Paneras & Parenting

This morning, my mom homeschooled the boys and gave me the time off.  I spent it first going to the dentist and then to get bloodwork done.  After that, I went to the library, took out some books, and then stopped at Panera Bread.  With a cup of Spiced Pumpkin Latte, I sat down at my own table and popped open my newly borrowed book.

Before all you moms get too jealous, let me state that this is an extreme rarity for me.  The reality is most of my days are spent in work.  Life is work — a lot of it.  Parenting has its amazingly precious moments like when my 2-year-old falls asleep in my arms or watching my children throwing leaves in the air while laughing.  Yet, the reality is there’s the drudgery aspect and the hard work.  If you still have a “Cinderella” view of parenting, it’s probably because you aren’t a parent or are not being honest.  The truth is some days, (thankfully they are once in awhile) I feel that I should check into a hospital or wonder if my kids will wind up in prison.  Then, other days I find myself filled with a quiet joy as I have watched my child do something amazingly selfless or kind.  Those moments are monumental to me.

When I was single, I used to watch moms of 11 children parent with such grace and joy.  It looked so easy.  My own mom made parenting look pretty easy.  We knew our parents loved God.  We knew God was real in their lives; we knew they spoke with much wisdom.  We knew they were our authorities.  We knew they loved us.  I taught others children in the classroom, at camps, at Bible clubs, and I even trained others.  I babysat.  I thought that as a mother, I would open my mouth and great wisdom would pour forth.  I would be patient all the time.  I thought that my children would be these perfectly behaved miniature adults, with Godly behavior most of the time.

Then I became a mom!  At first, there were adjustments, but I soon fell in love with my precious baby and life seemed almost dream-like.  Then at only 16 1/2 months, he became a big brother.  Suddenly, I had two babies who had great needs.  I felt torn and wasn’t sure how to balance it all.  Suddenly, my Cinderella bubble had popped.  Close to when my second son was turning one, I was once again comfortable with life.  (Ha! Ha!  God says, “Comfortable?  I haven’t called you to live comfortably selfish.  I have called you to growth and to die to self.”)  Then, I found I was pregnant again!  In three years time, I had given birth to three boys.   I quickly adjusted and  life moved along ’til my third child became more mobile.  Suddenly, I realized that I was not able to be the perfect mom.  God was showing me that I was not able to go in my own strength.  He was stretching me beyond my comfort zone.  He was teaching me that I was completely dependent on Him.  He was revealing my own pride and bringing me to the humble admission that I am not the perfect mom.  In fact, sometimes I wonder why God even gave me these precious children to raise.  Yet, He did!  God was revealing His amazing grace, mercy, compassion, forbearance towards me!

So as I sat in Paneras this morning, I knew that these moments are rare and appreciated, but life isn’t about Paneras. It isn’t about having a comfortable life.  It isn’t about having the “perfect” and “controlled” life with everything planned just as I want. If I think that I will have the “perfect” life by having more fun times like Paneras, I will be sorely disappointed.  Truly it’s quite empty in itself.  For me it was a time to be refreshed and to have time to think and rejoice in God’s blessings to me and in His goodness.  It was a time that God used to revive my heart and to remind me that my life isn’t about my circumstances; it’s about my attitudes and outlook.  I can be the happiest woman on the earth while cleaning poopy messes and hanging up the 1000th load of laundry if my heart sees it as an opportunity to serve my Lord and as I recognize that my highest calling, most fulfilling job, greatest blessings today is for me to simply raise my children as unto the Lord.  No, it’s not a “Cinderella” life; but it’s a much more fulfilling life!  Afterall, I am a mother.


12 thoughts on “Paneras & Parenting

  1. Terri Drake

    Your blog brought back so many memories. I remember changing #1 son’s diaper only to wipe #3 son in the bathroom and then quickly run over to #2 son and change his diaper. All poop alerts within 60 seconds. I was beyond exhausted (one did not like to sleep and still doesn’t) with a baby, 2 and 4 year old but now they are 9, almost 12 and 14 and I love that they are close in age. They are truly wonderful loving brothers about 85% of the time. That to me is a tremendous blessing from the Lord and makes up for the physically hard days when they were little. They are a huge help around the house now and loving young boys. But of course I attribute this to God’s leading my husband to be an excellent father. What a tremendous blessing for them to have the kind of Dad that resembles Jesus in his actions. I am humbled by this every day. Its all worth the hard work that is done unto the Lord.

    1. mommyofboyz

      Terri, your husband sounds wonderful! My husband is also a wonderful, godly dad! I am so grateful for this! Thank you for your encouragement! It gives me much hope. 🙂

  2. Jennifer Ott

    Hey, hon! Glad you got a break…sometimes that’s just what we need to get a more correct perspective on things. I am jealous you have a mom who is willing to do that for you! Been praying for you; hope you are well. We’ll catch up soon, I am sure…even if it’s when this baby comes!

  3. Dear Amy, you write so well I can almost see the situations and feel your emotions. Mom and I are constantly amazed at all you do and all you have given up to devote almost every waking hour to your family. All this and apparently you save a little time for your hubby! (Sorry, that was supposed to be a “funny”). You both need our prayers and we do pray for you every day. By the way, Christmas should be a blast this year!! Love and kisses to you and the little Urchins. PoP-PoP

    1. mommyofboyz

      Dad, thank you! You are so sweet and encouraging! I am so far from being all that I want to be — all that God wants me to be. Yet, I see His hand and feel His grace and know that His love is encompassing me and working on me to help me grow into His daughter of grace. You see, as I raise my boys, God is raising me as His daughter too.

  4. Oh Amy, you painted the perfect picture of the balanced beauty and chaos that is motherhood! JOY right smack dab in the middle of CRAZY! Thank you for sharing your heart.

    1. mommyofboyz

      Thanks, Ruth! I know you can relate to these moments. Motherhood is such a journey and is really all about me growing as daughter or my Heavenly Father,while I help to “grow” my boys.

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