A devotional exploring the importance of living life with your children, not in spite of. A gentle reminder that our calling as Mamas is not to steal away time to ourselves, but rather to embrace all the joy and chaos this season has to offer.
The Mayhem, The Mundane, and Mondays
Mondays get such a bad reputation. For some, they are the start of a long work week with a packed agenda. For others, Mondays are drop off lines, forgotten lunches, and six after school activities. In our house, Mondays mark a return to normalcy after a busy weekend, and you wouldn’t believe how much we forget about our normal lives in just two short days!
It always starts with such great intentions. Today we will get it right. Today our schedule will serve us. Our routine is simple enough: morning chores, getting ready, family Bible study, homeschool, daily tasks, lunch, naps, play time, supper, and then time with daddy until bed. I don’t know that we ever live up to this design between grocery pick ups, library runs, and cousin days, but most days we try.
But Monday looks more like this:
Living Life With Your Children
Life with kids is truly unpredictable, but for some reason Mondays always come with an extra dose of messes, mayhem, and mischief. Things go so much smoother when you go on your own, but we are called to live life WITH our kids, not in spite of them.
This weekend I went to visit my dad. For those who don’t know, my dad is in prison. It is always difficult to visit him between all the rules and hoops you have to jump through, but he is worth it. Rafael and I loaded up our two youngest kids and went to spend the afternoon with him. After driving an hour there, we found out that Rafael’s pants weren’t allowed (they had strings rather than a button and zipper), so he was not allowed to go in.
Leaving me to visit by myself with two kids under two..
I sat across from my dad. He made over the two littles in my lap and we talked for a few minutes in what I now realize was the calm before the storm. Suddenly, Ivy realized she needed a snack and a drink,. At the same time I realized, I had forgotten to bring her anything to drink out of..
So there we were, no bottle or sippy and Ivy was growing increasingly impatient with my attempts to give her small sips of water. Finally, my dad suggested we get her a juice box. I don’t really let her have juice, but I figured anything was better than her screaming; I was wrong.
I slid the straw in and showed her how to take a sip. In true toddler fashion she immediately squeezed it sending a small stream all over her cute back up outfit. (Her original outfit got soaked with water on the drive up. Foreshadowing, perhaps.) I wiped the juice off her shirt and the seat and patiently exhibited once again the proper way to drink from it. This time she squeezed it a little harder and sent a slightly. larger stream onto herself and her brother’s leg also.
“Let me help you,” I insisted. And without warning an all out tug-of-war broke out over purple poison.
It was as if everything suddenly moved in slow motion. We were both clinging to a small pouch beneath an explosion of purple!
The giant stream of purple was bounding up between us, spraying me one minute, and her the next. We each pulled with all our might to secure the pouch away from the other. She was screaming. I was whisper screaming. All at once, Ivy goes flying backwards after her sticky purple soaked hands finally gave out. The floor beneath us was cloaked in purple. My hands, shirt, and the ends of my hair were dripping with purple. Even poor little Indie was dripping after being plunged beneath the purple tide.
The Reality of Living Life with Your Children
If I had went alone, I would have had a calmer visit, but I would have missed out on a memory that I am now able to laugh at. The reality is kids make life harder. Grocery trips take hours and yield things you don’t even remember buying. Freshly mopped floors sport tiny footprints across every room. Washing the dishes leaves a puddle in the floor. And everywhere you turn another mess is being made.
We live in a culture that values time alone more than time spent with family. Everywhere we look we see reminders to love ourselves, to put ourselves first- which makes motherhood completely countercultural. Living life with our children is not easy, and is often frowned upon.
So why do it? Why include your kids when it requires so much extra time and effort?
Because Jesus Did
In the three years of Jesus’s ministry on earth, He was constantly bombarded with people. Touching Him, begging Him, hounding Him with questions. My sister asked the other day how He was even able to go to the bathroom alone, and I imagine it looked a lot like what we see when we go the bathroom- little fingers under the door, audiences waiting impatiently, and a million “Are you almost done?” questions.
But Jesus kept returning to His children. When they asked a million questions, He answered. When they begged for something, He gave freely. And when they mistreated the things of God, He disciplined. When He desired a moment alone, He spent it with God to renew His strength and return to His children once again.
Let the Children Come Unto Me
In Matthew 19, Jesus is preaching to a group of people, and it says in verse 13 “Then children were brought to Him so He might put His hands on them and pray. But the disciples rebuked them.”
Can you imagine bringing your children to see Jesus in person?! To have Him pray over them! But the disciples said no. Jesus was busy. He was important. He was God. And He didn’t have time to deal with such silly things as wild children running about and climbing all over Him.
But then Jesus, Himself, spoke up, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven. And He laid His hands on them, and departed from there.”
Let them come. Let them take part. Give them a place. For such is the kingdom of heaven.
You don’t have to study deep theology to know that God loves children. I’ve often thought about how God could have made humans enter the world any way He wanted. He could have made life begin at adulthood or shortened the length of childhood like so many animals. But He didn’t. I think it is because He loves children. I think He laughs with wonder as he sees my frustrated face dripping with purple drink. And I see Him move in the hearts of my children when they tell a lie and are called to repentance. I see Him in the midst as they run through the fields laughing in freedom. I see Him every time I realize what an absolute blessings these little guys are!
For such is the kingdom of heaven.
Our Crazy Mondays are Numbered
Living life with our children is essential! This has been a hard lesson for me to learn and I am still struggling with it. Kids need inclusion. They need to be present with us. They need to feel like they have a place- like their home and their family couldn’t function without them. If they don’t feel that love and inclusion from us, what will they do or where will they turn to get it?
And we, as Mamas, need to live in a memory mindset. When they break down over a toy they want in Wal-Mart, when they pee on the couch after an already exhausting day of potty training, when they take three hours to put on a pair of rain boots even though you are clearly in a hurry- rather than getting overwhelmed and upset, pause– and remind yourself: This is only for a season. Then etch those memories on to your mama heart, because someday you will want to revisit them.
Someday it will all be worth it. Someday you will wake up on a Monday morning to kids midway through breakfast. They’ll already be dressed and huffing and puffing about “Why do I have to make my bed I’m just gonna sleep in it again anyways.”
Someday they will do more, so you can do less. They won’t leave toys scattered on the ground or gobs of toothpaste on the sink. They won’t dump 15,000 legos onto their bedroom floor just before bed or try on 60 different outfits in three minutes.
But they also won’t come snuggle in bed with you early in the morning. They won’t light up when you read Winnie the Pooh for the 40th time. They will lose those sweet chubby fingers and wobbly toddler legs. They’ll stop bringing earthworms, shells, and flowers to lay out in a display for you on the coffee table.
Kids do make life harder, but they also make it precious, joyful, and full of wonder! And someday, they’ll grow up. Someday, we will miss the mess and mayhem of Mondays. Someday, we will finish a cup of hot coffee without a yeti mug or a trip to the microwave. And someday we will clean our homes and they will stay that way for days.
So revel in the mundane moments and the struggle of navigating life with little ones at your feet. Living life with your children isn’t always easy, but it won’t be like this forever. Someday we will wish for purple fountains and hectic schedules. So include them in every moment, soak in all of their sweet little selves- their help and their messes. We can’t make these days last forever, but we can make memories that will.
Jump in with both feet and enjoy your little ones today!