A New Stage of Parenting
Our daughter recently turned two, and while we are so delighted with her expanding vocabulary, sweet hugs, and new discoveries, we are also entering a whole new stage of thoughts and desires–requiring much patience on our part. She now has an opinion for just about everything, and of course, follows me at my heels wanting to help. Oftentimes most of the chores are left until the evening when my husband is home simply because it’s stressful trying to do it with our toddler around! The mornings used to be simple but now we are spending time deciding if we want to put on our pants before the shirt, looking for the pink bow, and choosing which bib we are going to wear! The “demands” start early and last until bedtime!
As parents, we are trying to create balance and also establish authority in the times it’s necessary. There are lots of approaches we’re working on during this important stage in our daughter’s development. We offer choices, try to keep a firm yet light tone to our voice, use simple but impactful words, offer responses that teach rather than promote fear, and most importantly, we try to be slow to anger.
Patience Brings Enjoyment of Parenting
As most of you can surely relate, I usually start off pretty strong in the morning. I feel like Mary Poppins with a Daniel Tiger song on my lips for every moment. However, parenting lasts all day long. (Actually, 24/7!) By the late afternoon I start to really struggle, at which point I have to start singing the Daniel Tiger songs to myself to help me remember to respond correctly. And disclaimer: I don’t always remember to respond correctly. Sometimes I might remember, but I still don’t respond correctly. Just keeping it real, y’all.
Some days it’s really hard, but here is the truth: I enjoy parenthood so much more when I’m patient.
I love what Solomon had to say in Ecclesiastes 3:
1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
9 What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.
Parenthood is my toil right now, that is the season I’m in.
I’m in the season of…
- little hands helping me do dishes
- little arms hugging at my legs as I cook dinner
- little feet going the opposite direction I need them to go
- and little tempers firing when things don’t make sense.
My chores take longer as I wait for her to help me pull out each individual dish from the dishwasher or put each item of clothing in the dryer one by one. My hands are dry and itchy from constantly wiping up messes. My patience is tested when my daughter insists I wear my silver dress sandals instead of my comfy Tevas on our trip to Target or when she insists on her pink bow when the blue bow matches. I’m continually working on responding to the endless demands of teaching a toddler how to navigate her life. This is my toil.
In all of this, am I finding satisfaction? Yes, most definitely. Your toil might look a lot like mine. Are you finding satisfaction in it? I’m sure that you are! We love our children; they bring us a happiness that knows no bounds. As I said earlier, though, the days can be hard. Remember, this is our toil–our work.
Having Patience as a Parent
As a parent, I look to the Lord for so much, but also for examples in parenting. More than once in scripture we read that the Lord is slow to anger. Oh, help us, Jesus! That we as mommas might be slow to anger! This will help us see what’s really going on, and help us rear our children toward what is good.
Patience helps me realize that my little girl is learning how to serve her family by helping with chores. I love that she takes such delight in helping. (I’m well prepared for a relapse on this as she gets older!) The messes I’m cleaning up are there because she’s learning to do things on her own. Having patience reminds me that her tantrums are coming about because she is learning the important lesson that we can’t always get what we want. I also see that having her own strong opinions means that she will not only be able to stand up for herself one day, but stand up for others who’ve been bullied, and stand up for the Lord and his will. The toil of parenthood has a purpose, there is a harvest in sight.
So remember, sweet friends, He has made everything beautiful in its time. Have patience with those little hands and little hearts. To find satisfaction in your toil is a gift from God!
Continued to be encouraged…