Life With Boys

This is life with boys.

Husband, after mowing: “You’ll need to pull your car back into the garage because I’m too sweaty.”

So, I go out to move my car…

boys-think-they-are-funny

In the house, all the boys are snickering. One did it, they all knew about it. Not one warned me.

So, don’t anyone dare suggest to me that raising boys is easier than raising girls. I happen to know from experience that that “easier” comes only when you’ve grown a pair, if you know what I mean.

Me, with the evilest eye I can muster, after removing a dangling snake skin from my rearview mirror to pull my car into the garage: “That wasn’t nice. And payback can be a b**ch.”

I’m not mad. Really, I’m not. I actually like that they bond together over pranking me. But I just don’t see how I can let this go unreciprocated. Because a snake was involved!

This is life with boys. And when you’re the only girl in the house, you get ganged up on in the name of fun. But karma has nothing on a mama who has a prank to repay.

Stay tuned…

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As Long As It Looks Clean, It’s Good Enough

This is what 7am on the first Monday of DST looks like.

This is what 7am on the first Monday of DST looks like.

Not long after we all got up and moving this first Monday morning of Daylight Saving Time, I heard strange noises coming from the direction of our laundry room. When I went to investigate, I found my fifteen year-old son ironing his school shirt.

This would be more impressive if it hadn’t been the dirty Friday school shirt that had been sitting all weekend in the huge pile of laundry on his closet floor. But still, for any fifteen year-old boy, this is something of a marvel. Especially for the child who is too lazy to carry the aforementioned dirty clothes down the hall to the laundry room to be washed by someone else – me.

All my boys learned to do laundry at an early age. When I say, learned to do laundry, it simply means put clothes in the washer, put the soap in, and turn on the normal cycle. There’s no sorting, buttoning of pants, or stain removal included. Nor do they usually remember to check pockets.

It seems that, with each child, the motivation to wear clean clothes has waned substantially. So much so, that the youngest two would rarely wear a clean article of clothing if I hadn’t decided to wash their clothes for them during the school year, provided they get them to the laundry room.

I have a suspicion that Axe Body products were created by a mom of boys.

If I knew there were elves in my laundry room that would sort, wash, dry, fold, and return my clothes to my bedroom, you’d better believe I’d take advantage of that on a regular basis. Like every time I ran out of clean underwear. My boys have yet to appreciate and utilize their elf.

(Did I really just refer to myself as an elf?)

This ironing revelation (which turns out isn’t a new thing – my husband says this child irons several morning a week) comes not long after finding out this same child doesn’t know how to write in cursive.

What! How can that be? Yes, imagine my overreaction. I was stunned at how I could miss that for so many years and could feel my good mama status slipping away like a mudslide. And I considered giving him a crash course that very minute.

I had to let that one go because, after all, he knows how to do laundry and iron a shirt, for crying out loud. (Good mama status, still in tact.)

He may not wear another clean shirt this school year, but at least he won’t look like his mama let him sleep in his school clothes.

 

 

I Bought The Lies

Report Card Fail

Some days I think I stress more about how my children behave than I do anything else. In fact, I know I do.

I expect them to be adult minded when their teenaged brains haven’t yet matured to adult. Sometimes I doubt they will without my constant hounding and pounding. I know I’m being unfair and yet I can’t help constantly pushing them to think better, act better, be better.

Semester exams started today and I’m pretty sure I’ve been more stressed about it than they have. I not only want them to do well, but because I have allowed my identity as a parent to get wrapped up in how well they do – I need them to do well.

I’ve been doing a study on Ephesians and, as I reflected this morning on Satan’s tactics in my life as The Father of Lies, I realized how much I pull my identity from my children rather than from who I am in God through Christ. And then I start to believe I am all powerful in their lives and the only good that will come out of them will be a direct result of my constant attention to discipline and correction.

Yes, I have an it’s-all-about-me issue.

So I have to ask myself, Why do I need them to do well? What difference does it make to me if they don’t? I am still saved by His grace according to His mercy. I am not God to my children. I can trust Him to be a more ever-present, powerful influence in their lives than I am.

Ephesians 2:6 talks about us being seated with Him in the heavenly places. This isn’t a dimensional position, but a position of authority and power. Present authority and power. As in right now!

Read what Kay Arthur says about this:

When you don’t understand God’s mercy, you are slow to run to Him in the time of need, and although the enemy cannot separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus, once you are saved he delights in deceiving you so you don’t appropriate what is yours. His strategy is to convince you that whatever you need from God you don’t deserve. He wants to convince you that you shouldn’t ask Him for it or expect Him to give it to you.*

I bought the lies.

The lies that say, “if your children fail, you fail” and “when your children make bad choices, it’s a reflection of your parenting.”

The fact is, I haven’t neglected teaching them. I have poured hours into training them how to study, how to make decisions that don’t hurt them or anyone else, explaining to them how important it is to brush their teeth, and endless other life lessons. And I’ve prayed for them along the way.

Is there more I could have done? More I should be doing now? Without a doubt, there is. But mostly that involves including more grace and mercy. Because all the correcting and lecturing in the world won’t direct a child’s heart like receiving grace and mercy. That’s how children learn of God.

So, what does that look like? I’m still trying to figure that out. Here’s what I do know: Whether or not my children fail their exams speaks nothing to my effectiveness as a parent. What does speak to it is how I demonstrate God’s mercy to them in all situations. Even semester exams.

So next week, after exams are over and there’s nothing more they can bring to the table, we are going to move on – all of us – to focusing on The Reason for the season.

And maybe even bake some cookies and work some puzzles.

Because January will be here before we know it, along with another chance to think better, do better, be better, for all of us.

 

 

 

*LORD, Is It Warfare? Teach Me to Stand, Kay Arthur