Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Parenting joys and challenges - a constant.

"You know those days when you think to yourself, who are these rude, grumpy, aliens who have taken over my children?" I can't remember where I read this quote, but I wrote it down, and some days it resonates.

I know it isn't just my children who morph into aliens - I do too!  So do other peoples children.  On many occasions I have had conversations with parents who admit their children have been used by God to humble them and cause them to depend on God in a daily, surviving way.

I had a very surprising experience when one of my darlings was about 2 years of age.  He was what kind people call an 'active child' but most just look exhausted and say 'gosh, he's full-on'. He was notorious as having one church creche worker assigned solely to him!  He was an escape artist.  At this time I was doing my best to organise a team who ran a toddler music group at our church as an outreach into the community.  Sadly my child was not terribly co-operative (understatement), and I spent a very stressful few hours working and chasing my child after he escaped shut doors to run out into a car park.  Every outing we undertook was stressful - as is the case with a Houdini child. 

This phase of life was a real challenge for me. I did my best to put on my happy face and solider on, then I started experiencing panic attacks. I look back and smile at my response, keeping in mind  I worked in mental health before I had children.  I was utterly flabbergast, I couldn't possibly suffer from panic attacks they were a mental health condition.  I was a worker not a sufferer!  Yes, I was to tumble off my perch.  So I took action, I quit everything I was involved in at church and stayed home - the only place I could contain my wee fella. I had a massive blessing from God, when a friend was made redundant from her job, she offered to church members free or cheap services, such as gardening, cooking, cleaning, and she just happened to be a trained in sports massage. Thank you Lord!  She came every week to give me a 'dribble-worthy' massage and we discussed mental health as she had learnt to work through depression on a number of occasions in her life. She will always hold a very special place in my heart for her gift to me, I thank God for His gift through her.  I was so blessed to have this sort of therapy available to me. Over time life became manageable again.

I don't blame my darling 2 year old for sending me over the edge, his energetic endeavours were only another contributing factor to a hectic pace I had chosen to live, but I love how God used his behaviour to humble me.

My pride was removed. Humbling doesn't require panic attacks, sometimes it's when our wee darlings call out "Is that man pregnant?" very loud in the supermarket!  That will take a large slice off your pride!  I love having these sort of discussions with parents. Some have even smile back at how arrogantly they judged parents before they had their own.  Many of us were experts before we even had children.  God has a fabulous sense of humour.  He knew our children would teach us, amuse us, humble us and delight us, all within the space of 20 seconds!

So thankful for lessons learnt, and continue to learn.  My sister always warned her children when they were growing up that when they become teenagers she would delight in being the embarrassing one.  She's mastered it, sadly they are used to her crazy antics and I think they have pre-warned their friends.  I'm looking forward to being an embarrassing mother too - what goes around - not quite the right theology, but I am looking forward to it all the same! And just maybe my embarrassing behaviour may teach my boys something, like theirs has taught me - humility.

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