The longer I’ve been a mother, the more I have realized what the number one enemy of stewarding my children well is… Any guesses? Distraction. This may seem hilarious because if you’re a mother too, you realize that our children actually cause a ton of distraction! ha I’ve become a queen at multitasking because there are always so. many. distractions going on with three children.
They ask questions at the same time.
They need something from me all at the same time.
They play loudly whenever I’m trying to talk on the phone or need to focus on an important task.
Yes, they can be distracting, but that’s not the distraction I am referring to above.
I am referring to the distractions that take my attention AWAY from my kids. For me personally, these can commonly look like the following:
1. endless scrolling through social media or just being on my phone a lot in general
2. feeling too tired and exhausted so I disengage
3. putting my kids in front of the tv because its easier than answering a million questions and I just want a moment to myself
Those are just a few, there are many more, but I’ve noticed that when I find myself caving to these distractions, my motherhood becomes stressful and my children become increasingly disobedient and discontent. Which makes sense because my kids need their mother…all of their mother and they can tell when I am disengaged and not fully invested in them, so they act out in the only way they know how to get my attention.
The Lord has made me more and more aware of how my level of distraction affects my kids. And while yes there are seasons (like my current one of morning sickness) where I am doing the best I can but we’re on the struggle bus and the kids watch a lot more TV than normal because I’m in the bathroom vomiting, but this is not our normal circumstances and even in this season, I am striving to let my kids know they are loved and seen and even sick I need to get the job done as a mother that God has given me.
Because in all honesty, my job as a mother doesn’t stop just because life throws a curveball. It may feel like I’ve got all the time in the world to parent my children, but it’s not true. My youngest is almost 5 years old. That blows my mind because I swear I blinked and she went from a chunky baby to a lanky little girl. I know that my time with my kids is fleeting, but it’s hit me in a whole new way lately because I’ve got 18 years with these kids at the least…I pray for more, but with my goal not being to hoard my children…but to send them out into the world, I WANT them to leave the nest and make a difference in the world. And that just means my time to shape them and instill character, life skills, and education into them is flying by. I don’t have time to be distracted! I’ve got a big job to do.
And I’ve been told by countless momma’s of older kids that if I will do the hard work now while they are young, the older years become a lot easier. So I’m trying to follow their advice and lay a foundation of obedience, tenderheartedness, selflessness, and love into my kids now while they are so young, so that they have a solid place to continue to develop their character on.
So how do I fight distraction?
1. Get enough sleep
If this means I need to go to bed at 9pm so I am up at 6:30 and not feeling like death, that’s what I need to do. Tired me = grumpy me. And no one is served well when I’m a grouch. I am tempted soooo much more to be disengaged when I am tired.
2. Put my phone down
Everyone is always suggesting this and we know it in our minds, but how often do we actually DO this? I don’t know about you but it’s nearly impossible for me to listen to my kids’ thousands of stories and also be scrolling on Instagram. How am I going to be aware of how my kids are treating each other and talk them through disputes and get to the heart of their behavior, if I have no idea what’s going on? I have to be paying attention to see those things! And I also don’t want my kids to never get eye contact from me because my eyes are always pointing at my phone.
3. Get in the Word.
Yes, we all know this. But God’s Word and His Holy Spirit are the only thing that will ever change my heart. And a changed heart is what changes my behavior. Being in the presence of God changes me. Knowing Him changes me. And the way I get to know God is through scripture. So I need to be in it, and often.
For me sometimes this means getting up before the kids and spending uninterrupted time reading the Word. Sometimes it looks like listening to it when I’m in the shower and putting on my make up. And other times its reading it in the chaos of children all around me. But no matter how, I NEED Him and His word.
4. Silence negative voices.
There are some negative Nancy’s everywhere these days. I cannot tell you how many times I hear lies spoken over motherhood and children in general.
“Have kids they said. It’s be great they said.”
“Kiss your free time goodbye.”
“Is it time for wine yet?”
You get it. because these messages are EVERYWHERE. In the form of complaining mother’s in mom groups on facebook, or “funny” memes, or real life friends. And while yes, I get it. It’s just not funny to me.
Scripture clearly says that children are a blessing and a REWARD. It doesn’t say they won’t be difficult or hard and that you won’t be exhausted. But as my friend Abbie says “Hard is not the same thing as bad.” God calls children good and I will too. And maybe the difficult things children cause, are for MY good and MY growth.
And my flesh struggles enough as it is not to be whiny and want to complain. So if I add all of the millions of negative voices out there, no wonder I’m discontent and find it easier to disengage with my kids. So I just don’t let those voices into my life.
I follow positive examples of motherhood on Instagram. I listen to motherhood podcasts that focus on scripture and sanctification and not “Man this suckssssss.” And it’s been a huge help to me in keeping focused!
5. Just do it.
It’s a hard lesson to learn, but sometimes I’ve just got to suck it up and do it. I’m not always going to feel like being a mom or educating my children. And motherhood is not a job I get to clock out of. It’s a 24/7 gig. And yeah sometimes that is really hard. But I’m the adult here. I brought these kids into the world and they are nobody’s responsibility but my own. So I don’t get to whine and throw a fit.
I have to do my job no matter what I feel like.
And while that may sound harsh, its just the way it is.
And while motherhood can feel very monotonous and frustrating at times, I cannot lose sight of the fact that while yes this is my job right now…it is so much more than a normal job. This work is ETERNAL. How often do we get to say that about our jobs? Pretty cool and heavy at the same time.
Raising future adults, future citizen, and hopefully future Kingdom workers is not a job to take lightly. I’ve got to be all in, because it’s that important.
We can’t lose heart, mommas. This work is serious and wonderful and hard and hilarious. But we’ve got to give it 100% of our effort and heart. My great fear is looking at my grown children and wishing I hadn’t let life keep me from giving them my all. I know I’m human and I will have regrets because I make mistakes all the time, but I want to know I gave it my all and I did the very best I could. So let’s get to it, ladies!