There are days, and I’m sure MANY moms out there have them, where I feel like a giant Stretch Armstrong. *For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s a rubbery man doll with VERY stretchy limbs.* Only I feel a bit more like a Stretch ArmOctopus. So many things pulling hard for my attention and care. I’ve got an arm for my darling husband, one for each kid, one for my business, one for responsibilities at church, one for family/friends, one for housework and one for God. Okay, so I’m a 9-armed octopus. All of these things are so very important to me, it becomes difficult to prioritize and decide which one should get my attention and when. Priorities. It’s not an easy task to keep all the plates spinning up in the air.
The challenge for me, is to maintain my plates and keep them spinning. It’s easy for me to say, “Well, I can spin this one really really well, so I’ll just focus on this one and let the other plate fall.” I choose, I compromise, I get lazy and ultimately, all my plates fall. Personally, I believe that my God will never give me more plates than He knows I can handle. So while I take comfort in that, I also have to remind myself that those plates aren’t just “there” for me to spin. They are my responsibility and the things God has called me to do. Yes, I spin the “kid” plate, but God hasn’t just called me to be a “mom.” He has called me to be a “great mom.” Which means I don’t ever let that plate fall. The same applies to my other “plates.” God assigned me specific plates for a purpose. Not just because randomly, those were the cards I was dealt, it’s not just “the way the cookie crumbles.” God had a plate with Tim’s name on it and said, “I choose Ashley to spin this plate.” While that may be a thrill and a joy and a source of pride, it’s also a huge responsibility and a great honor. I was chosen specifically for the tasks at hand. It’s humbling. God picked me. I’m nobody. Yet, here I am spinning plates. Of course, I am by no means perfect. Sometimes my plate clatters loudly to the ground because I lost focus, but His grace is enough for me to get spinning again….and again…and again…and again.
One thing we try to foster in our kids is the idea that Mom and Dad, while more experienced, are no better than they are. We emphasize our sin and need for forgiveness from both God and them, often. It’s easy for me to consider myself superior to my kids. I think all parents would agree that it can be a tendency to slip into that mode of thought. However, there’s no reason on earth why I am any better than my babies. We all operate on a level playing field and are the same in God’s eyes. Last night at the dinner table, we were discussing this and so I asked the kids what they think Mom and Dad need to work on. Jadon sat thoughtfully for a brief moment before saying very respectfully, “I think patience, Mom and Dad. For the most part, it’s good. But sometimes it’s not good.” I knew he was right. I looked at Lilly and she nodded in agreement with her brother. How humbling. But they are right, we do need to work on patience. So we thanked the kid for being honest, and agreed to make a good effort to become more patient. As much as I enjoy being my kids’ teacher, I have much to learn from them whether they know it or not. We are not perfect parents, but they can help us become better. It’s interesting to see their level of respect for us rise when we are transparent with them and humble to them. It doesn’t seem like it “should” work that way, but it does. And how it does. The moments after I apologize to the kids for something are some of the most humbling, yet sweet moments. In that moment, I am acknowledging that I am not perfect. I am being vulnerable to my kids and instead of bashing me, scolding me or shunning me, they ALWAYS forgive me with open arms, tight hugs and sticky kisses. Those are the moments when I think, “This….this is what my family is about.” The sun shines a little brighter, the air is a little sweeter and for that moment of reconciliation, everything is as it should be. Then of course, it goes back to the chaos which comes with having 3 small children. But at least, it’s a happier chaos.
Till Next Time,