Bedtime can honestly get the best of me sometimes. Somewhere between dinner dishes going into the sink and eyelids finally closing with sleep, craziness tends to happen. We’ve had the same bedtime routine for years: baths, pajamas, teeth brushing, stories, prayers, and lights out. Yet nearly every night my four boys just dance around naked like they have no idea what they’re supposed to be doing.
When finally, by some miracle, they all get into bed, someone inevitably thinks of an excuse to get up, which then in turn results in the others doing the same. On this particular night, it was my 7 year old. “Hug and kiss, mama” he kept yelling. I should cherish every single second they want to hug and kiss me, but I was craving some time to myself. So instead of sweetly hugging and kissing my boys again, I ducked into my bedroom closet….to hide! Real mature, I know. After a few attempts at them calling my name, the bold 4-year-old got out of bed and started walking towards my room to see if I was still upstairs. “Mom, we want another hug and kiss. Mom, are you in there (he said through the crack in my closet door)? Mom, why are you ignoring us?”
I wish I could tell you that I opened the door at that moment and realized how silly I was being and went in and gave my kids the hugs and kisses they were wanting, but sadly, I didn’t. Instead I went begrudgingly—and they knew it.
I could justify my attitude by saying that 4 kids whining at the same time pushes me over the edge no matter what the whining is about….even hugs & kisses. But the truth is that I was just losing my patience, again.
There are nights I stand in the doorway of my kids’ rooms and watch them sleep with tears in my eyes. They look so peaceful and as I watch them I’m reminded of the priceless gift they each are. Why is it that during the daylight hours, I often forget that? When there’s arguing, wrestling, dirty laundry, dirty dishes, homework, dinner time, and bedtime routines to accomplish, I tend to react (and sometimes overreact) in frustration.
So there I was standing in their doorway wondering if I should just snuggle in beside them for a bit as they slept. Will they sense that I’m sorry? Will they realize that truthfully I want to give them a million hugs and kisses everyday? How could life have felt so overwhelming just a mere 20 minutes prior? Oh yeah, it’s because they were awake.
2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.”
Motherhood is definitely a challenge, whether you have one child or ten. There are so many ways we can mess up and fall short. I am beyond grateful that I’m a mom, and I love my kids more than life itself, but there are also days where I just come undone at the tasks before me.
In those moments, I have found it’s so easy to pile guilt onto my already full plate. And I’m fairly certain I’m not the only one. So I’m writing this to remind myself and anyone else who could use a reminder that instead of diving into guilt, we need to dive into God’s grace! We can ask Him for help, strength, and direction daily.
As I was dressing my sleepy eyed boys the next morning, I looked into their eyes and apologized for being so upset. Then I gave them the hugs I should’ve in the first place.
I won’t always get it right, and neither will you. We’ll make mistakes, rush when we should slow down, react in frustration, and disappoint our kids sometimes, but the way we handle our mistakes also teaches our kids how they can handle theirs. I’m not going to be a perfect mom. I may have more nights of standing in the doorway with tears in my eyes, but I am so thankful for God’s grace, for lessons learned, and for the privilege of being a mom, even with all it’s challenges.
Here’s hoping you choose to ask God for His grace today as well—especially during that bedtime hour!
In what ways does it encourage your heart to know that God’s grace is enough for you today?
About Allison Wallwork
Alison is a wife, mother, author, speaker, and encourager. She has been in ministry for over fifteen years, and is passionate about seeing people truly connecting to the heart of God and His plan for their lives. She has walked through painful times and had her faith shaken to the core, but she has learned to lean into the promises of God to find strength and hope. Alison loves seeing others experience the freedom a life with Christ brings. She communicates practically with personal honesty, transparency, and a love for the Word of God. Alison has written two books, Living Freedom: Losing a Spiritual 10 lbs. & #MOMLIFE Devotional Study. She and her husband are the Campus Pastors of Dream City Church in Scottsdale, Arizona. They have 4 energetic, fun-loving boys between the ages of 5 and 11 years old.