Our third baby was born just two years after her sister who was two years younger than her brother, our oldest. Three babies in four years brought my mom self an unwelcome hitchhiker – guilt.
Because there was only one of me and three of them, I felt inadequate to the task of keeping up with our children’s needs and taking care of our home, yard and myself, not to mention doing anything special for my husband.
During those first months of baby number three, I was often feeling guilty about what I was not doing. I was tired, overwhelmed, teary-eyed and frustrated the majority of each day. Unfortunately, the same attitude met my hubby at the door each evening when he came home from work.
One day, he found me rocking the baby, tears streaming down my face. When questioned, I told him the reason I thought was causing my frustration levels to rise. I said was tired, overwhelmed and feeling guilty for not getting anything done that day.
My wonderful husband did not buy my line of guilt over the obvious lack of housework completed that particular day, nor did he think poorly of me for the same completion rate that week.
He simply, very tenderly and wisely, asked the four words I needed to hear, the four words that would set the attitude of my mind for the rest of our kids’ childhood.
“What will they remember?”
He continued: “Will they remember how clean the house was, or how organized the Tupperware cupboard was, or how much time you spent doing the laundry? Will they remember the meals you fixed for them or that there were no dust bunnies under their beds? Maybe.”
“Or, will they remember a momma who played with them, took them to the park, picked up their rooms with them, taught them silly songs, created art with them and sang them to sleep with Jesus songs? Definitely.”
“What will they remember?”
These four words became the measuring stick for my momma activities during the day. Of course, laundry and dishes had to be done. But instead of allowing guilt to sap my energy, these four words set a tone for quickly getting the necessities done. My mission as a momma became much clearer and way more fun when I focused on creating a better environment for what they would remember.
About me. About their dad. About the Lord.
Looking back, I have never regretted listening to my wise husband. When we ask the kids about their childhood, they relate story after story of places we went, projects we created, Jesus songs we sang, and experiences we had.
And, even though these things are important for life, I cannot recall one time when they remembered the clean laundry, dishes, house or yard!
Lord, we worry and feel guilty over things that you lovingly provide to your children. Help us focus our eyes on living for you and giving the glory to you. Lead us to recognize and enjoy the wonderful blessings that are ours through Christ Jesus, our Lord. Amen.