Do you ever have days when you find yourself mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, while thinking, "I wish I could be a Mom more like her."
I don't, ever.
Okay, I'm lying! I do it way too often, and I bet you find yourself doing it sometimes too. I'll see a picture of someone else's child laughing and think, "I bet his mom doesn't scream like a mad women after she tells him to take out the trash, ten times." Or I'll read a status update about how another mom's three year old just learned how to read, while sharing her favorite book with a sweet elderly lady... at the nursing home her mom volunteers at. A few thoughts usually accompany this one...#1. Her three year old can read?! Mine is just starting to really talk, and it's in third person. #2. She has time to volunteer?! I really should quit being so selfish, I use my extra time hiding in the closet, eating candy bars, for real!
I'll be the first to say it, Facebook has some really great qualities. For instance; it's an awesome way to stay connected to family that lives far away or reconnect with old friends that you thought had long forgotten you. However, if we aren't careful it becomes an invisible ruler in which we use to measure our worth and ability as parents, wives, husbands and contributing adults in general. In life, especially parenting, moms and dads are their own worst enemy. Sometimes it's hard to maintain our happiness in the midst of the storm, and having children can create one heck of a storm in your life. Just like "video killed the radio star" Facebook is slowly killing off the 'real' moms and dads. The kind who make mistakes and learn from them. The kind who have bad days. The kind that do the best they know how, and aren't afraid to admit to it. The kind who encourage and uplift other parents during their trials. The kind who recognize this role we have found ourselves in for what it is...a job, a blessing, a calling, a lifestyle.
The best answer I can come up with for how to make raising kids less stressful is this...Close out your multiple tabs you've got up on your computer screen, put down your phone or tablet, turn off the T.V. (unless The Today Show is on, of course!) and live in the moment. Don't try and recreate moments from Facebook that you see others have, but create your own. Take every chance you can to laugh with your children. Answer their kazillion questions about outer space. Listen to their endless gab over Minecraft and ask them questions, be interested. Go outside and play in the dirt, walk barefoot in the grass, gaze at the stars. Make every moment teachable, especially the hard ones. Continuously show them, and maybe even more importantly, show yourself, the act of love, grace, forgiveness and tolerance. Because one day, sooner than you would like to admit, your babies won't be babies anymore. They will be all grown up and heading out your door on an adventure of their own. It's at this time, you will look back on the yesterdays and realize that the stress, the tears, the sleepless nights, the screams, the tantrums, the diapers, the sleep training and the potty training was all worth it for the unique, stunning individual standing before you in the here and now. God doesn't promise us tomorrow, so live for today.