I've been stuck in a bit of a parenting rut. Lots of kids, lots to do, pregnancy, plus adoption stress. We got stuck in a cycle of yelling and constant craziness that was very hard to snap out of. I wasn't handling anything very well, being pregnant and adopting turned me into some sort of cranky beast. My kids then turned into cranky beasts. I was like a robot mom, finishing my tasks and having very little patience for anything else.
I used to pride myself on my patience with children. But having my own was completely different and I will fully admit that I haven't handled it with grace.
Well, take a mommy away from her beautiful children. Put her in a country that doesn't even have clean water. Out of my comfort zone, suddenly faced with an orphanage full of precious faces who called me momma in desperation.
I cried a lot in Ukraine. Tears of joy and sadness and loneliness. I didn't pray as much as I should have. I couldn't even break out of my comfort zone enough to go to mass more than once.
But I had a lot of time to think and I knew that I needed to do better when I got home. I needed to be calm during times of stress, I needed to use a kind voice with my children. I needed to treat my heroic and hard working husband with more respect. I needed to focus more on Christ.
5 weeks is a long time. A length of time that busted me out of cranky robo-mom mode. 5 weeks that broke my heart in so many ways that it would be shameful not to do better.
Am I perfect now? Of course not. I still have bad days. But I'm kinder now, I'm focusing more on my beautiful children instead of spacing out and going through the motions. I'm doing all I can to make sure my sweet babies know I love them and that they can always come to me. I'm working on bringing more prayer into our family life and looking for ways to refresh myself spiritually and emotionally. I'm doing mommy and me dates with each big kid and so will hubby. I'm going to find time for actual dates with my husband.
6 kids isn't easy. But maybe it's the number I needed to wake me up. I sure as heck don't have time to do it wrong.
I may get a lot of criticism for this. But that's ok. I'm being honest. I learned my lesson. Looking into the face of orphans who will likely never be adopted changes people. I can't sit in my sinful ways and do nothing. I had a feeling at the beginning of our adoption process that God was he going to use it to teach me patience. Now that we are done, I can say for sure that that was a huge part of it all.
I now trust more in Him. He will, and always has, provided for me. And now He has provided a perspective and a broken heart that has inspired me to work even harder. God is hard on me, because I need it that way. I need to be knocked over the head to truly get it. Lord willing, I will truly "get it" someday. No one is the perfect mother, but my children are worth the very best effort I can give.