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Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Sweet Berry Series Part Three: Snark Free Mothering

These babies.

I don’t know how I got so dang lucky, but I’m their momma.

For a lot of years, I’ve adopted the “snarky mom” attitude. Because kids can be difficult, and humor makes difficult things easier. Not long ago, I realized that I may be going about it the wrong way. Now make no mistake, kids are rascals, and parenting them is hysterically funny, but I think being snarky all the time took away some of the gentleness and grace I’m supposed to show them as their mother. You know, the one who teaches them how to nurture and be good moms and dads.

Y’all, if you know me, have read any of my Facebook status updates, or any of my blogs, I think it’s evident that I try to keep a sense of humor. But what if we take it a little too far, and our sarcasm is mistaken for true feelings?  Science tells us that kids understand sarcasm when they’re around six years old, but they don’t get that it’s supposed to be funny until they’re about ten. So, basically our kids are miniature Sheldon Coopers until fifth grade.

God recently showed up in my heart in a huge way, and part of the metamorphosis has been in the way I speak to my kids. Now, they, my husband, and I will all tell you that I’m NOT perfect at this, but I am trying. Speaking gently, using words that build up instead of tear down, and getting rid of sarcasm, are all part of the plan. I want the words I say to encourage and inspire, not weigh down and discourage. I’m also trying to let my actions reflect my words as well; frequent hugs, gentle pats on the back, etc. to let them know I’m there for them.

While we were at Sweet Berry, I had one of those Magic Mommy Moments. You know the ones. Where you look at your family and say to yourself “This. This is what I thought motherhood would be like. This is it!”  Kids were running through strawberry fields, and petting goats, and buying local honey. It was picturesque and beautiful; nobody threw a fit.

 It was easy to be a sweet, gentle mom that day.

I looked at Mak and saw how tall she was, and was reminded how there are mere weeks of elementary school left before the chaos of middle school.

P, with his face full of freckles, demonstrated leadership and confidence by helping G with strawberry picking and carrying heavy buckets.

G. Sweet G. She called herself the Strawberry Princess all day long. She was muddy within five minutes of our arrival, and her pigtails were crooked. Not exactly princess-like. Oh, to be three!

When I think of the dwindling years I have left to mother them, I’m both terrified and encouraged. There’s still time, but oh man, it doesn’t feel like enough! Mak is past the halfway mark, and P is just approaching it. How am I supposed to fit in all the hugs, kisses, lessons, and love? How do I make each day count and not take it all for granted? If someone has the magical answers for me, I would LOVE to know!

All I can do is sit back, thank God for them, pray I don’t screw up too badly, (Dear God, please keep them out of jail and off the pole. Amen.) and that I extend Christ-like grace to them when they make mistakes, just like my Heavenly Father does for me.

These precious gifts from God deserve more than a snarky comment and a harsh word. They deserve to be shown the same love and respect I show the rest of the world. So, while I won’t be perfect, I promise to try. 

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