First time obedience sounds like it would be fantastic, but it’s often not a healthy expectation. If my husband came in and said, “Woman, make me iced tea. NOW!” I would give him an earful about showing me respect and not treating me like a doormat. That’s not how you treat someone you love. Love means to serve, not be served. If he came in and said, “Honey, it’s hot outside and I’m out of iced tea. Could you make some for me?” I would be much more willing to do that small thing for him.
I mentioned that one of my “cranky mommy” triggers is feeling unheard, which often gets aggravated by unrealistic expectations of my children’s capability for obedience. I would love for them to create the habit of putting dirty laundry in the basket as soon as they take it off. But, being perfectly honest here, I don’t even have that habit. If I’m nearly 30 and still working on developing that habit, perhaps I should give a little grace to my kids who have really only been working on that habit for a few years.
I feel that my request is more important that the current game my son is play. However, it isn’t. Truly. I’m learning to step around the socks a little more and wait until there is a natural break in whatever game they are playing. If I wait for a natural pause, the boys are more capable of switching focus and taking a minute to complete the request properly.
Making iced tea for my husband could become an act of love and service. The next time he runs out of iced tea, I’d probably notice that it’s hot and remember he likes cold iced tea on a hot day. I would probably make him iced tea before he even asked. I don’t drink iced tea and I couldn’t care less about it. But I care about my husband so I try to keep the jug filled.
A couple of weeks ago I talked about how you should give yourself grace with housekeeping. Now I’m telling you to give your kids grace. They do want to please you, even if it is only done halfway. They should get credit for trying, just like my husband gives me credit for those evenings when I only get supper half made. Sometimes I don’t finish the job because I got distracted by life (typically in the form of small people). Just like my boys don’t always finish the job because they get distracted by life (and yes, play is a huge and important part of their life). And you know what my husband does when he sees I have gotten distracted? He comes alongside to help me finish the job. That’s my personal enlightening moment of today. I appreciate his coming alongside much more than I would appreciate him nagging me to finish on my own.
It is really tough for me to wrap my mind around the fact that my role as a mother is to serve. The miracle of the service of motherhood is that, after a while, my kids start to come alongside me.
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