Dear MOB Society, I find myself disappointed when things don’t go the way I want them to go. How can I lower my expectations so I can experience more joy?
My boys are “those boys.”
You know the ones . . . High-energy. Full of life. Spirited. Loud, wrestling brothers who love to move, born just 15 months apart.
And I adore them – just how they are.
But there are days . . . “Those days.” Days in which I wonder if their attention span will ever be longer than 20 seconds (on a good day.) Days in which I worry my parenting falls on deaf ears. And days when I’m literally on my knees, asking God to guide me in the raising of my three children – two, of which, are “those boys.”
A few nights ago, my boys were in the tub together, playing and splashing water in every nook and cranny of our bathroom. While they doused the room, I began to tackle the beckoning heap of laundry, enjoying the time they were contained even at the risk of flood damage.
Suddenly, it was very quiet.
When “those boys” are quiet, there’s nothing louder. Quiet usually means one of two possibilities: 1) danger and/or 2) mischief.
To test the waters (pun intended), I said “Be still and know . . . ” but didn’t finish the rest. I paused.
“That I am God,” my older son, Samuel, replied.
Ever so briefly, I relished the moment.
“He’s getting it,” I thought. “He’s hearing me and better yet, understanding it.”
Not more than five seconds later, I hear bubbles. And not the kind that come from the jets of our tub. The kind made by five and six year old boys in a bathtub, followed by uproarious laughter.
In that moment, there was nothing to do but join in the giggles.
As I walked to the bedroom to retrieve yet another basket, I began to think of how “those boys” have transformed my life.
While the special moment in the tub wasn’t perfect and there are certainly days in which I feel like I’m just plain old failing at this parenting gig, it was still memorable. In fact, more memorable than if it had been a “perfect moment.”
While being a mother has not at all turned out to be what I expected (I would do crafts all day and special art projects and teach them to read by the age of four and . . . ), it’s far exceeded what my childless self once envisioned.
And while I didn’t understand just how difficult it could be at times to be a mother, I also didn’t understand just how much those difficult moments would grow me into a wiser and more mature woman.
God teaches me so much through “those boys.”
So if you’re like me and your expectations can sometimes be too high or you are envisioning a situation to go a certain way and it doesn’t, rest easy. Exhale. Remember He loves your children even more than you do.
Because it’s the imperfect, mundane moments that create memories and it’s the memories that become a life.
Natalie Snapp is embracing life just south of perfect…
This post is part of our first series of 2014, Hope for the Messiness of Motherhood. Find all of the posts in this series here.
I have two boys ages 5 and 7 and I tend to get really anxious and irritated with loud noises and rough housing, constantly worrying and saying, “Stop it before someone gets hurt!” When their dad plays with them it gets even louder and chaotic but I recently read THIS is how boys (and their fathers) bond with one another and looking at it that way I am more willing to tolerate the wrestling, ticketing, screaming, jumping, tackling, and chasing through the house – I am really trying to embrace it as part of normal boy behavior and in 2014 I am no longer trying to “stop them” from being and doing exactly what they “do.”
I totally have one of those boys, and he’s doing his best to make sure his baby brother becomes one, too! But I wouldn’t trade them for anything – I am so thankful for them! Thanks for this encouragement, Natalie!