It had been a particularly difficult week for me as a mother with several young children at home. As a result, I had fallen into the rut of shouting orders until my voice was literally sore. My week hit a low point when I found myself wondering if one of my children, who was going through an especially difficult phase, would have any success in life.
One evening as I left our home to attend a religious event, I found myself feeling defeated and angry about my lack of patience, which I desperately needed. At the event, my mind was full of questions and thoughts on what I was trying to accomplish with my family and what I was doing wrong. How had my sincere desire to be with my children and positively influence them become so negative the last couple of days?
After the meeting, I felt refreshed and ready to return home. The little time away had given me some perspective, and I returned home ready to hug my babies. But as I got out of my car and headed toward the front door, I feared that my good feelings would wear off as soon as I opened it– that the chaos and struggle would again envelop me.
As I walked past our large front window, I could see that the whole family was in the living room together, except for the baby who had gone to bed. I stopped for a minute to look inside as an unseen observer. On one couch, my daughter was cuddled up in a blanket looking sleepy and cozy. On the other couch, my husband was reading a Harry Potter book to my oldest son, who sat next to him. My eight-year-old son was occupying the sliver of space on the couch next to them looking at some pictures in another book. My three-year-old son and four-year-old daughter were playing made-up, giggly games of tag around the room with each other. And my six-year-old son was alternating between listening to the story and playing with the younger kids.
I stood there, unnoticed, sort of pretending that I was looking at a family I didn’t know personally. I tried to take in my first impressions. As I looked at their faces, I saw happiness. These were happy children! I saw peace, love, learning, and belonging there. I realized as I viewed the scene for a couple of minutes that all those little struggles I had been having were moments. This was the big picture. And when I looked at the big picture, I liked what I saw.
QUESTION: When things get overwhelming as a mother, do you ever take a step back and look at the big picture of your family?What are some of the things you like from that view?
CHALLENGE: This week, take time to look at your family as an outsider would. Take time to see some of the positive things that are happening in your family.
Edited by Becky Fawcett and Sarah Monson.
Image from Shutterstock; graphics by Julie Finlayson.