was not my style.
As parents we do repeat instructions and corrections over and over. We all learn through repetition, but it is especially true of young children. Some children need more repetition then others – they have a nature that tests the boundaries and their parents.
It is important not to give up or give in when we become tired of parenting. Training our children is our responsibility as parents whether we are tired or not. IT WILL PAY OFF!
I remember being so tired – wanting to just quit and let my children fuss or watch TV all afternoon. At these low times, God’s Word encouraged me with two important truths:
1. In my weakness – God is made strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-11 (NIV)
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2. When I hang in – God is faithful. Galatians 6:9-10
9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
So, hang in….keep on parenting!