Thursday, January 10, 2013
In Which I Admit I'm Not an Octopus
One of the most difficult thing about having multiple children is that they all seem to need your attention all at the same time. It never fails. Somebody always needs something. And these needs overlap quite often. These moments consist of the following example- the baby screaming out of hunger, Elle needing to go to the bathroom, Isaac wanting to play a card game, Joshua needing to get his shoes on and Caleb wanting to show me his latest building. It's easy to feel like they are one solid hurricane of confusion/chaos coming to wreck my patience all in one shot! I tend to want to take cover. However, that's not helpful in the slightest.
So instead, I tend to go through a couple of different stages of reactions. My first reaction is usually panic. How can I get to all of you and meet all of your needs right now?? Most of the time I can squash that one because I know it's not going to be helpful (but not always...sometimes I do give in to panic and when I do, it's never pretty). After passing through the panic phase, I usually switch into management. Okay, take Elle to the bathroom first so I don't end up with an accident. Ask Isaac and Caleb to wait a minute. Get them to help Josh with his shoes. Go pick up baby. And so forth.
Management is good. It's key to getting through and making it. However, one thing that gets lost amidst the chaos is that I forget that my children are individuals.
They don't see everybody else's requests. They just see their own need. And they need their Mommy just as much as their brother or sister.
Hmmm...dilemma. Because I am not an octopus. At least last I checked.
So what gives? How in the world do I tend to every single need?
This whole topic has been on my mind a lot lately because I've been finding myself wanting. There's just not enough time in the day to get everything done. I'm always behind. The laundry is never done. Somebody always needs a wipe, or a hug or correction. And it's really tempting to berate myself over my failures.
You know yesterday, Isaac asked to play a game with you three times and you never did. You know Joshy seemed to need some attention from you but you kept having to pick up the baby. You know Elliana could use more correction right now because she's really been testing you. And Caleb, he needs you to be giving him the "special time" that he's been asking you for.
Somebody always needs something! And if I'm not careful, these thoughts will play over and over in my head and drive me into a sort of mad guilt over not being super woman.
How do I divide myself up so that I can disciple each child, hear their little hearts and steer them in a good direction?
I don't know. Anybody out there want to give me a clue? The more kids I have, the more I realize I just can't do it all. Something will have to give. I can't keep up (I must admit though that it's not just about having five kids...I have felt this since I brought home my second child).
So this is the only resolution that I have. Resolved...to remember that my kids are little people and that we are in relationship. It's a chaotic one at times, but the familial ties are strong. We're together, for good or bad. It's not just about management although that does play a role. I can't keep up with their needs perfectly. But I can do my best, in the midst of things, to look them in the eyes and listen to them. In other words, to treat them like the little people they are. Because someday, I want them to want to be around.
If I am doing that, then I have to trust that God will fill in the gaps and that love-my love, Steve's love and most importantly God's love, will cover a multitude of sins.