Monday, April 16, 2012

The Kind of Advice a Mom Likes to Receive

We had just entered the first of the four stores on our agenda for the day. After securing a shopping cart, I headed into the produce section, intending to pass it up for 3 items at the back of the store. "Mommy, can we get grapefruit?" my three-year-old asked. "Not at this store, honey," I replied, pushing my cart past the bags of citrus fruit. That was all it took for my son who was cherubic moments before to collapse in the middle of the produce section.

Embarrassing. Frustrating. If you're a mom, you've probably been there. When I finally got him up off the floor, I turned to see a little old man chuckling. Fighting the urge to smack him, I smiled uncertainly instead. "We had four of them, too! Enjoy them. These days go so quickly." Quelling an emotional storm in the produce storm doesn't rate high on my enjoyment list. And that day certainly didn't go quickly, when we had a similar performance at store number 2. Number 2 out of 4. Um, yeah.

However, I appreciated the perspective. It was good advice. Like the time I was in the produce section of another grocery store and a lady stopped me to count my children as I was counting out tomatoes. "You have four," she stated, much to my relief that I hadn't lost anyone along the way. "I had five. You don't remember the bad times....only the good." I smiled and thanked her. I try to remember that during long sleepless nights and intense disciplinary procedures and weeks of sickness.

I talked to another mom of two great, college-aged kids bemoaning a repeated behavior problem in one of my children. She told me not to worry about behaviors that they wouldn't do when they were adults. "My child used to stand on his chair at mealtime," she said. "But, I never see adults standing on their chairs, so I didn't stress about it." Kind of a variation on, "No one ever goes off to college in diapers." This piece of advice helps a lot in a household of three boys!

Then there are the times when I cry and pray over a child's behavior. The kind of behavior that they can carry into adulthood with disastrous consequences. My own parents passed on some advice they received as young parents: "The fact that you are concerned for your children and their spiritual outcome goes a long way towards assuring that they will turn out o.k."

So I stay on my knees. A lot. Sometimes it's beside my bed at home. Other times it's in the middle of the produce section coaxing a child to get. up. right. now. I have a feeling it's something that I will have to do when they are adults, too. Because the days really are going by quickly.

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