Running on Empty

Remember those sappy Johnson & Johnson commercials: "A baby changes everything." The same could be said, and more so, to having older children suddenly after 10 years of marriage. If you imagine it's hard "jumping in to child rearing in the middle," you'd be right.

I was telling Lee last night, that by around lunch time, I am emotionally spent. I am in a battle all day, mostly with myself. Reining in anger, being just a little more patient, blocking out near constant chatter, making appropriate responses to continual questions. In short, trying to be a good example for my children... trying to show them how Jesus would act in all situations. I am just a human woman, however, and I fall short each and every day. My prayers consist of "please help me like my children today" and "please help me keep my tongue quiet, and let my anger dissipate quickly" and sometimes "please Jesus, please." So, yeah, it's hard.

That being said... there are so many good things here too. I mostly DO like the children, and more than that, I have found a well of love so deep and profound, that I still can only guess at its depth and breadth and height. I would lay my life down for either of them right now. I can only approximate the love that God has for us, his children. No, not even approximate, I can only understand the human part of it.

So, everyday I get a little more grown up. Everyday I gain new patience. Everyday I learn that my anger if let fly, does more harm than good. Everyday I let irritants go. Everyday I learn and grow and become more like Jesus. That's the good stuff.

I'm pretty sure that those of you with children are struggling with the same issues... trying to "civilize" small people who keep ACTING LIKE CHILDREN. And trying to "civilize" the beast within, that comes out ferociously when poked and prodded by little people with seemingly no logic.

I went away this morning by myself for several hours, and when I got back, Lee said he understood now what I was talking about last night. He was emotionally spent by 11 a.m. I said "I told you it was hard." He said "I never doubted it was, but it makes me want to give you breaks any time I can." Well, did I marry the right guy, or what? I laughed, and said "Good! I'm glad it didn't make you want to say 'This is too hard, I'll let Chris do it.' "


ethiHOPEia said...

I feel exactly as you describe time and again with my little almost four year old! Sometimes I wonder what I am thinking having two more brought into our threesome!
God gives grace and every morning His mercies are NEW! Yeah!

Anonymous said...

Chris, as one of THOSE people who have known Lee since he was an adorable baby,(who I'm sure never made HIS mom pray for patience?!) -- I just want to say that we have ALWAYS known you married the right guy! DUH!! In fact, (but don't tell Lee!), I'm not sure we ever thought anyone would be good enough for 'our precious little Lee'. Boy, were we wrong! We have come to realize that Lee indeed married just the right girl, and we are so grateful that you found each other. You two make such a great team! It is inspiring to read about your struggles and your triumphs. Keep appreciating each other, and keep taking care of each other! It can be easy to lose yourselves or each other in the madhouse of being parents. Thanks again for sharing. I am blessed every time I read your blogs.
Love, prayers, and blessings~
Sue Laude

Dustin, Nikki, Madison and Sage said...

Isn't it amazing the complete opposite emotions you can feel for your child, sometimes at the same time! That mama bear instinct can come over us when we feel even the slightest need to protect our kiddos, even if thirty seconds prior they had frustrated us to no end! I am a better person for having kids as God has poured out His grace on my gaping flaws. We'll have a rough day and my husband reminds me, "And we're adding to this chaos through adoption?!" The incredible joys of parenting...keep up the great work!

Paul and Holly West said...


Beautifully put! I am encouraged to read your words. I was emailing a friend the other day telling her that within a 5 minute period I have thought, "What have we gotten ourselves into?" and "When can we go back to Ethiopia for another child?". At this point I couldn't imagine my life without little Nathaniel (Mesfin).
We are continuing to pray for you guys! I know he may not remember, but I talk to Nathaniel (Mesfin) about your kids and show him pictures on the computer. He just tries to eat the keyboard. :-)

Anonymous said...

Two of my my favorite pithy sayings come to mind...
Having children is "irrevocable adulthood"...and...
Raising children is like being pecked to death by ducks.

Anonymous said...

Chris & Lee,
You 2 are doing a wonderful job raising H & Y. You said that after 10 years you had thoughts of "what were we thinking"...God decided to bless us with a child after 18 years of marriage...talk about adjustment. You will make it and you will become stronger because of it. There will be good days and bad and yes...you will loose your cool even though you love them very much. All parents do but you will grow because of it.
Debbie B.

Anonymous said...

Ok, so this would be why our house is now the "break" house? LOL I know it has absolutely nothing to do with H & Y wanting to spend time with Greg and I, it is all about the "white" game- Wii!! Lee gets to have adult time while the kids are in a Wii trance and you get alone time. Works out for everyone, huh? ;0)


K.P. said...

Whew...it's not just me. :) Thanks for your words and for making my craziness seem normal. I guess it is!

I also totally agree with Holly's comment. I have been across to both ends of the "what have we done" and "there's always room for more" spectrum at the speed of light!

Yeah for normal, crazy, tired, blessed mothers!