Today I took my three girls to Aldi for our every two week grocery haul. Anyone who’s shopped at Aldi knows the added step of bagging your own groceries can make or break the experience with small children
impatiently waiting for their special treat at the end of the trip. (Tell me I’m not the only one who uses a special treat bribe?!)
This is them patiently waiting for me to finish bagging up my groceries!!
There have been times I’ve been so desperate to make it back to the van that I’d put a movie on in the van while I bagged up the groceries out of the back just to eliminate the risk of them going completely nuts in the store. Or that time we went as a whole family and walked back out before we even made it down the first aisle! Not because the kids were out of control (well one was!), but because I let the anxiety win. For some reason (I’m sure a lot of moms do this), I felt this pressure for my kids to be perfectly behaved and act much older than they were. Now I’m not saying little ones can’t exhibit self control and patience, but little ones also have BIG emotions. Just ask Reese 😉 The thought of my kids losing it was enough to talk me out of going altogether.
Thankfully I have a killer husband (adjective not the verb!) who has let me slip out right before bedtime once every two weeks to grocery shop in peace! He’s been so supportive in this area because he knows the intense level of anxiety I used to experience when even thinking about having to get a huge haul with the girls. Having three kids so close in age is a riot, but it was also really hard when they were all really small.
I feel like we’ve reached a new phase. The kind of phase where complete anxiety doesn’t take over me when thinking about hauling three kids to the grocery store. Yes the girls are a little older (4 1/2, 3, almost 2) and we work really hard on practicing self-control and listening to instructions, but the biggest thing that’s changed isn’t the girl’s behavior, it’s mine.
Experiencing a miscarriage uncovered some deep rooted issues in my life that I was hiding from for a long time. One of those was anxiety. I became so good at functioning with it that most people didn’t even know. I don’t know if the vulnerability of grieving allowed me to open up about this, but it has been one of the greatest gifts God has ever given me. I’m more aware of my triggers and my reactions. I’m more aware that I set the tone for my entire family.
It isn’t fair right? That the mood of my family can be so greatly impacted by my mood. Or is it? I had been viewing my responsibility for so long in a negative light, with a “feel sorry for me” attitude. I let the anxiety win. A lot. But God’s power and love is stronger than the devil, and I am working hard at listening to the Holy Spirit instead of the anxiety. I’ve find myself saying this verse I memorized as a little girl, over and over.
Proverbs 3:5-6 – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”
When I change my behavior from living in a state of expecting something to go wrong to speaking life into my children, satan loses his foothold. What a blessing motherhood is. To nurture small hearts and minds. To train up our children to impact our world. To have a job with significant eternal impact is the biggest blessing in the world!
Proverbs 22:6 – ” Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old, they will not turn from it.”
It’s easy to get sucked back in to the feelings of being overwhelmed and anxious, but taking one day at a time and one moment at a time is just fine. I love Elisabeth Elliot’s quote, “Do the next thing.” Every day that next thing might look a little different.
We don’t have to be perfect for our children to love us. They will love us even if we’re anxious, tired and need a shower. But let’s do our part to seek the Lord daily and to ask Him to help us be the best moms we can be as a way to serve Him!