As I watch my 3 year smile and ask me countless inquisitive questions about every item in our surroundings this morning, I am fighting the urge to hush him. His sister is trying to finish her math so that we can get on our way out the door for a play date with their cousins.
And then he takes the lids off his puzzles and tells me they are going to be sleds for his feet in the snow. I look at him and say, “You mean skis?” “Oh. Yeah. They are my skis.” I just slowly gaze at him, watching him smile at his imaginative accomplishment as he slips and slides around the dining room on his makeshift skis. Then all of a sudden I remember that I probably shouldn’t allow him to step on the lids of his puzzle boxes.
But why not? The poor kid has been trapped in the house for over a week, the frigid cold preventing any kind of outside play. Why can’t he come up with something that will entertain him and release some energy? Why am I always so drawn to corralling my children into what I want them to be, into how I want them to behave?
In that brief moment of clarity, I decide to just give up.
I give up trying to mold my children into carbon copies of myself. They have their own personalities and their own ideas of “fun” and “play”.
I give up trying to curb their imaginations because “that’s not how we behave in the house” or “that’s not on our schedule”.
I give up feeling like I should have rigid rules and beating myself up because I can’t get my kids to obey them. (Aside from the essentials like loving one another, obeying God’s Word, and no drinks on the carpet. Those are all a given.)
I give up having a set time for school to start. A lot of times, 9:00am just isn’t going to cut it. Especially with a new little one coming this summer.
I give up harboring a feeling of failure on my part and frustration with my beautiful children.
I’m giving it all up. This isn’t what mothering is about. Motherhood shouldn’t be a battle, and sometimes, I feel like the battle is with myself. Or I’m making up struggles with my children, but really, they just want to be themselves.
I’m not giving up parenting, or Biblical correction. I’m not giving up instruction or guidance. What I’m giving up is controlling my children because they aren’t what I want them to be, or they aren’t behaving exactly as I wish, or they aren’t doing something how I would have them do it. My controlling nature has caused so much frustration in our days, and caused me to resent certain parts of our days because I dread the struggles with getting my children to “do it right”. But no more. I GIVE IT UP.
What I hope is that giving up these things listed above, I am making more room for joy, for love, for relationships, and for the beauty in the lives God has given me to raise.