Parenting Against The Clock: Long Days, Short Years

Being a mom often feels like the most demanding and exhausting job in the universe. I listened to the wisdom from those who had already “crossed over” and read the parenting books, but nothing adequately prepared me for that moment. That moment when I first held the fragile little life entrusted to me. Joy and fear collided into one wondrous emotion that words cannot capture. Time halted for a brief moment and I stared at her, humbled and astonished at how my life would never be the same.

And then, the clock began to tick. The firsts began: first roll, first smile, first sit up, first words.

Desperately, I tried to inhale the happiness of the moment, while exhaling the reality that there would never be that particular “first” again.

And the days were long, excruciatingly long. I’d watch that clock, watch it tick minutes ever…. so…. sloooooooowly. Bored of blocks, shape sorters and lift the flap books, I’d wait with eager anticipation for bed time. 

Before I knew it there were Pre-K pickups and drop-offs, kindergarden goodbyes, sporting games, and church activities. The clock never stopped. It’s true what they say you know.

The days are long, but the years are short. 

Time has sped up and without warning the moments have often whizzed by in a blur. 

I have lost brain cells worrying if I am “enough.” Sometimes it seems every other mom does it better: they teach their kids more, talk to them gentler, play imaginary games with more enthusiasm, have meticulously organized homes and clean cars. And honestly, I think every mom has felt that way. Inadequate. Unequipped. Lacking. Incapable. 

The truth is, none of us have it all together. When you look into the lives of others, you usually view the edited highlight reel, which is often far from reality. Motherhood has been an experience, one in which I have learned to parent, often by trial and error. And yes, there are regrets. Countless times when I’ve yelled too harshly. Lost my patience too quickly. Crushed their creativity while I was seeking the ease of uniformity. 

And sometimes, I lay awake into the late hours, wishing I had a redo. Wishing I had listened to them longer, turned off the computer, put down the phone.

Wishing I had breathed in the now instead of hurrying on to the next.

And what do I do with this heart, sometimes so heavy, sometimes so hopelessly resistant to real change. This heart has watched that same clock counting down the hours day after day. This heart has grieved the same mistakes over and over again.

There in the quiet, in the night that is absent of continuos demands and hurried pace, I hear the most comforting voice. Never One who shames me for my shortcomings, but One who loves me in spite of them. And I’m thankful that His sufficiency lavishly covers my inadequacy. I smile because, it’s meant to be that way you know? All those moments that I can’t handle are meant to propel me into His arms.

I was created to lean, depend on, and be utterly, completely incapable without God’s daily help. 

That is good news, good good news to my heart. And it should be to yours too. It’s not our job as momma’s to be our kids Saviors, it’s our job to live a life that regularly points to the one who is: Jesus.

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