Dear young mothers:
Your job is difficult. Exhilarating. Demanding. Rewarding. Frustrating. If you have ever gone to bed at night, praying the Rapture comes so you can finally, finally discover the meaning of the word "solitude" (think heavenly Calgon experience), I can relate. But I'm here to tell you, please don't give up. No matter how much you want to.
I was bedridden from my third month on in all three of my pregnancies. With all that "down" time, I should have been rested up for what was to come. I wasn't. Jeff was rebellious. I said "Don't," and he did. Adam cried for the first 14 months of his life; had it not been for my patient husband, I would have put myself in foster care. (You read correctly.) Andy was actually the easiest -- until his teenage years. By then I was too old for anyone to take me in, so I had to grow up and pretend to cope.
When our sons were young, I bought wooden spoons by the 12-pack. A turning point in discipline came when we purchased a cordless phone. Up to that point, the boys had always positioned themselves about 12 inches from the tip of the wooden spoon, which I waved violently in their direction while speaking sweetly to my Christian friend who, on the other end of the line, had no idea the boys were using each other as punching bags. For all she knew, they were off in a corner praying together.
No chance of that. It was as if the boys had some sixth sense to know exactly where on the carpet they needed to stop poking or smacking each other so that the threatening spoon couldn't thump them. But hallelujah! The cordless phone proved to be their demise. There were now no inviolable boundaries. I gave new meaning to the ad "Reach out and touch someone."
Author Sharon Jaynes' approach to mothering was much gentler than mine. She wrote an article comparing motherhood to the care given by the Chinese to the bamboo plant. "First they plant the seeds, then water and fertilize them. The first year, nothing happens. The second year they continue to water and fertilize the seeds, and still nothing happens. The farmer continues this process for a third and fourth year with no visual results. Then sometime during the fifth year, in a period of approximately six weeks, the Chinese bamboo grows 90 feet. Did the bamboo grow 90 feet in six weeks or did it grow 90 feet in five years? The obvious answer is that it grew 90 feet in five years. If the grower hadn't applied water and fertilizer every year, there would be no bamboo.
"It is the same way with raising children. We pour into their lives. We plant seeds of character, pull weeds with discipline, water with prayer and fertilize with encouraging words. Then one day, if we are persistent and consistent, we will see beautiful results."
Mothers, I encourage you to press on. Take a deep breath. Remind yourself that "this too shall pass." Pray for your children daily. Oh yes, and while you're at it, pray for yourself, too. And one day, in spite of how you just might not do it perfectly, you will see beautiful results.
In my case, not because of me, but in spite of me. Thanks be to God. Literally.