Enough to Go Around

I thought I would post a couple things that have been on my mind lately, things that have helped me get that all important right perspective as I fumble (flit? stagger? dream-walk?) through days with a house full of small kids. I know I am not the only one here who is in that situation, so maybe what has been helping me would be of some use to you too.

The first thing, that really is a comfort is this: the only thing that absolutely MUST be organized in our home is my attitude. If that gets a little cluttered, or retains sticky rings from juice with a little dusting from the bottom of the toaster, then all the dry erase boards and fridge cleaning schedules in the world will not make this house fun to be in. On the other hand, if I can keep my attitude stacked in Rubbermaid bins, neatly lableled in the closet, then no matter what is going on in the house, we are doing fine. The kids may be falling apart and needing me all at once, but the only thing separating a clumsy moment from a complete “daddy has to come home from work” disaster is always my attitude. Not that this thought offers a solution to domestic chaos, but it helps me know where to start!

The second thing occurred to me the other day on a particularly ripe morning. You know that wonderful story about the widow making bread with the last of her oil for Elijah? I was realizing that if I hold back on what I give my kids because I feel like there won’t be enough to go around (I am not talking about love or affection, just energy!), then there usually isn’t. But if I start out the morning pouring, the oil just keeps coming all day long. I don’t know if you have experienced this, but the days when you just try to “manage” the kids turn into the most exhausting, wretched days for everyone. On the other hand, if you get up in the morning with a “let’s make play-dough” attitude, everything seems to go better.

One of the lovely things about the story of the widow is that the miracle does not happen until you start to pour in faith. If you just sit in your bedroom waiting to feel full, it is just not going to happen. This kind of jug only fills while it is pouring, and there really will be enough to go around!

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32 thoughts on “Enough to Go Around

  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

    from a mother of just 3, but often in need of attitude adjustments and generosity infusions

  2. Perfect timing! I needed this timely reminder this morning as I juggle schooling my six blessings (plus another visiting from the States -we are stationed in Israel), a less than spotless house and stormy weather keeping us all inside. My wonderful husband has been out of town for the week and I get tempted to give myself room to sin in the form of grumpiness:l Thanks for the candid reminder to selflessly and cheerfully pour myself out, trusting Him to fill me.

  3. Yes, thank you. My husband is out of town all week too and there are so many kids! I’m amazed by how many (only 4, but Lord preserve me). I woke up this morning deciding that I will not yell, not even once, all day. I’ve been getting more and more nuts all week and my pitch is getting higher and more hysterical with each moment. So I’m not yelling, and I guess I’m going to start pouring now, because that’s obviously what needs to happen now. Thanks.

  4. What a wise post. Your wisdom was very much needed after another sleepless night with my fourth babe. Why is it that I always forget that His strength is made perfect in my weakness?
    Thank you for sharing this faithful example. I am going to pray for a better attitude right now.

  5. “the only thing that absolutely MUST be organized in our home is my attitude”
    This is a great statement. I often see my kids picking up on my attitude and acting just like I do. So, if I start the morning off cheerful and upbeat, they usually follow. If I’m a grump, it’s not long before I have fighting and fussing kids. Thanks for the post!

  6. With the arrival of my second (I know it’s only two but their both under one and I work full time with them in tow!) I had to make the attitude adjustment that nothing else mattered as long as they were cared for. Dishes, laundry, dinner, work, none of it counted if they weren’t fed and happy. This gave me the freedom to play with them if they needed me no matter what the house, my store, or myself looked like.

  7. ooh, i needed this today. you caught me as i was contemplating popping in a video for the kids and shopping on ebay for awhile. instead, i had a little coffee, turned on some music, and played with them. i do feel better now. the funny thing is, after i had played with the kids for about 5 minutes, they hopped up and ran off to play contentedly alone. I got the “no-touch” time I had wanted anyway. had i demanded it, it wouldn’t have worked.
    coffee and music are my best tricks for improving a foul mood. baking also works; the kids like to help and we all get a little comfort food. if i’m feeling irritable toward the kids, looking at their baby pictures always softens my heart. fresh air is always great. (starbucks run with the windows down and stereo blaring, anyone?)
    thanks for this post.

  8. Amen and Amen! Ever since I had Seth, I knew that the Lord was doing a number on me… I am not slow to anger and I have an attitude far worse than my 2 year olds! Now I know why God gave me 3 tots so quick… to teach me how to keep my attitude in check by making it absolutely critical that I do so! haha! I love it!

  9. Thank you. Praise be to God! We are all grateful for the effort you ladies put into this blog. Thank you. Time to go play with the gang…

  10. Thanks for the post. It really was an encouragement to me to keep from “just getting by” and truly show my children the greatness of God through my actions and words toward them!

  11. Femina ladies,

    This doesn’t necessarily belong under this post, but…

    I got a link to “Loving Little Ones II” through Mr. Wilson’s RSS feed, but couldn’t find it on Blog and Mablog so couldn’t comment there. Below is the ending quote.

    “This worship service is the center of our lives, and consequently it ought to be the center of your child’s life. And by center, we do not mean the “central arduous duty,” but rather the central delight.”

    The whole article was wonderful, and this statement has been my desire for my children since the beginning. Could you offer any advice/wisdom on how to make this a reality? It seems like a lot of services are a struggle with paying attention, sitting still, and being quiet instead of a delight for my children.

  12. Thank you for this post! I think I need to pront it out and keep it handy. I have four 5 and under and too many times my husband comes home to a frazzled mama and grumpy, fighting kids.

  13. Thanks so much for sharing your heart. May God bless you with an abundance of patience and an extra measure of joy to share with your kids.

  14. Thanks…. I may not have any kids, but I need to hear this just as much as the rest of you. I actually work in an emergency dispatch centre, and have found time and time again that the attitude you start your day with is usually the one that will be reflected back to you. And adding the stress of anger or irritability to an already stressful situation is not helpful. Thanks for reminding me again!

  15. Boy, do I agree! I have been blessed with a husband who was taught at an early age to have his attitude in order, and he has been patiently and consistently teaching me to do this for many years. What a slow learner I am! But I can attest to the power of those quiet moments when I awaken to a stirring house, when prayer dawns across my mind and I commit my desires for the day to the Lord. We rarely seem to be “on time” as a family, but I find the more I practice cheerful patience and self-sacrifice the more the time we spend on things counts. I have also written out verses and keep them handy as reminders when frustration threatens to unravel my work. And I love it when my kids help me with affection or gentle questions when I am struggling. (I thank God they are learning so much more from their father than from me on this front!)

  16. Thank you for this wonderful encouragement! As a mother, I am always reminded of Paul’s statement in Philippians, “Even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice of your faith…” I think that this account of Elijah & the widow is in the same vein. May the Lord grant us joy in this sacrifice as we ourselves are filled by Him who fills all in all!

  17. This is probably the best piece of parenting advice I’ve ever read in my life. Just pour. So simple I might just remember it in those hairy moments with 4 children six and under. Lol loved your comment on those “daddy needs to come home from work” times. Made me laugh, I’m not the only one with those thoughts!! But you’re right, it is my attitude to the overwhelming moment not the moment itself that requires daddy home.

  18. Thank you. My kids are teens , and this wisdom is for me too. My attitude and what I focus on each day affects them still. They understand and know me so well now, and there is no hiding my sin from them. They keep me accountable .

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