Young parents, be patient with yourselves

I was with a group of friends last night, most of which are parents of young kids. It was a riot! Almost literally. And I loved it.

The decible level was probably beyond the safe limit.

Conversations were interrupted after just a few sentences.

Balls and balloons and a few other objects were often airborn.

During one quiet, serious moment, a woman started to pray. But then her newborn spat up big time down her shirt so that she had to get changed.

She said that a few days before, she’d had to go get some blood drawn. And though that’s not usually something anyone looks forward to, the quiet kid-free time was the highlight of the week.

I smiled throughout the evening as stories were told and plans were (tentatively) made, because I remember those kid-dominated days. Although the youngest of my four kids is now 13, it doesn’t seem as if those harried and hassled little-kid days were that long ago.

Having lived through those years, I really don’t mind crying babies on airplanes, stubborn toddlers, or kids who climb on the furniture. They’re just doing what kids have always done.

To those who don’t like it, I have this advice: Keep your mouth shut.That is, unless you’ve got something nice and supportive to say. It’s stressful enough dealing with the kids. They don’t need adults making things worse.

And to the parents, I say: Be patient with yourselves. This is good but exhausting work that you’re doing. Few jobs compare with the intensity of it.

Be patient with your emotions. Be patient with your kids’ behavior. And be patient with you goals and dreams.

Rarely can someone be a great parent and great at something else at the same time. You only have so much time and energy, so you have to pick.

This is why so few people do amazing things while they have young children at home. This is why you don’t see many with young children do anything significant in the Bible.

Abraham and Sarah have Isaac after years of waiting. And the next time we see them, Isaac is 13 years old. What significant thing were they doing in the meantime? Raising Isaac. You have to pick.

Moses does some very significant things in Egypt after his son Gershom was born. But Gershom and Mom were left behind in Midian while Moses did his Egyptian wonders. I wonder if that’s why Gershom disappears from the story, not joining his nation-birthing father. You have to pick.

When your children are young, I suggest picking them as the one thing you do well — even if you don’t feel like you’re doing it all that well.

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