Horrible weeks like last week are so worth the tears, effort, time, and hard work that is done every day to keep our household going. This past week I began feeling like I was a “house fairy” who does laundry, dishes, gives the children baths, makes dinner, gives out snacks, nurses the baby, does the bills, keeps a budget, plans out the garden, takes online courses, and is never seen at all. I think most stay-at-home moms can identify with this at least ONCE in their stay-at-home careers. Now I do have to say my children always tell me thank you, they ALWAYS complement me on my food I prepare, and make sure to hug me and tell me they love me at least once a day. My husband walks in and tells me the house looks great, thanks for folding the clothes, you worked really hard today and thanks me for all that I do- NORMALLY. But last week it seemed like everyone was so caught up in their own lives they forgot that they normally do this.
It was a terribly hard week with discipline! We had children with bad attitudes, and lazy children who didn’t want to do school or chores, and on top of my daily normal things I have to do I had to stop an deal with these things first because making sure our children understand that when mom and dad say to do something you do not disrespect them, or making sure that our children understand that they have chores because we are all a family and we help each other, and making sure our children understand that God says it is right to honor your mother and father and they need to do this because GOD said not just because WE said, is all more important than anything else I have to do that day! However, it is the MOST exhausting thing I do ALL WEEK LONG!! I hate being the nagging mother who has to constantly stand behind her children and make them do what they are supposed to do! This is not in my personality to do this, nor is it in my will to do this, I have to practically FORCE myself to do this because not only do I loath this- I find it unbelievably stressful!! I want to throw myself on the floor right next to them some days and kick my feet and yell at them “why do I always have to make you do these things!!!” I want to be the one crying about how unfair it is and that it is SUCH HARD WORK!!!! I don’t think I ever understood when my parents used to say to me when I got punished, “it hurts me more than it does you” until I had my own children!!
Back on Valentines day we watched our beloved cat Elliott run out the front door when we opened it and we haven’t seen him since. It was a hard day for Pumpkin as she is the biggest animal lover I have ever known!! When Elliott was a kitten she would hold him on his back and tickle his belly and he would playfully swat at her hands and ended up scratching up her hands REALLY bad!! One day she got a fever and ended up in the hospital because they thought she had rabies from the kitten (he was too young to get a rabies shot yet). Then after further investigation they decided they thought she had “cat scratch fever” from all the scratch marks. They scared the living daylights out of me and wanted to treat her for rabies but because I had scratches on myself and I was fine, I knew it had to be some silly virus…which after trying to treat her for 15 days for rabies and I refused they finally tested her for step and it was POSITIVE- HELLO!!! After that we decided it was in our best interest to get the cat declawed on his front paws. It was over $400.00!!
Now that it has been almost two months since Elliott has left and we have not been able to find him, we decided it was time to start looking for a new dog. Pumpkin was having trouble getting over it, she blamed herself because she said she was mad at him that morning and maybe if she had just kept him in her room that wouldn’t have happened. We went through daily crying spells of how much she missed him and how maybe he didn’t remember her anymore and didn’t love her anymore. We assured her he loves her so much and probably found a girlfriend, we had her write a letter to him and we spent many days talking about him. Not only was she upset but it started affecting her attitude. She became mean to her siblings and irritated at us, she didn’t want to do anything besides watch tv. After two months of this I realized something needs to change.
A few days ago, she again had a tough morning. She again had a crying spell about how much she missed Elliott to my husband. I called her to my room that afternoon and sat on the bed with her. We began to talk about Elliott and her feelings about what was going on. In that one moment I realized that all that hard work I’ve done disciplining our children, showing them God’s way for their lives, taking time out of the day to work on their character and attitudes and hearts- was more than worth every minute I felt I wasted in the last week! I sat and watched my 8 year old daughter pour her heart out and cry her eyes out about how she “JUST wants to be with Jesus because life is painful and hard and Jesus makes it better!” I have never in all my life imagined that her sensitive heart at the young age of 8 years old could understand a concept that I myself did not fully understand until I was 29 years old! When I was her age I remember praying and begging God to NOT come back yet and let me graduate, get married, have children, watch them get married…” Lord let me experience life” I would pray. And here I am years later watching my 8 year old express that she JUST WANTS JESUS TO COME BACK so she can be with him!! I often find myself asking “Lord why have you chosen ME to have all these children, it is SO hard!” But all the tough times are so worth hearing my daughters love for the Lord expressed so greatly at such a young age!
My husband and I talked after that and felt like we had to get a new animal asap after that conversation with her. Her heart was broken-and because of that our hearts were too- and we felt that it was important that she be restored. We told her we would go looking for a new dog this time instead of a cat because we didn’t want to #1 pay another 400.00 to get it declawed and #2 run the risk of losing it again. So after prayer and discussion we went and got our new puppy Koby.
On the way home that day Pumpkin was in the back of the van and I did not see her stop smiling at ALL. A song came on the radio (christian station) and she says, “mom, can you turn up this song?” i turned it up and looked in my mirror at the sweetest sight of my 8 year old with her eyes closed, hugging her new puppy, and praising her Savior!” She recognized that God had blessed her with another animal to love in her time of loss and grieving. He had restored her heart and she knew that the first thing that she should do is PRAISE THE LORD for all that he has done for her! What a great ending to a horrible week!
In the midst of last week I didn’t know how I was ever going to make it to the end of the week! I questioned everything about my parenting and told God I wasn’t getting anywhere with these kids it was JUST TOO HARD!! It is not easy to guide soon to be 7 children down a narrow path that I have to stay on right behind them!!! But then he showed me just a small glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel! Stuff like that is what carries me through into the next week, into the next 10 loads of laundry, into the next temper tantrum, and sleepless nights. I am so grateful for my hard life because without hard work we will see no results in the end! Thank you Lord for helping us to overcome the hard things in life and giving us Jesus to make it all better!!