This is what my weekend looked like:
Friday: Valentine's date with my hubby. As it neared 6:30, we both questioned whether we should forfeit the rest of the time to rush home and take our son to his baseball practice. Hmmmm....but we chose not to.
Saturday: I woke up at 6:00am to get ready and take my nine year old to a swim meet. I gathered up his swim items and hopped in the car with a friend to travel the 40 minutes to the meet.
My husband gathered up the rest of the kids, all the snow gear he could muster, piled them in the car, and picked us up from the swim meet, 40 minutes away, at 11 am. We then headed to a nearby ski hill, and spent the day from about noon-7:30 pm, giving our boys a very successful first experience with skiing. In the meantime, I took my two year old daughter to the movies, and gave her popcorn and a fun princess show.
Sunday: We took the kids to church. First service, I helped in Children's church with other moms and my husband. Second service, we sat in the front row with the kids' friends, tried to maintain behavior during worship, shuffled them to their classes, came home, made lunch for the kids and a friend, took one kid to baseball practice, played dolls with my daughter...and got ready for the week.
So, are you wondering what the point of this post is?
Let me give you a hint. Our church sermon this Sunday was about Family-focus.
I agree with the Christian cultural idea that the family unit is very important...that two parents pouring into the life of a child is great. That family time is key to a stable environment. I mean, look at our weekend! How much did we pour into these kids of ours? Yes, I definitely play by "the rules" of the culture to pour into my children. And I LOVE it.
Who is the center of my universe and who do my kids think the center of my universe is?
Something very important that was said in the sermon this Sunday, was that parents must remember their spouse is first priority OVER the kids.
And it made me realize, how little my husband and I focus on our relationship in relation to our relationship with our kids. Even on our valentine's date we wavered on wondering if baseball practice should trump it! We try and be good, loving parents as much as we can--trying to model the loving Father in Heaven for our children--but can we truly give room for God when our kids are over-saturated with us catering to them?
Do we so meet their every need and desire, that we become a giant idol genie god (see my last post), who give no reason for them to really seek the True God on their own? In this western culture, where inconvenience and want are lacking, how do our children understand the importance of patience, necessity, and Godly provision?
Not only does my overcompensation to provide everything for my children run the risk of me becoming an unhealthy idol to my kids, but I equip my children to think of themselves as their own little mini-world...or sun...where everything revolves around them and their pleasure. They become mini-gods, thinking that if life isn't about them, then something is dreadfully wrong...boring...unfair.
No wonder I struggle with the constant mommy guilt when I want to do something for myself...it goes against the will of the little deities running around demanding snack when they want it, entertainment when they want it, attention according to their standard.
So you are probably rolling your eyes and thinking I am being over-dramatic. And I might be--to make a point. Balance is key...and as far as time and focus go, I believe the scales really need to tip a bit.
The kids drain me to the point of irritation and misery at times, and I have nothing left to give my husband...or my God. And it's not the kids' fault, but my own...for buying into the kid-centered, family-overfocus theology. Yes, folks, I am going to go as far as saying that our Christian culture response to the anti-family culture, has over-compensated a bit.
Look at history...did the parents really devote every hour to their children? Did children demand the attention of their parents for entertainment, their every whim? And yet, did great scholars, inventors, pastors, entrepreneurs, come out of past generations? And most importantly, has God filled in the gaps along the way?
My grandfather was a super wise man. He is one of my heroes. A piece of advice he gave me as a young parent, stung a bit at first, but now I realize the wisdom in it... "Get a babysitter."
Children are a gift from the Lord, but they are not to be a distraction. Parents are responsible for their care, but we aren't to devote every second of their life with entertainment and comfort.
My children mean the world to me...for sure. I love them SOOOOO much. But I am not going to make them my sun, and I am going to stop trying so hard to be theirs.