Wednesday, April 9, 2008

My Cup Runs Over

With three kids that came one after the other, and with the two younger ones that came so close together, I have always experienced a limit to my creativity, energy, and most important of all, patience, when dealing with them. In my quest to be God's best for my kids, I continuously attend parenting seminars sponsored by the school or church, read parenting articles and books... anything to motivate and inspire me. No matter how many articles I read or seminars I attend, inspite of my best efforts, my patience still leaves me at those times when I need it the most.

J would ask me every so often which child do I love best. How do you answer that? Each one of them is truly unique and one child's strength is the other's weak spot.

Take J for example, she is the perfect eldest child - patient with her younger siblings, joyfully helpful with chores, and her willingness to try new things is just simply God-sent especially when I need to encourage the 2 younger ones to participate in a new activity/sport. But she is not that diligent when it comes to matters of hygiene and organization.

B, on the other hand, doesn't need to be reminded to arrange her things in a neat and orderly manner. She is fastidious and attentive to detail and this is where my problem with her stubbornness comes in. She wants to do things her way and at her own pace. Threats and glares don't work on her. She takes some time to adjust to new places, people and activities.

R, being the only boy and the youngest one at that, is emotionally attached to me.
He is constantly trying to compete with B for my attention, prompting B to call him her echo. However, he also lives to please his dad. His playful spirit and active body makes for a tired yaya.

I try to have some quiet time in the morning when they are all still sleeping, and pray for more patience and love to give during the day, wisdom to teach and lead by example. But on the days that everything just go from bad to worse, when frustration, annoyance, exasperation, irritation, infuriation (well, you get the drift) takes over, I end up hating myself at the end of the day because I know I had let myself and the kids down again.

To let the kids understand where my frustration comes from, I have thought of a simple way to illustrate how negative feelings build up. I started with J since the I didn't think the 2 younger ones would be able to understand it yet. I brought her to the sink and showed her an empty cup. I turned on the tap a little and let some water drip to the cup. I did this a couple of times till the cup was almost full. I stopped (for added drama, of course) and pointed out to her that now all it takes was just one tiny drop to make the water inside the cup overflow. And having said that, I turned on the tap again, and true enough the water overflowed. And that, I said, was how Mommy sometimes just simply blows her top at seemingly petty acts. Presentation done. Point made.

I thought of Stormie Omartian and remembered that it's not being a perfect parent that makes a difference in our children's lives. It's a being a praying parent that does! As Stormie wrote: For it's the power of God that penetrates a child's life when a parent prays. God knows our thoughts and our needs, but he responds to our prayers.

And with that, I say good night. Tomorrow morning will find me praying again for more patience
and love to give during the day, wisdom to teach and lead by example.